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Michigan ISIS supporters arrested at GR airport

Gerald R. Ford International Airport. (Gerald R. Ford International Airport/Facebook)

Three Lansing residents were arrested Monday, Jan. 21, for allegedly conspiring to support the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Grand Rapids charged the three men with conspiring to providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, a federal crime carrying up to 20 years in prison.

Muse Abdikadir Muse (also known as Ali Almuhajir), 23, was arrested without incident at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids after he checked in for a flight to Mogadishu, Somalia. Police arrested Muse Muse’s brother, Mohamud Abdikadir Muse (also known as Abu Osama Almuhajir), 20, and their brother-in-law, Mohamed Salat Haji (also known as Salamujahid Almuhajir), 26, shortly after in the airport terminal.

All three men were born in Kenya, but Haji is a naturalized U.S. citizen and the Muse brothers are derivative U.S. citizens, gaining citizenship as children after their parents became naturalized citizens.

Muse Muse bought the airline tickets earlier this month, according to court documents. The complaint alleged Haji and Mohamud Muse helped Muse Muse purchase the plane tickets and drove him to the airport, knowing “the true purpose of the travel was for Muse Muse to join and fight for ISIS,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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Mohamud Muse became known to law enforcement in 2016 after posting pro-ISIS commentary, photos and videos on his Facebook page. In June 2017, an undercover FBI employee posing as an ISIS recruiter communicated with Mohamud Muse, who claimed he wanted to join ISIS in Syria. Mohamud Muse said he was saving money for a trip to Syria “and that he planned to die with a gun in his hand fighting for ISIS,” according to FBI Special Agent Peter Jolliffe.

Haji allegedly asked Mohamud Muse to send him ISIS videos, said he liked how ISIS burned people, according to the criminal complaint filed in court. The FBI then looked into Muse Muse’s social media presence, which showed multiple conversations with his brother and Haji about their support of ISIS.

In October 2018, Muse Muse wrote to an undercover FBI agent, “I plan in doing hijrah [journey to join and fight in terrorist territories] to Somalia and joining those who are establishing the sharia [Islamic law] of Allah.”

Muse Muse sent a video to the FBI agent, swearing his oath to ISIS in Arabic, then later purchased the plane tickets to Somalia.

All three defendants will remain in federal custody pending further court proceedings.

The arrests were made by members of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, which was assisted by the Michigan State Police, Michigan State University Police Department, Kent County Sheriff’s Office, Eaton County Sheriff’s Office, Lansing and Grand Rapids Police Departments and the Transportation Security Administration.

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© 2019 Holland Sentinel, Mich.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.