ISIS propaganda efforts are proving effective, even as the Islamic State is continuing to lose ground to US-backed forces in the Middle East.
Parveg Ahmed, a 22-year-old from Queens, New York, was arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support for a known terrorist organization. Ahmed and his friend were caught attempting to travel to Syria to join the ranks of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to the Department of Justice.
Parveg Ahmed and his friend flew from New York to Saudi Arabia supposedly to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. However, a criminal complaint reveals that the pair traveled to the Middle East with the intention of joining ISIS.
Border officials from an unnamed country neighboring Syria captured Ahmed and his friend attempting to cross into Syria. Ahmed was deported back to the United States on August 28th, and was arrested upon arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
The New York Times details that Ahmed had an extensive history with counter-terrorist authorities, who had been tracking the 22-year-old since 2014. Authorities first became aware of Ahmed through his social media posts.
In October 2014, Ahmed wrote on social media that “Jihadis” are the “Muslims who fight to establish the Sharia IN THEIR OWN LANDS, wanted by MAJORITY of the people. USA are the real terrorists.” In another post published months later, Ahmed argued that “the war on the Islamic State is a war of the ideologies” and in private messages he told a friend that the Islamic State is the only country acting in accordance with Allah’s will.
Federal agents stopped Ahmed at Kennedy International Airport after the alleged would-be terrorist traveled home to New York from Bangladesh. When confronted about his social media messages supporting jihad and the Islamic State, Ahmed explained that the posts were written “at a low point in his life and at a time when he was smoking a large amount of marijuana.”
Authorities traveled to the unnamed country responsible for deporting Ahmed to interrogate Ahmed’s traveling companion, who is still being held overseas. The pair were arrested after they hired a taxi to transport them to Idlib in Syria. The friend, however, explained that this was all a mix-up, and they were instead intending to travel to Irbid, in Jordan.
Searching Ahmed’s cellphone, however, revealed the pair’s underlying intentions. The cellphone contained multiple pictures of Islamic State propaganda, as well as text messages indicating that the pair had hoped to travel into “ISIS-controlled territories.”
The DOJ appears to be working on stopping terror, without the distracting agenda of the Obama administration. Is the DOJ focused on making America safe again?
The cellphone also contained text messages sent by Ahmed to his family as he prepared to travel into Syria. He wished his loved ones farewell as he planned to join the other martyrs who died spreading the Islamic State’s reign of terror.
“Forgive me if I was harsh/overbearing. Please remember all that I tried to teach you.” Ahmed wrote in a farewell letter to his family. “In sha Allah [God willing] we will join the Jihad very soon and in sha Allah we will then join the ranks of the Shududa [martyrs].”
Though the DOJ made note of the fact that these are allegations and Ahmed is innocent until proven guilty, the disturbing images and propaganda found in his possession could lead to a conviction and a prison sentence. Ahmed is currently being held without bail.