Sufaat was born in Johor, Malaysia on 20 January 1964. His expired Malaysian passport was number A10472263.
In 1987 Sufaat graduated from the California State University, Sacramento with a degree in biochemistry.
He then served in the Malaysian army as a medical technician, reaching the rank of Captain.
In 1993 Sufaat set up a pathology laboratory called Green Laboratory Medicine, at which he subsequently tried to weaponise anthrax.
From 5 to 8 January 2000, a major meeting of al-Qaeda and JI personnel was held in Kuala Lumpur; four of those who attended stayed with Sufaat at his home.
He is also suspected of providing employment documents to Zacarias Moussaoui, and providing lodging for two of the 11 September hijackers, namely Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi.
Sufaat, through his company Green Laboratory Medicine, acquired four tonnes of ammonium nitrate for JI/MILF bomb-maker Fathur Rahman al-Ghozi. The intended bombing spree in Singapore was averted by the arrests in Singapore in December 2001 and the capture of al-Ghozi the following month in the Philippines.
In 2013, Sufaat was detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act for incitement of terrorist acts.
Malaysian intelligence officers say that after Sept. 11, he slipped into Afghanistan to work as a medic and stand night patrols for the Taliban. He was arrested returning via Thailand.
In an affidavit, Sufaat said he had no knowledge of al-Qaida. He said he had lent his place out for an Islamic study group at the suggestion of an Indonesian 'businessman' named Riduan Isamuddin. Malaysian authorities say Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, heads al-Qaida operations in Southeast Asia and last fall plotted to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Singapore.
Sufaat's Kuala Lumpur apartment attracted one more familiar visitor. In October 2000, Zacarias Moussaoui stayed there. When police raided his Minnesota apartment in August 2001, they discovered that a Malaysian company named Infocus Tech had vouched for him, claiming he earned $2,500 a month as one of its salesmen.
Yazid Sufaat's wife is the principal shareholder in Infocus Tech, according to corporate records on file in Malaysia.
Interview for the media[edit | edit source]
JOHOR, Malaysia - Yazid Sufaat is a biochemist and former Army captain, accused of aiding the 11th September 2001 attacks in the US, and was imprisoned in the Internal Security Act political prison of Malaysia since 2002, and then was freed in 2008. He told that he had met with Sheikh Usamah bin Ladin rahimahullah and it was an honour for him. Below is the artcile and interview by Malaysiakini with Yazid Sufaat in the series, ISA by Fathi Fathi Aris Omar, Aidila Razak and Salhan K Ahmad, published by Malaysiakini on (20/3/2012):
A simple Google search on Yazid Sufaat will return the following results - militant, bombmaker, biological weapons expert, and one of the longest serving detainees under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
"They call me the CEO of Anthrax."
Shrugging as he says this, the father of four who was released from ISA detention in November 2008 after seven years - five of which were in solitary confinement - wears the title almost like a badge of honour.
"They (the accusers) call me that because I only have a 'cabok' (simple) Bachelor of Science but my students were PhDs, Masters' degree holders," he told Malaysiakini in an extensive interview at his home last week.
His "students" are now inmates in Cuba's Guantanamo Bay, which he discovered when the Federal Bureau of Investigation showed him photographs of them during questioning at the Kamunting detenion centre where he was held.
"I am Yazid Sufaat. I am not going to hide myself, my face, my name. Why should I? I am handsome, no?" asked the 48-year-old Johor native, laughing.
His devil-may-care attitude may lead one to believe that Yazid's "I love Osama Laden" proclamation on his Facebook page as a sort of joke.
But the unrepentant Yazid, who is one of seven Malaysians on the United Nations ‘travel, asset and arms deal' sanction list for alleged involvement with the infamous al-Qaeda, really loves Osama.
Recalling his time in Afghanistan in 2000-2001, Yazid admitted having met the now deceased al-Qaeda leader and considered it "an honour".
