DHAKA (Reuters) - The father of a Bangladeshi man accused of attempting to blow up the New York Federal Reserve Bank denied on Thursday that his son was involved and said he was the victim of a “racist conspiracy”.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, was arrested on Wednesday and faces charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda.
“This is nothing but a conspiracy. There is still a racist conspiracy there,” his father Quazi Mohammad Ahsanullah told reporters in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.
“The intelligence of the USA is playing with a mere boy whom we sent for higher study. The allegation against my son is not true at all. He could not even drive a car. How was he caught with a van?”
Nafis appeared in a Brooklyn court on Wednesday. The criminal complaint against him said he had entered the United States in January and that he had said he was in contact with members of al Qaeda overseas.
The complaint said he had travelled by van with a man to a New York warehouse where Nafis assembled what he thought was a 1,000-pound (450-kg) bomb.
The man he believed to be an accomplice was in fact an undercover agent working for the FBI and the explosives were not in working condition. He was arrested later in a hotel near the bank.
Nafis had been a business student at North South University, a prestigious private institution in Bangladesh, before leaving to study computer science in the United States.
His father, a senior vice president of a private bank, said Nafis was the more religious of his two children, but in no way a fanatic. He told reporters he had asked the government for help “so that our son will not fall victim to an arranged story”.
“He fell into trap,” he said. “We talked with him 24 hours before he was arrested.”
Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Editing by Ron Popeski and Pravin Char