A Florida Man has been charged by a grand jury with attempting to provide material support to a designated “foreign terrorist” organisation. The man, Mohamed Fathy Suliman, is 33 years old, and used to live in Gainesville, Florida.
According to the affidavit, Mr. Suliman travelled to Turkey in 2014 and attempted to enter Syria in order to join the so-called Islamic State group. The affidavit also states that Suliman had been watched by the FBI for a decade, even being interviewed twice- first by an agent in Turkey in 2011 and then again whilst on a trip to Sudan in 2018.
During his interview in Turkey, he told the agent that he had stopped taking medication for his bipolar disorder, which made his religious beliefs go from moderate to extreme. Though prosecutors did not say where Suliman was eventually arrested, court documents noted he had been living in India.
The Affidavit said that, “Suliman said that if he had reached the above-listed groups, he would have supported them with his English speaking and writing capabilities. Suliman added that he did not support the beheadings and torture that ISIS engaged in, but he was willing to assist and support them in their media section and related duties, and provide financial support.”
ISIS (also known as ISIL and the Islamic State) are a terrorist organisation which first gained widespread notoriety after beheading American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Though at one point they controlled large swathes of Iraq and Syria (and almost eight million people) their territory was taken back by multiple rebel groups and the Syrian Army, the Iraqi army, and the Peshmerga (the army of Iraqi Kurdistan).
However, there are still estimated to be around 10,000 active ISIS fighters in the region, some of which Russian jets recently attacked in Syria. The UN’s counter-terrorism chief, Vladimir Voronkov, said last week that “these sizable remnants are assessed to pose a major, long-term and global threat”.