77.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Friday, May 20, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesPLAZA EXTRA OWNER: NO CONNECTION TO TERROR

PLAZA EXTRA OWNER: NO CONNECTION TO TERROR

Oct. 26, 2001 — In the face of the negative publicity following federal raids this week on his business and rampaging rumors about his supposed links to terrorists, Fathi Yusuf was emphatic Friday that he could never be connected to terrorism, yet understanding of why federal authorities acted as they did.
Yusuf, a co-owner of the Plaza Extra Supermarket chain in the territory and a naturalized American citizen from Palestine, said that business at the three stores, two on St. Croix and one on St. Thomas, was down after the Tuesday raids by federal agents. But shoppers are "coming back slowly."
"This slowdown, I have to expect it," he said. But on Friday things seemed "to be much, much better."
He added, "I don’t blame my customers. If I was them, I’d do the same thing."
And Yusuf, 60, who last year pleaded guilty to three counts of hiring three illegal immigrants from Palestine, said he understands the position of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, particlularly in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the mainland.
"They gave us the search warrant. The warrant had details on it, the judge signed it, and I respect that," Yusuf said. "I’m sure they’re not going to find me connected to any type of terrorist.
"We can understand the point of view the federal agents are coming from. If they don’t do what they do, they can’t control things."
As far as the rumors that ran like wildfire throughout the territory following the raids, which included tales of a secret cache of guns and ammunition hidden in a tunnel under one of his stores, Yusuf was incredulous. But he won’t take rumors generated by New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams sitting down.
Adams wrote that Yusuf had sponsored one of the hijackers that piloted an airliner into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and that the two had conspired to blow up the Hovensa refinery on St. Croix.
"She libeled me very badly," Yusuf said, adding that he will sue The New York Post and Adams. "When my customers see something like that, I know it is bad. I don’t have a choice but to sue that lady. If I don’t do it, it’s like I am admitting it. If I stay quiet, my life and my family is in danger."
Yusuf, who said he’s been in the community for 40 years, was adamant that he has nothing to do with terrorism. He also said that his Palestinian heritage doesn’t diminish the feelings he has for his adopted country -– the United States of America.
"Yes, I came from Palestine. But I am glad I am an American. I will not deny where I came from, but I am proud of the country that adopted me. I am an American, my children are born in America.
"There is no way in the world I can be connected to terrorism," Yusuf said. "I have never done it in the past, and I will never do it in the future."

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,718FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Oct. 26, 2001 -- In the face of the negative publicity following federal raids this week on his business and rampaging rumors about his supposed links to terrorists, Fathi Yusuf was emphatic Friday that he could never be connected to terrorism, yet understanding of why federal authorities acted as they did.
Yusuf, a co-owner of the Plaza Extra Supermarket chain in the territory and a naturalized American citizen from Palestine, said that business at the three stores, two on St. Croix and one on St. Thomas, was down after the Tuesday raids by federal agents. But shoppers are "coming back slowly."
"This slowdown, I have to expect it," he said. But on Friday things seemed "to be much, much better."
He added, "I don’t blame my customers. If I was them, I’d do the same thing."
And Yusuf, 60, who last year pleaded guilty to three counts of hiring three illegal immigrants from Palestine, said he understands the position of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, particlularly in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the mainland.
"They gave us the search warrant. The warrant had details on it, the judge signed it, and I respect that," Yusuf said. "I’m sure they’re not going to find me connected to any type of terrorist.
"We can understand the point of view the federal agents are coming from. If they don’t do what they do, they can’t control things."
As far as the rumors that ran like wildfire throughout the territory following the raids, which included tales of a secret cache of guns and ammunition hidden in a tunnel under one of his stores, Yusuf was incredulous. But he won’t take rumors generated by New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams sitting down.
Adams wrote that Yusuf had sponsored one of the hijackers that piloted an airliner into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and that the two had conspired to blow up the Hovensa refinery on St. Croix.
"She libeled me very badly," Yusuf said, adding that he will sue The New York Post and Adams. "When my customers see something like that, I know it is bad. I don’t have a choice but to sue that lady. If I don’t do it, it’s like I am admitting it. If I stay quiet, my life and my family is in danger."
Yusuf, who said he’s been in the community for 40 years, was adamant that he has nothing to do with terrorism. He also said that his Palestinian heritage doesn’t diminish the feelings he has for his adopted country -– the United States of America.
"Yes, I came from Palestine. But I am glad I am an American. I will not deny where I came from, but I am proud of the country that adopted me. I am an American, my children are born in America.
"There is no way in the world I can be connected to terrorism," Yusuf said. "I have never done it in the past, and I will never do it in the future."