Ali Shukri Amin

Ali Shukri Amin is a teenager from Manassas, Virginia, who recruited and propagandized for ISIS on several online platforms including Twitter, Ask.fm, and a blog entitled, “Al-Khilafah Aridat.”“UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. ALI SHUKRI AMIN, Defendant,” United States Department of Justice, June 11, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/opa/file/477371/download. Amin’s online presence grew substantially in June 2014, when he created his now suspended Twitter account, @AmreekiWitness, which quickly accumulated over 4,000 followers.Mike Levine, “Virginia teen Ali Shukri Amin allegedly admits radicalizing others to join ISIS,” ABC News, June 11, 2015, http://abcnews.go.com/News/virginia-teen-allegedly-admits-radicalizing-join-isis/story?id=31690153. Through @AmreekiWitness, Amin glorified ISIS and defended the beheadings of several Western journalists.“Virginia teen pleads guilty to supporting ISIS,” CBS, June 11, 2015, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/virginia-teen-ali-shukri-amin-pleads-guilty-to-supporting-isis/. In the summer of 2014, Amin tweeted actively in response to the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, using the incident as a platform for recruiting for ISIS.Souad Mekhennet, “Even the Islamists of ISIS are obsessing over Ferguson,” Washington Post, August 21, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/08/21/even-islamist-fighters-in-syria-and-iraq-are-obsessing-over-ferguson/.


[Source: Daily Mail]


[Source: Daily Mail]


[Source: SITE Intelligence Group]

The FBI arrested Amin in Virginia on February 27, 2015.Matt Zapotosky, “Northern Va. Teen thought to have helped man join Islamic State,” Washington Post, March 4, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/northern-va-teen-thought-to-have-helped-man-join-islamic-state/2015/03/04/51c7ec34-c1e6-11e4-ad5c-3b8ce89f1b89_story.html. On June 11, he pleaded guilty in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, to conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.Matt Zapotosky, “Va. Teen admits he was secret voice behind an pro-ISIS Twitter account,” Washington Post, June 11, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/northern-va-teen-admits-running-pro-islamic-state-twitter-and-helping-man-join-terrorist-group/2015/06/11/1d0cb33e-0eef-11e5-9726-49d6fa26a8c6_story.html. In late August 2015, a federal court sentenced him to over 11 years in prison.Associated Press, “Teen gets more than 11 years for helping Islamic State group,” Washington Post, August 28, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/teen-gets-more-than-11-years-for-helping-islamic-state/2015/08/28/aab014ba-4d8d-11e5-80c2-106ea7fb80d4_story.html. On April 27, 2018, the court granted the government’s motion for a reduction in Amin’s sentence from 136 months to 72 months under Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure,“United States of America v. ALI SHUKRI AMIN – Supplement Aid in Reduction of Sentencing,” United States District Court – Eastern District of Virginia Alexandria Division, April 27, 2018, https://extremism.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs2191/f/AminSentenceReductionOrder.pdf. which allows for a reduction in a defendant’s sentence if the defendant provides “substantial assistance” to the government after sentencing.“Rule 35: Correcting or Reducing a Sentence,” Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcrmp/rule_35. He was released on May 5, 2020.“ALI SHUKRI AMIN,” Find an Inmate – Federal Bureau of Prisons, accessed March 9, 2021, https://www.bop.gov/inmateloc/.

Amin garnered financial support for ISIS, directing followers to donate to the terror group through Bitcoin, an online payment system that allows for financial transactions to be conducted anonymously and without an intermediary.“Virginia teen pleads guilty to supporting ISIS,” CBS, June 11, 2015, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/virginia-teen-ali-shukri-amin-pleads-guilty-to-supporting-isis/. Amin also posted several articles on his blog that demonstrated how to use Bitcoin to donate anonymously to ISIS.“UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. ALI SHUKRI AMIN, Defendant,” United States Department of Justice, June 11, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/opa/file/477371/download. He urged readers to use a specific Bitcoin wallet called “Dark Wallet,” which would mask the donor’s identity.“UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. ALI SHUKRI AMIN, Defendant,” United States Department of Justice, June 11, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/opa/file/477371/download. On his blog, Amin instructed his readers on how to use “security measures in online communications, [including] encryption and anonymity software,” according to the United States Department of Justice.“UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. ALI SHUKRI AMIN, Defendant,” United States Department of Justice, June 11, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/opa/file/477371/download.

