Ali Mughniyah (49) sits on his screened-in front porch in Punta Gorda. He watches the sea birds from his water-front home. He seems at peace but there is a silent struggle behind those dark, brown eyes. “It used to be easy,” he whispers. “You buy a back pack, build a small bomb, leave it somewhere and go. Make sure you have a hoodie and sunglasses on and your are free and clear and you sent your message. Guaranteed sky-virgins.” He takes a sip of his chai tea and with a shaky voice, resounding with passion that can make any grown man cry he states, “I miss the good ol’ days.”
Mughniyah explains that since 9/11 it’s become nearly impossible to do a small day-job. “These days it takes intricate planning, multiple levels of management, months and months of strategy and of course suicide. Even then, it’s not safe anymore. It’s just not safe these days.” He tells us it’s a daily struggle not to blame Osama bin laden for ruining every thing. “He just went to big! I know he did it for Allah, but all I see is a selfish, prideful jerk that messed it all up.” He slammed his chai tea down at this point and began to sob.
“Thank you for coming but I must start my yoga or I will lose all control obrt my inner peace.” As we packed up, Mughniyah was laying out his yoga mat and preparing his cassette player with “Sounds of the Rain Forest.”