6. The Strange 9/11 Coincidence

One of the enduring mysteries (or strangely odd coincidences) of Ali Abdelaziz’s story is the revelation from Russell that Abdelaziz originally booked tickets to fly back to the U.S., from Cairo to New York, on September 11, 2001. 

The flight was booked using the name of Robert Britton. The flight was cancelled due to the attacks.

Shockingly, he claims the FBI had no knowledge of Ali Abdelaziz’s 9/11 flight using a false passport when they recruited him as a confidential informant.

This odd coincidence was peculiarly left out of the story Abdelaziz told Mawyer. All he said was that he was in Egypt when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened.

What makes the coincidence (and what the FBI reportedly missed) even more jaw-dropping is that Sheikh Gilani and MOA have connections to Al-Qaeda and Al-Qaeda affiliates. For example, a Pakistani intelligence operative named Khalid Khawaja was simultaneously Gilani’s right-hand man and a close associate of Osama Bin Laden.

There was also a close relationship between MOA members and associates and Zacarias Moussaoui, a convicted Al-Qaeda terrorist with suspected links to the 9/11 hijackers.

Additionally, the hijackers used false identities, with one identity possibly being linked back to Denver, Colorado, the area that was a well-known hotspot for MOA’s document fraud, identity theft, burglary and other criminal activities.

When the suspected identities of the hijackers were announced shortly after the 9/11 attacks, an engineer in Saudi Arabia was shocked. His personal details—such as his name, location, birthdate and occupation—matched that of hijacker Abdulaziz al-Omari.

The innocent Al-Omari’s passport was stolen when his apartment in Denver was burglarized in 1995. He had been there for two years as an engineering student at the University of Denver. He never found out who took his passport or why. 

The 9/11 Commission confirmed that al-Omari’s passport, as well as that of another hijacker, was “clearly doctored.” Al-Omari and another hijacker also purchased fraudulent international driver’s licenses from an Egyptian-owned document business in Paterson, N.J. The owner was arrested in February 2003.

And finally, we have received a detailed account from a former MOA member who spoke with someone who was with Sheikh Gilani when the September 11, 2001 attacks happened. 

According to this account, Gilani loudly celebrated the attacks. Publicly, though, he condemned the attacks and said the were a Zionist “inside job.” The witness came away with the impression that Gilani may have known something was about to occur, as his eyes were glued to several televisions beforehand.

Again, there is no evidence that Abdelaziz associated with the 9/11 hijackers or Al-Qaeda directly. The U.S. government has never accused Gilani or MOA of involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

When Mawyer walked away from his meeting with Abdelaziz, he felt his denunciations of anti-American terrorism in the name of Islam were genuine.

But the remarkable coincidences prompt serious questions. 

If it is true that the FBI did not know about MOA associate Ali Abdelaziz’s 9/11 flight on a false passport, what else is it missing about his story?

What else is it missing about MOA?

And what else is it missing about the 9/11 attacks, if such an important data point was overlooked?

Ryan Mauro

Professor Ryan Mauro is the National Security Analyst for the Clarion Project, a nonprofit organization that educates the public about the threat of Islamic extremism and provides a platform for voices of moderation and tolerance within the Muslim community. Clarion Project films have been seen by over 50 million people. Mauro is a frequent contributor to Clarion’s dynamic website ClarionProject.org, providing insightful analysis of the latest news around the global on this subject. The site is viewed by over 250,000 visitors per month.