Quazi Nafis has already pleaded guilty to trying to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank, and professed his disdain for violent jihad. In a letter to the judge ahead of his federal sentencing hearing Friday he wrote glowingly of his jail experience so far — moreso than the awkward adolescence and heartbreak he says drove him to consider terrorism in the first place. “At a very young age I was a serious stammerer and my serious stammering problem has been going on for years,” the 21-year-old wrote to Judge Carol Amon, in a letter seeking leniency published by the New York Daily News. He fell in with extremists on his university campus in his native Bangladesh, he wrote. He had a girlfriend there too. It was when he heard she had cheated on him that he began thinking of a terrorist attack.
I felt like the whole sky fell down over my head. I thought that there was no place for me in this earth neither was there anything for me to give a reason to stay alive.
I could not kill myself, which is forbidden in Islam. I lost the ability to think straight. I went crazy. And that way I justified my killing myself with a jihadist act.
Nafis went on to praise the guards and inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center, where he’s been incarcerated since his arrest last fall. “My experience at MDC has helped me a lot to change my complete view towards America,” he wrote, explaining how he’d taken the opportunity to read the whole Koran for the first time. “The thing I like about MDC is that everybody is treated fairly and equally,” he went on. He was “happy and surprised” to get a holiday package at Christmas.
Nafis faces life in prison, so even if Amon does give him some amount of leniency he’s looking at many, many years behind bars. At least he’s making the most of it.