Muslim Leader Wants Response To Bomb Plot

Original article no longer available

The Associated Press

 Published: Aug 26, 2002

A Muslim leader called Sunday for Gov. Jeb Bush to provide leadership in the investigation of a plot to bomb Florida Islamic centers and mosques. Altaf Ali, executive director of the Davie-based state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, also asked that the state provide security at mosques until the threat of more attacks has passed. ¬†“We are really concerned about the safety of our children and the individuals [who] attend the mosques in Florida,” Ali said. Robert J. Goldstein, 37, of Seminole, was arrested and charged Friday with possession of a nonregistered destructive device and attempting to use an explosive to damage and destroy Islamic centers. He was being held Sunday without bail at the Orient Road Jail in Tampa.

At a federal court hearing Friday, Goldstein’s attorney, Myles Malman, told the judge his client needs three medications. But by Sunday, Goldstein still had not received his medications, Malman said from his Hollywood home. Malman said Goldstein has been treated for depression for a “period of time” and takes antidepressants. Jail officials said Sunday that they could not comment on the status of Goldstein’s medications. Deputies found a cache of up to 40 weapons, including .50-caliber rifles, Claymore mines, rocket launchers, and a typed list of approximately 50 Islamic worship and education centers in the state during a search of Goldstein’s Seminole home, court records say. Ali said the governor should publicly condemn the plot and be more involved in the investigation. Ali’s organization is trying to arrange a meeting with Bush, Ali said. A spokeswoman for the governor did not immediately respond to a message Sunday. U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Special Agent Carlos Baixauli said Sunday that no new arrests had been made. A preliminary hearing for Goldstein is scheduled for Tuesday. Goldstein may have had accomplices, which indicates Muslims are still at risk, Ali said. He has directed Muslims to watch for suspicious activity and keep their mosques well lit at night. Ali also said the attacks have received little coverage. ¬†“There is no national attention given to this issue, and we are baffled by this,” he said. Tribune reporter Brenna R. Kelly contributed to this report.