Amin operated an Ask.fm account under the name AmreekiWitness, which, according to the Washington Post, Amin characterized as “dedicated to raising awareness about the upcoming conquest of the Americas, and the benefits it has upon the American people.”Matt Zapotosky, “Va. Teen admits he was secret voice behind an pro-ISIS Twitter account,” Washington Post, June 11, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/northern-va-teen-admits-running-pro-islamic-state-twitter-and-helping-man-join-terrorist-group/2015/06/11/1d0cb33e-0eef-11e5-9726-49d6fa26a8c6_story.html.

In September 2014, Amin began radicalizing fellow Virginian Reza Niknejad, to which he admitted in his plea agreement.Mike Levine, “Virginia teen Ali Shukri Amin allegedly admits radicalizing others to join ISIS,” ABC News, June 11, 2015, http://abcnews.go.com/News/virginia-teen-allegedly-admits-radicalizing-join-isis/story?id=31690153. Niknejad traveled to Syria on January 14, 2015. Amin accompanied Niknejad to the airport and put him in contact with unnamed ISIS militants with whom he had formed connections over social media.Matt Zapotosky, “Va. Teen admits he was secret voice behind an pro-ISIS Twitter account,” Washington Post, June 11, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/northern-va-teen-admits-running-pro-islamic-state-twitter-and-helping-man-join-terrorist-group/2015/06/11/1d0cb33e-0eef-11e5-9726-49d6fa26a8c6_story.html.

Upon his 2020 release, U.S. authorities placed multiple restrictions on Amin, including a lifelong restriction on meeting with extremists. In January 2023, court documents came to light revealing the FBI recorded Amin meeting with convicted foreign fighter John Walker Lindh on three separate occasions in 2021. Known colloquially as the “American Taliban,” Lindh is a U.S. citizen and convicted former foreign fighter for al-Qaeda and the Taliban who was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 and convicted in the United States in October 2002 on terrorism charges. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but he was released early for good behavior in May 2019. Lindh was placed under communications restrictions, which expired in 2022 but were in effect during his meetings with Amin. Authorities launched an investigation into Amin’s alleged parole violation but did not immediately begin an investigation into Lindh. According to court documents, however, Lindh “remains a known extremist and is believed by the FBI to hold extremist ideations.”Rachel Weiner, “‘American Taliban’ John Walker Lindh released from prison after 17 years,” Washington Post, May 23, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/american-taliban-john-walker-lindh-set-to-be-released-from-prison-after-17-years/2019/05/22/11aaba92-7041-11e9-9f06-5fc2ee80027a_story.html?utm_term=.02e3d2b78aa1; Matthew Barakat, “FBI: ‘American Taliban’ Lindh meets with released extremist,” Associated Press, January 26, 2023, https://apnews.com/article/islamic-state-group-crime-organized-united-kingdom-government-legal-proceedings-726e5ae5da9915bbd8b1d8ea56bfc13e.

Also Known As
  • @AmreekiWitness

Extremist entity
ISIS
Type(s) of Organization:
Insurgent, territory-controlling, religious, terrorist, violent
Ideologies and Affiliations:
Islamist, jihadist, pan-Islamist, Salafist, takfiri
Position(s):
Propagandist, recruiter, financier

ISIS is a violent jihadist group based in Iraq and Syria. The group has declared wilayas (provinces) in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the North Caucasus. ISIS has also waged attacks in Turkey, Lebanon, France, Belgium, Iraq, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tunisia, and Kuwait.

  • Rhetoric
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On October 27, 2018, domestic terrorist Robert D. Bowers carried out an anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. He fired on congregants as they gathered for worship, killing 11 people and wounding six others.

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