New York bombing suspect showed signs of radicalization after Afghan trip
To some people who lived around his family’s fried-chicken restaurant in Elizabeth, N.J., Ahmad Khan Rahami always seemed like a friendly guy — someone who obsessed over fast cars and happily slipped free food to regular customers.
But to others in the community, Rahami and his family came across as insular, serious and a “little mysterious.” Several years ago, Rahami travelled to his homeland, Afghanistan, and when he returned, he showed signs of radicalization, associates said.
Flee Jones, 27, who said he’d known Rahami since they were teenagers, told reporters he’d noticed a change in Rahami’s personality after a trip to Afghanistan in 2014. When Rahami returned, he “got more religious” and dressed differently than before, Jones said.
“He was more quiet and more mature,” Jones said. “I said, ’Oh, where have you been?’ And he said, ’Oh, vacation.’ But I knew he went to Afghanistan because his little brother said it.”
About three or four years ago, his family stopped wearing Western clothes and started wearing religious garb, observed Andre Almeida, 24, who often ate at the family restaurant called First American Fried Chicken. But, Almeida said, he never saw them display any animosity toward other people. – READ MORE