<i>48 Hours:</i> Blood Brothers

Terror Suspect's Brother Talks of 'Brainwashing'

The brother of the man who U.S. investigators believe may have planned to be the 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon says his brother once loved America.

Abd Samad Moussaoui, brother of Zacarias Moussaoui, a suspect who was arrested two weeks before the attacks and is being held in detention in New York on immigration violations, spoke candidly to 48 Hours Correspondent Erin Moriarty in the south of France on Wednesday.

He says his brother once loved everything about America, including blue jeans and Bruce Springsteen, but came to hate the U.S. after joining a radical Islamic group that, he says, brainwashed his brother in London.

Abd Samad, who says that whoever was responsible for the attacks should be brought to justice, was watching a movie on TV with his class when a colleague told him about the attacks.

“We changed channels,” he says, “and I was absolutely horrified to see the violence, the number of victims. It’s something I consider utterly monstrous, and all the Sunnite Muslims that I know from the French community are scandalized and horrified to see that people can falsify the name of Islam by committing attacks like this. So I wanted to show my absolute solidarity with all the victims of this horrific act.”

Abd Samad wouldn’t speculate on whether his brother was planning to take part in one of the hijackings. “When I knew my brother, he wasn’t someone who considered suicide in the slightest,” he recalls. “That’s not the brother I knew. It doesn’t correspond at all to the brother I knew. Over the years of talking with him, ideologically speaking, he has shown he holds with ideas, extremist movements, movements denounced by Sunnite Muslims – I’ve identified those ideas.

“But to go from that to the idea of suicide is something…it’s something incompatible with my brother. But now, I don’t know.”

Abd Samad recalls his younger brother as a youth who enjoyed basketball, followed the NBA, wore jeans and “loved Bruce Springsteen.” From age 14, he was in conflict with his mother, which may be one reason why he was ripe for brainwashing, Abd Samad believes.

He also believes the “brainwashing” was a long-term project, begun in 1992. “That’s why it’s normal to want to find those responsible for what’s happened to him, “ he says. “They have to be found, tried and punished.”

And while he doesn’t understand it himself, he says Muslim scholars have been warning against such extremists, even handing out pamphlets in mosques. “They to protect against these kinds of people,” he says. “ That’s how I could understand what my brother had got involved with.”

Abd Samad says he has not seen his brother since 1995 and has no knowledge about whether he ever visitd Hamburg, Germany, or was in contact by telephone with any of the other hijackers. But he suspects that his brother, even if he was involved, did not know in advance the full scope of the attack.

“I think that the type of organization that prepares this type of monstrous act would have to isolate its members to ensure its success, “ he says. “I don’t think that one individual could be aware of what was going on in the whole organization. “

But if his brother did have a role in the attack, Abd Samad had this advice for him: “That it’s time for him to change, it’s time for him to regret the ideology he’s followed, it’s time for him to correct himself, it’s time for him to be an example so that others do not become victims of this ideology.”

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