In March 2006, Shohaib Nazir Kassam was a government witness in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui. He was actually Moussaoui’s flight instructor.
Kassam moved to Norman in 1998, at the age of 18, coming from Mombassa, Kenya. He was originally from Pakistan. Two years after he arrived in Norman, he completed his training to become a flight instructor. He was only 21 years of age when he spent 57 hours (unsuccessfully) trying to train Zacarias Moussaoui to fly.
During his testimony and cross-examination in the Moussaoui trial, Kassam was asked many times about Moussaoui’s religion. Both the prosecutor and the defense attorney were very interested in whether Moussaoui was a devout Muslim. After repeated questioning, Kassam said that yes, he thought that Moussaoui considered himself a Muslim.
“Q. And you mentioned that he was trying to get you back into the faith?
A. No. He just talked about, you know, church, I mean, sorry, mosques and going to pray and fasting, and just things like that.”
There seemed to be some confusion on this issue in the courtroom. But Kassam was useful to the prosecution in that he confirmed that Moussaoui also called himself Zuluman Tangotango. This allowed prosecutors to introduce a mountain of emails from the address “pilotz123@hotmail,” purportedly belonging to Zuluman Tangtango. The email evidence played a significant role in Moussaoui’s conviction.
Kassam also remembered seeing Atta and Al-Shehhi at Airman. A student at the time of Atta and Alshehhi’s visit, Kassam recalled bumping into them when they were being given a tour of the Airman facility.
Oklahoma Aviation first appeared on the internet in March, 2001 although the website was only one page with the company name for the first year. The company was officially founded in February 2004 by Tom Kilpatrick, the son of famous Oklahoman John Kilpatrick Jr., who had been president of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.
Tom Kilpatrick didn’t know anything about aviation, so he hired Shoiam Kassam to be the Chief Flight Instructor and Rob Rothman as Assistant Chief Flight Instructor. By 2008, Oklahoma Aviation had the best airplanes around and somehow young Shoaib Kassam came to be listed as the owner of the company.
To emphasize, the guy who is now occupying Wirt Walker’s offices in Hangar 8 at Wiley Post Airport not only knew Zacarias Moussaoui, he was the primary flight instructor of the “20th hijacker” at Airman Flight School.
"He had a nickname for me, WI, or worst instructor," said Shoaib Nazir Kassam, who took the criticism as a joke, as his student said it with a broad smile.