For immediate release | Friday, September 11, 2015

CEP Profiles American Foreign Fighters, Financiers, and Supporters of ISIS and Other Extremist Groups

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(New York, NY)The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) today released profiles of 66 Americans who have joined or allegedly attempted to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as well as other Americans accused of planning attacks on U.S. soil, providing financial assistance to extremist entities, or propagandizing on their behalf.

“More than 20,000 foreign fighters have joined ISIS from all over the world, which has enabled the terror group to spread its brutality to Libya and other countries far beyond Iraq and Syria,” said CEP CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace. “The Americans profiled today have allegedly tried to join ISIS or other extremist groups, are accused of supporting terrorism financially or being part of the vast web of extremists freely propagandizing on Twitter and other social media platforms, which continues to be a pervasive and effective way to radicalize and encourage violent behavior.”

To view the full list of 66 American foreign fighters and homegrown extremists profiled, click here.

All of the new entries can also be found on CEP's Global Extremist Registry, a unique searchable database and interactive map that profiles the world’s most notorious extremist leaders, propagandists, financiers, and their organizations. The information on extremist leaders is presented in both list form and graphically on a world map.  In either format, users can search by name, by political leader, by financial leader or filter by extremist groups, such as: ISIS; al-Qaeda; Boko Haram; Golden Dawn; Hezbollah; the Nusra Front; Khorasan; Muslim Brotherhood; and others.

Following is a sampling of the new American profiles featured on the Global Extremist Registry.

Jaelyn Young, the daughter of a police officer in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and a chemistry major at Mississippi State University, was arrested in August 2015 at a Mississippi airport allegedly attempting to join ISIS with her fiancé, Muhammad Dakhlalla, the son of a local Imam. Both Young and Dakhlalla were charged with attempting and conspiring to knowingly provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. According to U.S. authorities, the pair engaged in numerous conversations on social media sites with FBI agents disguised as ISIS recruiters for several months. Young allegedly offered her services to ISIS, stating that she was “skilled at math and chemistry,” and that Dakhlalla was “good at computer science/media.”

Ali Shukri Amin, a 17-year-old from Manassas, Virginia, recruited and propagandized for ISIS on several online platforms including Twitter, Ask.fm, and in a blog entitled, “Al-Khilafah Aridat.” Amin’s now suspended Twitter account, @AmreekiWitness, had more than 4,000 followers. Amin glorified ISIS and defended the beheadings of several Western journalists. He garnered financial support for ISIS, directing followers to donate to the terror group through Bitcoin, and posting several articles on his blog explaining how to do so anonymously. In 2014, Amin began radicalizing fellow Virginian Reza Niknejad, who traveled to Syria in January 2015. The FBI arrested Amin in Virginia in February 2015. In June he pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and was sentenced to 11 years in prison on August 28.

Christopher Lee Cornell, a homegrown conspirator and an alleged ISIS supporter from Ohio is accused of planning to attack the U.S. Capitol armed with pipe bombs and firearms. Cornell was arrested in January 2015 in Cincinnati after he purchased two rifles and rounds of ammunition. Cornell, who is in his early twenties, converted to Islam in high school. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Asia Siddiqui is a U.S. citizen and an alleged ISIS-inspired homegrown extremist from Queens, New York. She and her alleged accomplice, Noelle Velentzas, were arrested in April and charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against persons or property in the United States. Both have pleaded not guilty. The women allegedly educated themselves on how to build explosives. Objects found in their apartments allegedly included propane gas tanks, soldering tools, pipes, a pressure cooker, fertilizer, flux, machetes, daggers, and bomb recipes.

Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, a U.S. citizen from Somalia, is accused of plotting a terrorist attack in the United States. Mohamud, who lived in Ohio from the age of two, left for Syria in April 2014 to join the Nusra Front, the chief al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria. His older brother Abdifatah Aden had made the same journey to Syria in May 2013. According to the indictment issued by a federal grand jury, a cleric dispatched Mohamud to recruit others and carry out an attack within the United States after he had completed his weapons training in Syria. Mohamud returned on June 4, 2014 (four days after his brother Aden died in combat in Syria) and allegedly planned to attack a U.S. military base or prison. He was arrested in Ohio in February 2015.

Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, his roommate Akhror Saidakhmetov and financier Abror Habibov were arrested in February 2015, for allegedly attempting to leave the U.S. to join ISIS in Syria. Juraboev, a resident of Brooklyn, New York, and a citizen of Uzbekistan, allegedly planned to fly to Istanbul in March 2015 to join ISIS in Syria. Juraboev was charged with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS and faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison if convicted. According to authorities, Juraboev offered to kill President Barack Obama and questioned if that would earn him martyrdom. He also threatened to bomb Coney Island. The FBI built its case based on recorded conversations between an informant, Juraboev, Saidakhmetov, and Habibov, who authorities charged with funding Saidakhmetov’s trip.

John T. Booker was arrested in April 2015 following a year-long FBI investigation, for allegedly plotting an ISIS inspired suicide bombing at the U.S. Army base in Fort Riley, Kansas. Booker, an American citizen, was charged with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, one count of attempting to damage property by means of an explosive, and one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Booker pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.

Abdiwali Nur, a young Minnesota man of Somali origin, successfully traveled to Syria to fight alongside ISIS in May 2014. Has not returned. In November 2014, a Minneapolis federal court charged Nur in absentia with conspiring to aid ISIS. 

Guled Ali Omar, a 20-year-old Kenyan-born American citizen from Minnesota, was one of six men arrested in April 2015 and charged with conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS. The others who were monitored by the FBI for months before being arrested, are Mohamed Abdihamid FarahAdnan FarahAbdurahman Yasin DaudZacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, and Hanad Mustafe Musse. Guled Omar’s brother, Ahmed Ali Omar, left Minnesota for Somalia in 2007 and is believed to be a member of the terror group al-Shabab. Omar reportedly planned to travel to California by car and then onward to Syria and withdrew $5,000 from his financial aid debit card in May 2014, weeks prior to his planned departure. He was arrested by FBI agents while attempting to board a flight to San Diego.

Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh is a New Jersey-based U.S. Air Force veteran, convert to Islam, and an alleged would-be foreign fighter for ISIS. He was charged in March 2015 with one count of attempting to supply material support to a terrorist organization and one count of obstruction of justice. Pugh held several air force and airline-related jobs and lived in in Egypt, Dubai, and Jordan for about 18 months prior to his arrest. In January 2015, Pugh traveled from Egypt to Turkey, allegedly attempting to cross the border into Syria to join ISIS. Turkish authorities stopped Pugh and forced him to return to Egypt. Pugh was transferred to U.S. custody and arrested by the FBI in New Jersey soon after his arrival. He has pleaded not guilty.