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Queens man charged with trying to join ISIS in Syria

ISIS flag (WikiMedia)
August 30, 2017

A 22-year-old Queens man was charged Tuesday with allegedly trying to provide support to ISIS after flying from New York to Saudi Arabia and then trying to cross into Syria to join ISIS, according to a release from the U.S. Justice Department.

Parveg Ahmed, 22, flew to Saudi Arabia in June with a friend to celebrate Ramadan, but according to a criminal complaint, the two men were trying to join ISIS in Syria. The men were stopped by officials and taken into custody.

Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) received a search warrant in July for Ahmed’s computer and found he was listening to recordings of terrorists, including Abdullah el-Faisal, a cleric found guilty of solicitation to commit murder, as well as Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric who was killed in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.

When authorities received a search warrant for Ahmed’s cell phone, they found messages indicating that he wanted to join ISIS in “ISIS-controlled territories” to carry out jihad. A text message was written to family members wishing them farewell, according to the complaint.

“[W]e have made it to Dawlatul Islam [ISIS] in Syria,” Ahmed wrote, according to the release. “In sha Allah [God willing] we will join the Jihad very soon and in Sha Allah [God willing] we will then join the ranks of the Shuhuda [martyrs]. The West has invaded the land of the Muslims and is constantly attacking it.”

Ahmed previously wrote several social media posts expressing support for ISIS and those who support violent extremism.

“As alleged, Ahmed sought to take up arms with violent terrorists who have killed numerous innocent victims, including Americans,”  Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde for the Eastern District of New York said in a statement.

“This man betrayed his own country to allegedly take up arms against it in the name of ISIS,” HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez said in a statement. “The JTTF’s proactive identification of individuals, like the defendant, before any harm could be done against our nation, highlights the very principles on which the task force was founded.”

Ahmed was ordered held without bail and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.