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Alabama woman Arwa Muthana, New York husband plead guilty to aiding ISIS

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in court (BrianAJackson/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

An Alabama woman and her husband have pleaded guilty to attempting to aid the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (“ISIS”), the U.S. Department of Justice announced today.

James Bradley, a.k.a. Abdullah, pled guilty on Sept. 9 and Arwa Muthana pled guilty earlier today, both before United States District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer in Manhattan federal court.

The two, who are husband and wife, were arrested in 2021 in New Jersey as they prepared to board a cargo ship to go and fight for the terrorist group.

Muthana is the sister of Hoda Muthana, a Hoover woman who left her family to join ISIS in 2014.

“Husband and wife James Bradley and Arwa Muthana admitted today to their support of ISIS, a violent extremist terrorist organization,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.

“In planning their support, Bradley and Muthana collected and distributed jihadist propaganda, including videos of Usama Bin Laden, and even chillingly expressed their desire to ‘take out’ American military cadets. Just one day after the anniversary of 9/11, today’s prosecution of Bradley and Muthana exemplifies that the resolve of this Office and our law enforcement partners will never waiver, and we will never forget.”

According to court documents in the case, the two are ISIS supporters who attempted to travel to the Middle East to join and fight for ISIS.

Bradley, documents state, “expressed violent extremist views since at least 2019, including his desire to support ISIS by traveling overseas to join the group or committing a terrorist attack in the United States.

In June 2020, according to documents, he told a confidential information his interest in attacking a military base and that doing so would be his contribution to the cause of jihad. The next year, in 2021, he told the same informant that he could use his truck in attack and that he, along with Muthana, “could take all of the ROTC cadets out” at a New York university.

In the months and years prior to their arrests in 2021, Bradley and Muthana also accessed, posted, and distributed extremist online content, including materials indicative of their support for ISIS. That included Bradley posting of images of ISIS fighters, Usama Bin Laden, and terrorist attacks, and his distribution to an informant videos of ISIS fighters, a 2020 stabbing attack against a New York City Police Department officer, and extremists shooting a uniformed soldier.

Content on Muthana’s cellphone included images of an ISIS flag with Arabic writing, firearms, ISIS propaganda, and quotations of the deceased extremist preacher and former al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula member Anwar al-Awlaki, including, for example, a copy of the cover of a book authored by al-Awlaki, titled “44 Ways to Support Jihad.”

Bradley, 21, of the Bronx, New York, and Muthana, 30, of Hoover, each pled guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Bradley is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 2, 2023, and Muthana is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 3, 2023.


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