- Convicted member of the al Qaeda terrorist cell known as the Portland Seven
An American black Muslim born in 1980, Muhammad Ibrahim Bilal was a member of the Portland Seven, an Oregon-based cell of Islamic extremists charged with conspiracy to levy war against the United States, conspiracy to provide material support and resources to al Qaeda, and conspiracy to contribute services to al Qaeda and the Taliban. Bilal’s fellow Portland Seven members included his older brother Ahmed Abrahim Bilal, Maher Mofeid Hawash, Patrice Lumumba Ford, Habis Abdulla Al-Saoub, Jeffrey Leon Battle, and October Martinique Lewis.
Bilal and his five male accomplices traveled to China in October 2001 in hopes of gaining entry from there into Pakistan and ultimately Afghanistan, where they planned to take up arms and wage a jihad against American soldiers. All except Al-Saoub failed to gain entry through Afghanistan’s sealed-off borders, and they returned to the United States between December 2001 and February 2002.
Taken into custody in Michigan, Muhammad Bilal pleaded guilty not only to firearms charges, but also to charges of conspiring to help al Qaeda and the Taliban. In February 2004, he was sentenced to eight years in prison.