"Of course, I met him, it's an honour to meet him. How many people have?" he asked.
Yazid, who crossed the the Pakistan-Afghan border on learning of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on the US, said he trained as a militant for six months under the one-time most wanted man in the world.
"That was the opportunity to face them (the enemy). Of course, they came... I think the closest bomb that fell was 15m from me. That was the experience; (I) wanted it, Allah give (me) a chance," he said.
Under Osama, he sharpened his shooting skills, learned to walk in the dark and navigate using the stars and how to withstand the brutal desert combat conditions -losing about 18kg in the first two months.
"I am military trained but trained in a different terrain. (In Afghanistan) there is no jungle, all desert.
"Of course we could not run away from the Qur'an. I learned Arabic, listened to (Osama's) lectures, his usrah (discussion to instill loyalty and brotherhood)."
When Kabul fell to the Northern Alliance forces in November 2001, it was Osama who advised him to leave the war-torn country and return when "we have won back Afghanistan".
"At that time I thought, if they catch me out here, I would be heading to Guantanamo. If I go home, it's only ISA. So I called a friend at Bukit Aman and he said: ‘Come back. At least here it's only ISA'.
"My wife didn't believe I would be arrested, so I said let's cross the border and see. We crossed Bukit Kayu Hitam (Thai-Malaysian border) and I was arrested ," he said of the December 2001 incident.
The journey to Afghanistan
A Royal Military College alumnus and a retired army captain, Yazid's journey to Afghanistan began when he started seeking answers about his religion.
He said that he became an adult in the "sin cities" of the US, having graduated from California State University as a biochemist at the age of 23.
"When I returned, I was still wild. My mother-in-law said I should go study religion, but I didn't want to learn about the solat or how to perform the haj.”
"I wanted something different. So (people said) go meet this ustaz and (when I did) I thought, ‘this is good, this is something different'."
"Addicted" to the lessons, Yazid began delving more and more into the teachings of Islam only to be left unsatiated.
"I thought, ‘this can't be it'. (I) wanted to graduate, so I started reading more and when you have knowledge you want to ‘do' (something). I am a scientist... I want to prove the theory."
In 1995, Yazid performed the umrah and vowed to only return to perform the haj when he could understand the Qur'an. He returned in 1998.
The same year, he went to Ambon, Indonesia, at the height of the Christian-Muslim conflict - to experience the "real jihad".
"I had a bit of money. If I left my family, they can sustain themselves. I wanted to see the real thing. What is so special about it. I wanted to face it... jihad in terms of qital , which means war," he said.
Going into Ambon "blind" on his own steam on the first fact-finding mission, Yazid and a friend met with Muslims there to understand their urgent needs and returned home to build a network of assistance.
At the time, Yazid was operating a pathology lab, running medical tests for up to 600 clinics and it was his clients that he approached to get the rudimentary medical supplies to send to Ambon.
"It was humanitarian. There you could find all sorts of non-Muslim humanitarian groups like the Red Cross. The Muslims were people like me, who wanted to help. They were called Mujahideen (freedom fighters), now they are called terrorists.
"In a conflict area, you have to defend yourself. You don't just go like that Mavi Marmara ship. It's stupid!" he said.
Yazid would later be charged for funding sectarian violence in Ambon - one of the five charges which kept him under the ISA.
"Mercy (Malaysian NGO) was there. Umno (Malaysia's ruling party - ed.) guys were there. Both were funded. Yazid Sufaat was there, self-funded, but this is a threat to national security," he said.
The 'project' in a Kandahar lab
His desire to "help (his) fellow brothers" also saw Yazid finding himself criss-crossing the Afghan-Pakistan border - this time to build a hospital.
He used his experience in running a pathology laboratory to train staff at the hospital and to set up a laboratory next to the hospital in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar.
It was at this laboratory that he was accused of having developed biological weapons - something which he terms "the so-called project".
