Jihad Camp Conspiracy

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, April 11 2012 at 5:12 PM, Updated: Wed, April 11 2012 at 5:26 PM

A European court says that a Muslim cleric with ties to Al-Queda can be extradited to the U.S. to face charges.  Abu Hamza Masri is accused of attempting to set up a terrorist training camp in Klamath County, near Bly.

Abu Hamza Masri could soon be headed to New York to face multiple charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism.  Al-Queda supporters were allegedly attempting to set up a terrorist training camp in the late 1990's on a ranch just east of Bly.

Investigators say that Semi Osman was scouting the area for Masri - but Bly resident Steve Leonardo still isn't convinced that Osman posed a threat...

"No - they were no threat at all.  He was an Imam, he was a holy man of the Islam faith.  But the only reason he was involved with these people is because he was, I guess he was out of Seattle and knew these people."

Dean Lawrence had also met Osman...

"He'd come in, talk once in a while.  Other than the funny little beanie he wore, he seemed all right."

Regulars at the Coyote Cafe say the experience hasn't changed the way they deal with strangers.  "no, not at all."  Says Cale Lawrence.  "I treat everybody like I want to be treated."

Thomas Manes agrees...

"No - this is a friendly town.  Everybody's nice here."

"No, not really." Adds Dean Lawrence.  "Maybe it did for a while, but no."

The terrorist training camp never materialized, and Steve Leonardo doubts that it ever would have...

"People did come down here and check this area, but this is no area for a terrorist camp.  It's too close to town, and everybody in town knows what's going on."

Masri never visited the camp in Bly, but his alleged connection could keep him behind bars for a long time.

Abu Hamza Masri has preached sermons praising the attacks of 9/11, and has also called for the stoning of gay people.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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