Texan Parents Lied to FBI About Sons Fighting for ISIS

A couple from Plano, Texas, pleaded guilty of lying to the FBI to about their two sons who joined ISIS.

Arman, 27, and Omar Ali, 26, traveled to Egypt and then to Syria and became fighters for the Islamic State, according to federal court records.  

Parents Mohommad Hasnain Ali, 57, and Sumaiya Ali, 49, reached a agreement with the prosecutor for a fine of $5,000 and being put on probation for making a false statement regarding international terrorism in June.

The agreement must be approved by a judge during an upcoming sentencing hearing.

When FBI agents interviewed Mohommad Hasnain Ali in May 2015, “he advised that his sons were peaceful, liked to study, and never indicated they would be affiliated with any terrorist group,” FBI records say.

But Mohommad was communicating with his sons in Syria via email. One message he received from Arnan in March 2015 read, “Things are heating up here, and I can’t guarantee me or Omar will be there in 2 months … I’ve been to the hospital every day with brothers from my group. Close friends have died, too many injured. Me and Omar are perfectly fine right now, but soon we may not be.”

Arman and Omar Ali have been charged separately with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Since they are believed to be in Syria, they have not stood trial.

In July 2015, the FBI said it was investigating terrorist cases in all 50 states. As of September that year, an estimated 250 Americans had traveled to Syria and Iraq to join terrorists groups.

In December 2015, the George Washington Program on Extremism released an in-depth report ISIS In America: From Retweets to Raqqa.

In another case, a Virginia man was sentenced to two years in prison for lying to FBI agents about his knowledge of ISIS supporters.

Michael Queen, 28, was sentenced for obstructing justice and making false statements involving international terrorism. Another defendant, Soufian Amri, is set to be sentenced in the next two weeks on similar charges.

According to court filings, in a taped conversation between Queen, Amri and another person, Queen said, “I’m never going to throw a Muslim underneath the bus to try to do the right thing.”

The conversation was reportedly concerning Haris Qamar who wanted to join ISIS in the Middle East but was unable to travel. Instead, he is accused of sending money to ISIS, scouting Washington-area landmarks and taking photos of them to be used in ISIS publications as suggestions for lone-wolf attacks.

 

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Elliot Friedland
Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.