National Security

Three Men Charged With Conspiring to Support ISIS

ISIS flag
Getty Images

Three Michigan residents were charged with conspiring to support ISIS and expressed plans to to use a car to mow down "non-believers" in the United States if they couldn't fight with the terrorist group overseas.

All three defendants—Mohamud Abdikadir Muse, 23, his brother, Muse Abdikadir Muse, 20, and their brother-in-law and cousin, Mohamded Salat Haji, 26—allegedly wanted to join ISIS, shared extremist videos, and discussed plans to kill in the name of the terrorist group, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday night.

The Facebook account of Mohamud Muse, 23, came to the attention of the FBI in April 2016 after it revealed pro-ISIS photos, videos and statements. It included "violent, extremist propaganda" according to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday in U.S District Court in Grand Rapids, Mich.

An undercover FBI agent who posed as an ISIS recruiter contacted Mohamud Muse who told the agent he wanted to join ISIS in Raqqa, Syria and was saving his money to pay for a trip to Syria. He also said "he planned to die with a gun in his hand fighting for ISIS."

A search warrant issued to Facebook for information associated with Muse Muse's account allegedly discovered communications between all three defendants that supported ISIS and their desire to attack non-believers.

Some of the communications included them praising ISIS for burning people and waiting for an opportunity to attack in the name of the terrorist group. An attack was discussed after the NYC Halloween truck attack in 2017.

Haji allegedly wrote to Muse Muse asking for ISIS videos and wrote how he liked "how ISIS burned people" the complaint states. "I love it man," Haji wrote. "Haha he but that guy who was threaten he put fuel on that dude while his burning, that was funny dude [sic throughout]."

Muse sent Haji a screen shot of the NYC Tribeca truck attack that occurred on Oct. 31, 2017 and Haji said, "Yeahh I'm ready inshAllah [Arabic phrase for God Willing]. This is a call for hijra. We can't live here I'm trynna plan for hijjra now." Muse Muse then wrote, "You have spoken the truth, just wait on the opportunity. It will present itself if we are truthful. But know right it's gonna require some type of sacrifice [sic throughout]."

Muse Muse and Haji also allegedly exchanged a series of communications about Muse Muse's ability to drive and use the vehicle as a weapon in a planned attack.

"Muse Muse and Haji allegedly discussed with each other their desire to join ISIS, to kill non-believers, and even to potentially use a car for a martyrdom operation to run down non-believers here in the United States if they could not travel overseas to fight for ISIS," according to a press statement from the DOJ.

Members of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Muse Muse at the Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids after he checked in for a flight with an ultimate destination of Somalia. They arrested Haji and the other Muse shortly thereafter in the airport. All three defendants are naturalized U.S. citizens born in Kenya and face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.