A shocking video has been posted online showing a Muslim-American in the Houston area pledging allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group in front of a police officer while being escorted away from a mosque.
The video was uploaded September 21 by a man who goes by the names of Abdul-Rahman Baghdadi or Houston Baghdadi.
Baghdadi describes himself as an “Islamic Chaliphate [sic] State Fact Reporter” and identifies his locations as Houston, Las Vegas and Chicago on Twitter. He sent out a tweet describing himself as an “early student,” indicating that he may be a recent convert to Islam.
The video shows Baghdadi wearing pro-Islamic State attire at a mosque with a friend. The mosque is not specifically identified but is referred to by the acronym of “ISGH,” presumably the Islamic Society of Greater Houston.
The footage shows a police officer arriving at the mosque and a Muslim man complaining about Baghdadi. As he is escorted away, Baghdadi turns to his partner and requests, “In front of the police officers, will you please record this?”
He then raises his hand and pledges allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State terrorist group (more commonly known by the acronyms of ISIS or ISIL). The officer responds, “I don’t know what that means.”
“He’s the caliph of the Islamic State,” Baghdadi explains as the police officer walks away.
Baghdadi writes that the Muslim man in the footage “kicks me out constantly for NO REASON Even when I didn’t wear what I was wearing [the logo of the Islamic State].”
Another incident at the ISGH mosque was also recorded and uploaded. It shows an enraged man telling Baghdadi to never return to the premise and that he will be charged with trespassing if he does.
Baghdadi also uploaded a series of videos on October 12 showing a confrontation at the El-Farouq mosque in Houston. It begins when he approaches Muslim schoolchildren eating lunch and corrects them for eating with their left hand, a violation of sharia law. A man immediately intervenes and says he is calling the police. Baghdadi tells the cop that he was joking and meant no harm.
One of the recordings shows Baghdadi returning to the El-Farouq mosque in a different outfit and again being told to leave by a police officer.
On October 13, Baghdadi uploaded a local TV news clip about a picture of a man with pro-Islamic State attire at a restaurant in the Houston area.
Baghdadi’s tweets also show ISIS insignia being placed on a bus, a highway sign, a truck and over an advertisement for an aquarium on a car. A second truck is shown with an ISIS logo on but Baghdadi coupled it with a hashtag of “FBlies.”
The tweets are below:
He also retweeted a message justifying the killing of Jews:
It is referring to an Islamic hadith that reads, “The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”
Other tweets endorse the ISIS goal of conquering the world:
On October 13, Baghdadi tweeted a purported picture of an ISIS supporter arrested in Houston. He did not comment as to whether the photo is of him. The tweet is below:
Snopes.com, a website that assesses the credibility of Internet rumors, dismissed the photo’s credibility. Part of its reasoning is based on the false premise that an ISIS supporter or member wouldn’t openly display his allegiance.
The Brewster County Sheriff’s Department posted a link on its Facebook page to the photo. The link claimed the police arrested an ISIS terrorist on September 5. The Department subsequently was informed by the FBI that the story is false, but the denial may rest upon the definition of an ISIS “member” or “terrorist.”
The shocking video of an Islamist in Houston pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) in front of a police officer is a visual depiction of the ideology’s presence in the U.S. Online ISIS supporters have been discussing potential attacks on the U.S. via the Mexican border.
The FBI says about a dozen Americans are currently fighting alongside ISIS in Syria. At least 100 Americans have joined jihadist groups in Syria like ISIS and Al-Qaeda, while some officials put the number as high as 300. At least seven Americans have been arrested this year as they tried to go to Syria to join ISIS or a similar group.
Muslim-American support for ISIS appears very miniscule and the Muslims’ reactions to Baghdadi are evidence of that. Nonetheless, even a single supporter of the death-glorifying group can do serious harm. The Boston Marathon bombings were committed by just two terrorists.
Baghdadi is reckless and attention-seeking, but not all ISIS supporters are that way. For every “Houston Baghdadi” broadcasting his extremism, there must be multiple more avoiding the cameras.
For more information about the Islamic State and its ambition of uniting all Muslims under its leadership see Clarion Project’s Fact Sheet: The Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL)