Samuel Rahamin Topaz

New Jersey resident Samuel Rahamin Topaz is a would-be foreign fighter for ISIS. The FBI arrested Topaz at his Fort Lee, New Jersey, home on June 17, 2015, on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to the terror group.“New Jersey Man Charged with Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to ISIL,” U.S. Department of Justice, June 18, 2015, https://www.fbi.gov/newark/press-releases/2015/new-jersey-man-charged-with-conspiracy-to-provide-material-support-to-isil. On the day of his arrest, Topaz told the FBI he sympathized with the group and had watched ISIS beheading videos with his accused co-conspirators.“UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v SAMUEL RAHAMIN TOPAZ,” United States District Court District of New Jersey, June 18, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/file/479046/download. He told the FBI that he and his co-conspirators had planned to join ISIS by traveling through intermediary countries.“UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v SAMUEL RAHAMIN TOPAZ,” United States District Court District of New Jersey, June 18, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/file/479046/download. On September 9, 2015, Topaz pled guilty to one count of conspiring with others to provide services and personnel to the foreign terrorist organization. According to prosecutors, he faces up to 20 years in prison under the plea agreement. 

The FBI’s case against Topaz includes interviews with a New Jersey resident, “Person A,” who has a “personal relationship” with Topaz.“UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v SAMUEL RAHAMIN TOPAZ,” United States District Court District of New Jersey, June 18, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/file/479046/download. Person A expressed worry that Topaz would go abroad and “do something stupid.”“UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v SAMUEL RAHAMIN TOPAZ,” United States District Court District of New Jersey, June 18, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/file/479046/download. The informant said two of his co-conspirators were “preying” on Topaz’s “insecurities and pain.”“UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v SAMUEL RAHAMIN TOPAZ,” United States District Court District of New Jersey, June 18, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/file/479046/download. Topaz had also reportedly distanced himself from his high school friends, who allegedly had a good influence on him.“UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v SAMUEL RAHAMIN TOPAZ,” United States District Court District of New Jersey, June 18, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/file/479046/download.

Person A told authorities that Topaz and a co-conspirator watched jihadist videos of “what is going on overseas.”“UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v SAMUEL RAHAMIN TOPAZ,” United States District Court District of New Jersey, June 18, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/file/479046/download. Person A reported overhearing Topaz and the co-conspirator “talking in a happy way about the fact that ‘they’ took over a town and the people are so scared that police even left their uniforms in the middle of the street.”“UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v SAMUEL RAHAMIN TOPAZ,” United States District Court District of New Jersey, June 18, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/file/479046/download.

The FBI’s criminal complaint does not name Topaz’s co-conspirators, but two of the descriptions reportedly match the descriptions of Fareed Mumini and Munther Omar Saleh.Nicholas Pugliese, “Alleged ISIS hopeful from Fort Lee has unlikely past,” Record, June 19, 2015, http://www.northjersey.com/news/alleged-isis-hopeful-has-unlikely-past-1.1359779. Saleh is a 20-year-old college student from Queens, New York, who was arrested on June 13, 2015, for attempting to build a pressure-cooker bomb to attack New York tourists on behalf of ISIS.Benjamin Mueller, “College Student in Queens Is Charged With Conspiring to Support ISIS,” New York Times, June 16, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/17/nyregion/college-student-in-queens-is-charged-with-conspiring-to-support-isis.html. Saleh also allegedly translated ISIS propaganda into English.Benjamin Mueller, “College Student in Queens Is Charged With Conspiring to Support ISIS,” New York Times, June 16, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/17/nyregion/college-student-in-queens-is-charged-with-conspiring-to-support-isis.html. Federal prosecutors charged 21-year-old Mumini on June 16, 2015, for trying to stab an FBI agent trying to legally search Mumini’s Staten Island home.Benjamin Mueller, “New Jersey Man Is Charged With Planning to Aid ISIS,” New York Times, June 18, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/nyregion/new-jersey-man-is-charged-with-planning-to-aid-isis.html.

Topaz is a convert to Islam and the son of a Jewish father and Christian mother.Nicholas Pugliese, “Alleged ISIS hopeful from Fort Lee has unlikely past,” Record, June 19, 2015, http://www.northjersey.com/news/alleged-isis-hopeful-has-unlikely-past-1.1359779. Former high school classmates remember Topaz for his involvement in theater, football, and track.Nicholas Pugliese, “Alleged ISIS hopeful from Fort Lee has unlikely past,” Record, June 19, 2015, http://www.northjersey.com/news/alleged-isis-hopeful-has-unlikely-past-1.1359779. Topaz is an amateur rapper who has a “beautiful voice,” according to former classmates.Nicholas Pugliese, “Alleged ISIS hopeful from Fort Lee has unlikely past,” Record, June 19, 2015, http://www.northjersey.com/news/alleged-isis-hopeful-has-unlikely-past-1.1359779. He was accepted to Boston’s Berklee College of Music but his financial situation prevented him from attending.Nicholas Pugliese, “Alleged ISIS hopeful from Fort Lee has unlikely past,” Record, June 19, 2015, http://www.northjersey.com/news/alleged-isis-hopeful-has-unlikely-past-1.1359779. Topaz began referring to himself as “The Angel of Carnage” on Facebook.Samuel Rahamin Topaz’s Facebook page, accessed June 22, 2015, https://www.facebook.com/TheAngelOfCarnage. On March 7, 2015, he changed his profile picture to a collage of himself wearing various colored kaffiyehs covering his face with the caption, “which assassin am i, or am i all of them?!?!”Samuel Rahamin Topaz’s Facebook page, accessed June 22, 2015, https://www.facebook.com/TheAngelOfCarnage.

In an April 25, 2015, Facebook post, Topaz said he was “leaving the country to get married and have a real life.”Samuel Rahamin Topaz’s Facebook page, accessed June 22, 2015, https://www.facebook.com/TheAngelOfCarnage. In a subsequent comment he told a Facebook friend he was going to Jordan.Samuel Rahamin Topaz’s Facebook page, accessed June 22, 2015, https://www.facebook.com/TheAngelOfCarnage. When asked why he was going, he replied he had a goal when he got there: “To find peace for the world.”Samuel Rahamin Topaz’s Facebook page, accessed June 22, 2015, https://www.facebook.com/TheAngelOfCarnage. In the final comment on the thread, a poster warned Topaz “Just know that when you arrive in whatever location you plan to reside at - the US military won’t come looking for you if you get into trouble. Be a peaceful believer. Stay the fuck away from extremists.”Samuel Rahamin Topaz’s Facebook page, accessed June 22, 2015, https://www.facebook.com/TheAngelOfCarnage.

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