The FBI has stopped an American terrorist sympathizer, born and raised in Brownsburg, IN, from flying overseas to join ISIS. Akram Musleh was captured by the FBI while trying to board a bus bound for NYC on Tuesday. The FBI reports Musleh was on his way to an NYC airport where he planned to fly into Morocco and meet with ISIS members. The FBI states that the now 18-year-old Musleh began his radicalization process as early as his freshman year of high school.
The FBI has been tracking Musleh’s activity for years. Musleh was first brought to their attention thanks to his youtube page, which featured videos of Anwal al-Awlaki, an American-born al-Qaeda leader and other pro ISIS propaganda. Shortly after discovering his youtube channel the FBI interviewed Musleh who, at the time, claimed he was simply trying to “understand Islam.”
The FBI continued to monitor Musleh’s actions. Approximatley nine months after the interview Musleh was posting photos of himself in front of an ISIS flag. The FBI claims Musleh’s online activity led to him being radicalized. According to FBI records Musleh regularly contacted an unidentified individual that encouraged his radicalization and attempted to coerce Musleh into carrying out an attack on a military base in Florida.
Authorities claim that Musleh’s radical activities weren’t limited to the digital world. Records show he went shopping for pressure cookers, a common item used in crafting homemade bombs, on several occasions. He was also investigated by local police for attempting to recruit children into joining ISIS at the nearby Williams Park.
Musleh would continue to draw the FBI’s attention thanks to his online activity. Records show he spent large quantities of time researching explosive materials and would even release youtube videos where he would pledge allegiance to ISIS and express his desire to be in an ISIS propaganda video. After his arrest police searched his phone. The search revealed several conversations with alleged ISIS members on multiple social media platforms, self-produced pro-ISIS magazines and images of Musleh using ISIS hand signals.
Musleh awaits trial and is considered a high “flight risk.” If convicted he faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervision.