See also: Portland Seven
A black American Muslim born in 1978, Ahmed Abrahim Bilal was a member of the Portland Seven, an Oregon-based cell of Islamic terrorists who conspired to levy war against the United States and to provide support for al Qaeda and the Taliban. Bilal’s fellow Portland Seven members included his younger brother Muhammad Ibrahim Bilal as well as Maher Mofeid Hawash, Habis Abdulla Al-Saoub, Patrice Lumumba Ford, Jeffrey Leon Battle, and October Martinique Lewis.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, Ahmed Abrahim Bilal was an anti-Semite who "referred to Jews as 'lampshades,' a Holocaust reference."
Just hours after the 9/11 attacks, Ahmed Abrahim Bilal visited his younger brother Muhammad—who was one of Ahmed's 16 siblings—in order to discuss what Ahmed considered to be the happy events of that day. Then, during the weeks that followed, the elder Bilal became increasingly militant and celebrated the fact that the United States had gotten precisely what it deserved in the 9/11 mass murder. Declaring that the al Qaeda-led jihad was righteous and just, he expressed his fervent desire to “join them.”
In October 2001 Bilal and his five male comrades from the Portland Seven—calling themselves by the Arabic name Katibat Al-Mawt (“The Squad of Death”)—traveled to China and then Pakistan, in hopes of gaining entry from there into Afghanistan, where they planned to join the al Qaeda and Taliban forces that were engaged militarily against American soldiers. But upon finding that they were unable to breach Afghanistan's sealed-off borders, Bilal and four others—all except Habis Abdulla Al-Saoub—returned to the U.S. between November 19, 2001 and February 2002.
On October 3, 2002, a federal grand jury in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon (in Portland) indicted Bilal. He was arrested three days later in Malaysia, where he was studying at the International Islamic University in Kuala Lumpur.
On September 18, 2003, Bilal pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to help al Qaeda and the Taliban, and to firearms charges as well. On December 2, 2003, he was sentenced to ten years in prison.