BOISE -- When it comes to weighing the pros and cons of the refugee vetting process, one person that comes to a lot of Idahoans' minds is Fazliddin Kurbanov. He is the Boise man found guilty of terrorism-related charges.
Some say Kurbanov's story is emblematic of the dangers of allowing refugees into the United States. But according to court testimony, Kurbanov had been living in the United States for more than a year before becoming involved in terrorism-related activities.
According to testimony in federal court, Kurbanov and his family had lived in Uzbekistan. Kurbanov began his life as a Muslim, but after his parents converted to Orthodox Christianity, the family began facing persecution from the government of Uzbekistan.
The family first fled to nearby Kazakhstan. In 2009, they came to the United States. Kurbanov's parents came first, followed by Kurbanov with his wife and son in August 2009.
Court testimony revealed Kurbanov was a practicing Christian in Boise until around Christmas 2010 when he went to Denver looking for work. In Denver, Kurbanov met and began staying with some Uzbek men who were practicing Muslims. He converted back to Islam around that time and returned to Boise and began making terrorism-related online searches in the beginning of 2011.
In May 2013, authorities searched his Boise apartment. The FBI said it found evidence Kurbanov was stockpiling explosive material and communicating with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a group linked to the Taliban.
Authorities say Kurbanov planned to launch a bomb attack against the U.S., naming military bases and a Boise park as potential targets.
As a refugee from Uzbekistan, Kurbanov would have gone through the federal screening process we mentioned earlier. However, based on court testimony, it does not appear there should have been any red flags in the vetting process because there is no indication Kurbanov was involved in terrorism when he first arrived in the U.S. Testimony shows it wasn't until after Kurbanov set foot on U.S. soil he became involved with the Taliban-affiliated group.
In August, Kurbanov was found guilty on one count each of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist group, conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist group, and possession of an unregistered destructive device.
His sentencing is scheduled in January.