The FBI has arrested three Islamic State (ISIS) members in Brooklyn, New York, in large part due to a confidential informant at an unidentified mosque. The conspirators discussed carrying out an attack in America if they are unable to join the Islamic State in Syria.
The three suspected terrorists are Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, Akhror Saidakhmetov and Abror Habibov. Those involved made it clear that their violent intentions are not motivated by political grievances. They are motivated by the Islamist teachings that require Muslims to engage in violent jihad for the sake of a “global caliphate” and apocalyptic prophecies.
Juraboev is a permanent resident of the U.S. and citizen of Uzbekistan. It is unclear when he was radicalized but he told Islamic State members online that his family in Uzbekistan is not devoutly religious. He frequented an Uzbek website that implored Uzbeks to join the Islamic State and fight for its “global caliphate.”
On August 8, Juraboev wrote a post on the website under a pseudonym talking about his desire to “strike fear in heart of the infidels,” referencing the Quran (3:151). He asked if he could join the Islamic State while remaining in America and if it would be acceptable to become a “martyr” by trying to shoot President Obama.
The FBI saw the message traced the IP address to his Brooklyn address. He admitted to the authorities that he is a supporter of the Islamic State, would like to join the terrorist group in Syria. He said he’d kill President Obama or bomb Coney Island if the Islamic State asked him to and the “order had a basis in the Koran and the ‘Sunna’ (the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad).”
The indictment summarizes his explanation as follows:
“While admitting that he does not like President Obama because of his role in killing Muslims through his support of Israel and the recent bombing of ISIL [the Islamic State], Juraboev stated that he would not kill President Obama because of ill will towards him but rather because of “Allah.” [emphasis mine]
He also gave the FBI a written statement about his beliefs. One part of the testimony reads, “Islamic right is fighting under caliphate against polytheists and infidels.” The Islamic State characterized Christians as polytheists in the video where it beheaded 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya.
Juraboev told the FBI that the second suspect, his coworker from Kazakhstan named Akhror Saidakhmetov, also supports the Islamic State and wants to go to Syria or carry out terrorism in America. Saidakhmetov also made a post on the Uzbek website praising the Islamic State video, “Upon the Prophetic Methodology,” that claims that the Isalmic State is fulfilling “end of times” prophecies.
In September 2014, a confidential informant for the FBI at an unidentified mosque approached Juraboev and pretended to support the Islamic State. The informant met Saidakhmetov the next day and three discussed plans to join the Islamic State in Syria by travelling through Turkey.
Their conversations were recorded by the informant proving that the two suspects were considering terrorist plots inside the U.S. One of their ideas was to join the U.S. military in order to share battlefield knowledge with the Islamic State, but Juraboev didn’t think that Saidakhmetov would be able to play the part. Even though Saidakhmetov professed that he would open fire on U.S. soldiers if caught, the plan was eventually dropped.
Saidakhmetov also declared that he would go on a shooting spree against police officers and the FBI headquarters if he was blocked from going to Syria.
The third suspect, an Uzbek in Brooklyn named Abror Habibov, is an Islamic State supporter who was willing to sponsor the other two to go to Syria.
Earlier this week, the FBI arrested Abdirahman S. Mohamud in Ohio for conspiring to provide material aid to terrorists in the Middle East. The authorities did not disclose which group that was. They apparently had a fear of something imminent as they filed charges in the local Common Pleas Court so there would be “quick action.” Additional charges are forthcoming.
The Justice Department arrested five Bosnian terrorism suspects only a couple of weeks ago for their ties to the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra. A sixth suspect who was indicted had already left the country.
In January, an Islamic State supporter named Christopher Lee Cornell was arrested in Ohio as he planned an attack on the U.S. Capitol building. The authorities found two semi-automatic rifles and 600 rounds of ammunition in preparation for the assault.
Altogether, 10 Islamist terrorism suspects in America have been arrested this year and all but one had links to the Islamic State. To put that in perspective, about 14 suspects were arrested last year as they tried to leave America to join the Islamic State.
The arrest of this three-man Islamic State cell should remind us of the importance of the FBI and the use of undercover informants when warranted to meet suspects and, if necessary, follow them into mosques.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, relentlessly attacks the FBI for its use of informants inside the Muslim community and mosques when warranted. CAIR accuses the FBI of torturing innocent Muslims and using undercover agents to purposely radicalize Muslims. CAIR has gone so far as to say that the War on Terror is “made up.”
The propaganda is so over-the-top that the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a group with its own troubling history that has taken a more anti-Islamist line in recent years, says it is not true. A 2013 study cited by MPAC shows that only about half of the arrests of Al-Qaeda suspects in America involved an informant.
“Some have claimed that most arrests of Al-Qaeda suspects in our country were the result of informants entrapping defendants. Because of this assumption, some have argued that the FBI is responsible for manufacturing most of these cases. However, the evidence doesn’t support the notion,” MPAC writes.
This week’s arrests in Brooklyn and Ohio show why this propaganda needs to be combated. The demonization of the FBI by CAIR makes Muslims less likely to report a threat or to even understand that the threat exists. The FBI deserves better treatment.
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.