- Convicted member of the al Qaeda terrorist cell known as the Portland Seven
A black American Muslim born in the U.S. in 1980, Muhammad Ibrahim Bilal (MIB) 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 older brother Ahmed Abrahim Bilal — who was one of MIB’s 16 siblings — as well as Maher Mofeid Hawash, Patrice Lumumba Ford, Habis Abdulla Al-Saoub, Jeffrey Leon Battle, and October Martinique Lewis.
In October 2001, MIB and his five male accomplices from the Portland Seven—calling themselves by the Arabic name Katibat Al-Mawt (“The Squad of Death”)—traveled to China in hopes of gaining entry from there into Pakistan and ultimately Afghanistan, where they planned to join al Qaeda and Taliban forces in taking up arms in jihad against American soldiers. All except Habis Abdulla Al-Saoub failed to gain entry through Afghanistan’s sealed-off borders, and they returned to the United States 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 MIB. 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 eight years in prison.