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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Sunday, August 20, 2017

Saddam Mohammed Raishani, a 30-year-old Bronx native, was arrested last Wednesday by federal agents and the NYPD at JFK International Airport. On Thursday, authorities cited by the New York Times said Raishani was apprehended while attempting to board a flight to Syria, where he intended to join the Islamic State (ISIS). Raishani had already passed through security before his arrest. 

A trained nurse, Raishani (also known as “Adam”) was the target of a six-month investigation in which he met several times with undercover agents, to whom he disclosed his intention to join and support ISIS. According to Heavy.com, Raishani had planned to join Islamic State as early as 2016, using an anonymous internet browser to view the terror group’s propaganda, including videos promoting ISIS recruitment and encouraging viewers to “answer God’s call and avoid humiliation.” Raishani reportedly told undercover agents posing as ISIS sympathizers that he was angered by the U.S. military’s killing of the daughter of Al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki during a January 27 U.S. military operation in Yemen. Raishani allegedly attempted to recruit two of the agents, telling them they could pose as a nurse and refugee aid worker in order to enter Yemen. Raishani incriminated himself still further on March 2, when he wore latex gloves before handling a laptop provided to him by an undercover agent. Raishani reportedly used the laptop to show the agent how to download ISIS propaganda videos.  

In a statement posted on the U.S. Department of Justice website Thursday, FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. described Raishani’s case as “another alleged instance of the nature of the terrorism threat and its reach into communities here at home.” Sweeney added that local and federal law enforcement will collaborate to thwart acts of terrorism in the future.  

Joon H. Kim, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement Thursday that Raishani had “allegedly acted on his own desire to wage violent jihad,” and that Raishani had already helped another man travel to Syria to join ISIS. 

“Thanks to the excellent work of the FBI and NYPD, Raishani’s alleged plan to support this deadly terrorist organization was cut short at the airport and now he will face federal terrorism charges,” Kim said. 

Raishani is currently facing up to 20 years behind bars if convicted on charges of “attempted provision of material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization.” The NY Times said Raishani was expected to appear in Manhattan federal court on Thursday, June 22, before Magistrate Judge James L. Cott.

By:  Menachem Rephun