Usaamah Abdullah Rahim

Usaamah Abdullah Rahim was an alleged homegrown extremist and supporter of ISIS from Roslindale, Massachusetts.“Criminal Complaint,” U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, June 12, 2015, http://wpri.com/read-criminal-complaint-against-nicholas-rovinski/. Rahim reportedly met and planned with alleged co-conspirators Nicholas Alexander Rovinski and David Daoud Wright, his nephew, to behead controversial American political activist and critic of Islam Pamela Geller in New York.Elizabeth Barber, “Men charged in Boston beheading plot plead not guilty in court,” Reuters, June 19, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/19/us-massachusetts-police-idUSKBN0OZ14020150619. Geller and her organization famously hosted a draw the prophet Muhamad contest in Garland, Texas, on May 3, 2015.

In January 2015, Rahim, Wright, and Rovinski began discussing ISIS’s calls to carry out attacks in the United States. By the following month, Rahim and Wright began forming plots and recruiting additional conspirators to carry out an attack. Wright studied a jihadist manual called “How to Survive in the West,” which provided instructions on how to develop a sleeper terrorist cell, and conducted Internet searches on firearms, tranquilizers, and other weapons.“Second Superseding Indictment,” U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, February 15, 2017, https://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/case_docs/3231.pdf. In late May 2015, Rahim ordered three large fighting knives on Amazon.“Criminal Complaint,” U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, June 12, 2015, http://wpri.com/read-criminal-complaint-against-nicholas-rovinski/. Court documents released in April 2016 reveal that Rahim had been in contact with ISIS operative Junaid Hussain. Hussain reportedly communicated directly with Rahim, who then passed along the instructions to his conspirators to kill Geller. They allegedly planned to kill her in while she was home in New York for the July 4th holiday.Adam Goldman, “Well-known ISIS operative instructed Americans to kill organizer of Muhammad cartoon contest, prosecutors reveal,” Washington Post, April 21, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/04/21/well-known-isis-operative-instructed-americans-to-kill-organizer-of-muhammad-cartoon-contest-prosecutors-reveal/; “Two Individuals Charged in Superseding Indictment with Conspiring to Commit Acts of Terrorism Transcending National Boundaries,” U.S. Department of Justice, April 21, 2016, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-individuals-charged-superseding-indictment-conspiring-commit-acts-terrorism-transcending.

In early 2015, Wright put Rahim in contact with Zulfi Hoxha, an ISIS supporter who Wright had met online and who planned to travel abroad to join ISIS. Wright and Rahim helped to fund Hoxha’s plane ticket to Istanbul, Turkey, by selling Rahim’s laptop on Craigslist. Hoxha departed for Istanbul on April 6, 2015, from where he traveled to Syria to join ISIS. After Hoxha’s departure, Rahim remained in contact with him for a few days through communications on an encrypted messaging app. After Hoxha began training at an ISIS camp, Rahim continued to receive updates on his activities by communicating with Hussain.Seamus Hughes et al., “A New American Leader Rises in ISIS,” Atlantic, January 13, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/01/isis-america-hoxha/550508/.

Despite Hussain’s direct instructions to carry out an attack against Geller, Rahim instead attempted to attack members of the Boston police force. On June 2, 2015, he was shot and killed after he attempted to attack FBI agents and members of the Boston police force in Roslindale, Massachusets, with one of the large fighting knives he had purchased from Amazon.Adam Goldman, “Well-known ISIS operative instructed Americans to kill organizer of Muhammad cartoon contest, prosecutors reveal,” Washington Post, April 21, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/04/21/well-known-isis-operative-instructed-americans-to-kill-organizer-of-muhammad-cartoon-contest-prosecutors-reveal/; “Read: Criminal complaint against Nicholas Rovinski,” WPRI, June 12, 2015,http://wpri.com/read-criminal-complaint-against-nicholas-rovinski/. That morning, Wright had encouraged Rahim to carry out an attack against authorities and become a martyr for ISIS.Maria Cramer, “Man convicted in terrorism plot sentenced to 28 years,” Boston Globe, December 19, 2017, https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/12/19/man-convicted-terrorism-plot-sentenced-years/dUGdLtwm0DlIKiJQvqfObM/story.html. After Rahim’s death, both Wright and Rovinski were arrested.Adam Goldman, “Well-known ISIS operative instructed Americans to kill organizer of Muhammad cartoon contest, prosecutors reveal,” Washington Post, April 21, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/04/21/well-known-isis-operative-instructed-americans-to-kill-organizer-of-muhammad-cartoon-contest-prosecutors-reveal/; “Two Individuals Charged in Superseding Indictment with Conspiring to Commit Acts of Terrorism Transcending National Boundaries,” U.S. Department of Justice, April 21, 2016, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-individuals-charged-superseding-indictment-conspiring-commit-acts-terrorism-transcending.

Return to Full Database

Take action:

Help Counter Extremism

Stay updated on the latest

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On December 6, 2018, a suicide car bomb exploded near a police post in the Iranian port city of Chabahar, killing four officers and wounding 48 other people. Ansar al-Furqan, an al-Qaeda-linked Baloch insurgent group, claimed responsibility.

View Archive

CEP on Twitter