Initially hesitant to reveal what went on in the lab, which he claims he started before Sept 11, 2011 and was bombed out following the World Trade Centre attacks, Yazid let out that it was a defence strategy.
"Of course (there was research), we are scientists (laughs) . We have to do it, but the lab wasn't that sophisticated. It was bare bones, that was what we could manage. We do what we can and leave the rest to Allah.
"If (the other side) use ‘bugs', you must understand that bug in detail so we can counter any biological weapon that they use. You must know your enemy," he said.
But was he really the ‘CEO of Anthrax' and a senior al-Qaeda leader as alleged?
"I never expected to be accused of doing this thing... if you read the stuff they wrote about me, it's impressive. But (what I did) was really nothing.
"If people want to write bad things, they will write bad things. (If) they want to write good things they would. That is just perception. I don't care. What do I need to hide?
"My name is Yazid Sufaat. I did not do anything wrong. I don't feel guilty at all," he declared.
TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2012: Exclusive Interview With Yazid Sufaat, 9/11 Attacks Increased The Number Of Adherents Of Islam
The 9/11 attacks in 2001 have left bad memories for America, around 3,000 people died in the attack and America have to suffer immense material losses as its economic center was destroyed. So many pros and cons over the 9/11 attacks carried out by a handful of courageous Mujahideen. Some people completely believe in the conspiracy theories of the West, while some people (the Muslims in this case) still believe and want to listen to the words of their brothers with regards to the 9/11 facts. Yazid Sufaat is one of those brothers, he is a husband and a father, biochemist, entrepreneur and former Army captain who was accused of helping September 11 2001 attack in America, imprisoned in the political prison, the Internal Security Act (ISA) Malaysia since 2002, and then was freed in 2008. Malaysiakini conducted an interview with Yazid Sufaat, published in Malaysiakini on 20/3/2012. What follows is a translation of the article and interview relating to the the 9/11 attacks, a continuation of the earlier interview which talked about the experience of Yazid Sufaat in Afghansitan and meeting with Sheikh Usamah bin Laden rahimahullah. The interview this time discusses about the 9/11 and the spread of Islam:
The UN said that Yazid Sufaat had in October 2001 met Zacarias Mousaoui - who was in 2006 sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in the US for planning the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre (WTC) among others - and gave him at least US$35,000 to prepare for the attacks..
In an interview at his home, Yazid (right) admitted that Mousaoui was an employee at his software company. Yazid said he paid him a stipend to market the software, which connects computers to telephones mainly for call-centre purposes, in the US and Europe.
Mousaoui, who he had met at his apartment in Sungai Long, Selangor, needed a visa to go to the US. After learning about his computer engineering background, Yazid offered him the job.
The same apartment, donated to registered Islamic organization Al-Ehsan Association for its activities would later be used for planning the 9/11 attacks in what the UN terms the '2000 Al-Qaeda summit'.
However, Yazid maintains he was not in Malaysia at the time and did not know about it.
"Mousaoui never told me he was going to learn how to fly planes. This guy never told me anything. Did I give him money to fund 9/11? Let your readers think for themselves," he said.
Arrested under the Internal Security Act at the Thai-Malaysian border while on his way back from Afghanistan in December 2001, Yazid spent at least seven years at the Kamunting detention camp in Perak - five of which were in solitary confinement.
'I don't believe in democracy'
Yazid Sufaat (48), has a simple answer for the attack that killed about 3,000 people on 9/11, “If what the 9/11 attackers did was wrong, Allah would have "shown signs."
According to him, conversions to Islam have been on the rise, and as such, the militants who have allegedly brought a bad name to Islam were actually doing the "marketing" work.
"Their intentions are pure. What they did is a form of worship, and they could have made mistakes here and there. But their faith, their belief in the oneness of God is true," he said.
"If they made mistakes, in their implementation, inshaAllah, Allah will forgive them."
“What is unforgivable, he said, is people establishing laws that go against His words,” Yazid said.
