Saddam Mohamed Raishani faces a charge of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group, federal prosecutors in Manhattan said Thursday ahead of Raishani’s initial appearance in court. Raishani is being detained until his next court appearance and is being represented by two federal defenders.
If convicted he faces up to 20 years in prison.
“Having already helped another man make that trip to ISIS’s heartland, Raishani allegedly acted on his own desire to wage violent jihad, planning to leave his family and life in New York City for the battlefields of the Middle East,” acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said.
Court records cited conversations Raishani had with a paid FBI informant, telling him he regretted skipping a trip he arranged for an unidentified associate to join ISIS.
“Raishani indicated that he felt humiliated for not having traveled with Person-1 to join the Islamic State,” according to court records.
The informant later introduced Raishani to a someone he described as a “true brother” but who was really an undercover NYPD detective, according to court records. The undercover detective provided Raishani with a laptop he allegedly used to download pro-ISIS videos.
According to court records, Raishani told the undercover detective that he was part of an online chat group of ISIS supporters, said he “did not watch the news because the media speak negatively of ISIS” and “indicated he no longer felt comfortable in America.”
By April, according to the FBI, Raishani was debating whether he should join ISIS in Syria or in Yemen.
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He allegedly told the informant “that while it would be difficult leaving his wife and child to join the Islamic State he knew that he was making the right choice,” court records said.
Raishani allegedly bought a ticket for a June 21 flight from New York to Istanbul via Lisbon. He was arrested at JFK Airport as he was about to board.
Before he was due to set off, he allegedly said that “if he is arrested he will not care, because Allah would see that he tried,” according to court records.