This is why, Yazid said, he does not have faith in electoral politics. He believes in the system of the Khilafah.
“I don't believe in democracy. The danger of democracy is that elected representatives become lawmakers. The Qur'an says there is no law but Allah's, so they cannot... make laws against what Allah ordains,” Yazid said.
“We don't want to associate ourselves with them (those who make laws against Allah's word). We don't want to give Allah's rights to others who will do as they please and contest Alllah,” Yazid asserted.
Excerpts of the interview follow:
- Malaysiakini: Was Sept 11 considered a defensive move or a retaliation?
- Yazid: I don't know, (but) this is what I think. They attacked the WTC, that is where the US centre of economics is... The heart of the Pentagon is not in Pentagon but in WTC. Their economic power and intelligence was in WTC. We wanted to cripple them, we have to bring their morale down. War is about morale. War is all about morale. You think you're big, nobody can hit you?!
- Malaysiakini: So you are saying this is the first strike, from Muslim world to Western capitalist world in recent history?
- Yazid: Bring their morale down. You want to win, bring their morale down. Bring the morale down, you (will) win the war. (Yazid lowers his voice) Bring their morale down, bring their morale down.
- Malaysiakini: But what about ... the bombings in Bali and Jakarta? Is that defending yourselves?
- Yazid: It's like this... I have been Muslim for 48 years, but I'm still not confident that my solat is 100 percent correct. Not to mention (these attackers). Their intentions are pure. What they did is a form of worship, and they could have made mistakes here and there. But their iman, their belief in the oneness of God is true. If they made mistakes, in their implementation, God willing, Allah will forgive them.
- Malaysiakini: This is referring to bombings in Jakarta or Bali?
- Yazid: I don't want to say that what they did is wrong. I don't want to speak on that. Any mistake is only in the implementation, it does not cancel out their faith. The important thing is to not lose iman (become murtad) . If you do, ya Allah ... it is better to die a Muslim. Even if you die in sin, God willing, He will forgive you, as long as you don't worship others.
- Malaysiakini: Specifically, how does this fit with the likes of (militants who have passed away) Noordin Mohammad Top and Azahari Husin?
- Yazid: I want to ask you one thing: Who did the marketing of Islam? Who did the marketing? You answer me. Who did the marketing, who did the marketing? People like Abu Omar, Osama Laden, these are the people who market Islam.
- Malaysiakini: You mean popularize Islam?
- Yazid: Okay, (people) say it is in a bad way. But look at statistics, the people who converted to Islam in Europe and US after Sept 11. Their priests are floored. Why? Sept 11... maybe it is right what they did. People like them (the Mujahideen who carried out the shaheed operations) are willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their love for Allah, hoping for paradise. There must be something right. Or else, everyone will hate (Islam) and the conversion rates will go down. You have to think this way. I don't want you to agree with me, but I'm throwing a rhetorical question so we can think. Who did the marketing for Islam?
- Malaysiakini: Azahari and Noordin, the sort of people who are in the international media spotlight, are considered to be marketing Islam?
- Yazid: They did the marketing for Islam. (Our detractors) want to portray us as 'bad' but look at the result.
- Malaysiakini: Is it because this kind of conflict triggers people to study Islam?
- Yazid: You study history. We never started this thing, this war.
- Malaysiakini: We, meaning your group, or Muslims?
- Yazid: Muslims. They triggered it, (Muslims) got to defend ourselves. Ha! Go back to history... Muslims never start any conflict. When they started it, we have to defend ourselves, okay? I went to Afghanistan to start this so-called project because we have to defend ourselves. In order to defend ourselves we must know what they're doing. When we study... then they (enemies) will consider you as a threat to them. Of course, we are a threat to them. They will never allow you to be one up from them. They will never allow it, but Muslims don't realize this. I started ‘the project' before Sept 11 and when Sept 11 happened, my laboratory (in Kandahar) got bombed, my hospital got bombed. What happens then? They will kill you before you can crawl. They won't allow you to grow.
- Malaysiakini: How do you justify the death of innocent people? Even in the Qur'an, it says you cannot kill women and children.
- Yazid: Study Fiqh Jihadiyyah (the jurisprudence of jihad), what you can do and what you cannot do. In any fiqh, the ulama's tend to differ in their opinion, even in very simple things, let alone these big ones. When these people (Mujahideen) carried out the bombings, of course they weigh up these things. The do's and don'ts, the can and cannot. What choices they have. The majority of ulama's say no, but a small minority of ulama's say yes, it can be done. After the fall of the Abbasid empire in 1258, there is no more Shari'ah (Islamic law)... So it is our obligation to bring this thing (Khilafah) back.
- Malaysiakini: How do you decide if the cause is worthy?
- Yazid: Before you do anything, you need knowledge. Some people do the hajj without knowing why but not the jihad. If you want to know about science, you go to a professor with a PhD. If you want to know about jihad, ask an ulama' who go to jihad. Not the ulama' who teach in classrooms.. The ulama's (who do jihad) says we can conduct jihad, but we have to minimize all the kind of things (the damage). That's what these people do. Minimize the loss. How much damage did they do? (The enemy) kills 1 million, we kill 3,000. Is (killing) justifiable? Never justified, we don't want to do that. But if they do to us....it's difficult. I am not going to force people to agree with me.
- Malaysiakini: Have you visited your 'students' in Guantanamo Bay, or their family? Do you feel guilty?
- Yazid: Every job has its hazards...these people (in Guantanamo Bay) they know this. If they don't know, then they were not well informed. But it was part of the knowledge they must understand. When they (the enemy) put me away...from my family, I thought 'Hey!'. If you're going to Singapore, and you see see exit signs for Batang Kali, Taiping, Penang ... that means you're not going in the right direction, right? A verse in the Qur'an says to go to heaven, you must find handcuffs, prison, exile. All those are signs you must find. In my journey to heaven I see these signs. Why worry? You think the people in Guantanamo Bay are sad?
- Malasyiakini: What about the family of people who die in the bombings?
- Yazid: What about the brothers of mine who (the enemy) kill? Do you think about that?
- Malaysiakini: If we don't want this to happen to us, why should we do the same? Since 9/11, the attacks on Muslim countries by the Western states have escalated. They may not be winning the wars, but so many people die because of it.
- Yazid: If we don't do this (attack them), how sure are you that they would not do this (to us)? It's the same thing. Let us die fighting.. Jihad is a search for life, not death. History has proven that they will still attack. If the kafir (non-believers) are good, then the Qur'an is wrong. Allah said if we fight back, (the enemy) become weak. (Recites verse 76 from the an-Nisa chapter of the Qur'an) "Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah , and those who disbelieve fight in the cause of Thaghut. So fight against the allies of Satan. Indeed, the plot of Satan has ever been weak.” Allah told us to fight against the kuffar who walk on satan's path. If we don't fight them they will become stronger and you could be wiped out. That is a verse. How can you defy the Qur'an? In the at-Tawba (the Repentance) chapter, Allah says that, if we don't go forth in Allah's cause, he will replace us with another people.
- Malaysiakini: Since you say you have connections with the Taliban group, do you think Osama's death will lead to a Taliban revival?
- Yazid: Our religion will be victorious not because of Osama Laden or Yazid Sufaat. If God wills, we will succeed, if we do it right. It is ordained. The Prophet has determined the way to do it, just follow. This victory will not come at our convenience or when it fits our schedule. We have to remember that. It's not a 'majority-wins' race. Sometimes, we are not confident in Allah. Look at the Prophet. When he went to war, he did his level best, but it could never match the enemies' capabilities in terms of strength, quality of weaponry, etc. But why did he win? When I tell the Special Branch officers that, they say: "That was the Prophet. Who are you in comparison?" (Laughs) . If that's our attitude, then what can we do?