NY Terror Suspect arrested in Hawaii – The Next Faisal Shehzad?

by Florian Flade

Surveillance camera footage – US-Jihadi Faisal Shehzad driving car bomb into Times Square

Abdel Hameed Shehadeh tried it several times – and even as FBI agents approached the 21 year-old U.S. Muslim, he did not stop plotting and thinking about how to join Jihad.

The New York-born man was finally arrested last Friday in Honolulu, Hawaii, and appeared in court in Monday for the first time. In the criminal complaint, the U.S. Department of Justice, charges Shehadeh with involvement in international terrorism. Allegedly Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, who was born and raised on Staten Island (New York) posted videos and documents of radical Islamic content on his own websites and had tried to join militant groups in foreign countries, including Pakistan, Somalia and Iraq.

Shehadeh´s first attempt to enter the world of jihad, failed in Summer 2008. Livingin Brooklyn (New York) he bought a One-Way ticket to Pakistan, boarding a plane from J.F Kennedy Airport (New York) to Islamabad (Pakistan) on June 13th. Pakistani officials did not allow him to enter the country.

Telling the Pakistani officials, he planned to attend Islamic Universities in the country and visit the engagement party of his brother, they suspected the young American Muslim was about to join Taliban and al-Qaeda.
In an April 2010 conversation with the FBI, Shehadeh admitted, if he had been allowed to enter Pakistan, „without a doubt, he would have joined the Taliban“, the complaint says.

In late October 2008, Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, flew from Newark Airport (New Jersey) to Amman (Jordan), suspected of trying to get to Iraq via Jordan. Jordanian officials denied him entry and sent back to the U.S.

Weeks after the failed attempt to join the Iraqi insurgency the terror suspect went to a recruiting center of the US Army on New York´s Times Square to join the military. Asked by the recruiter if he had traveled overseas, Shehadeh lied and told him he had only been to Israel once.

The real reason why the NY-Muslim wanted to become a US soldier was not to serve his country, but to be deployed to Iraq, where he planned to leave the army and join the Anti-American insurgency.

Shehadeh „informed (one witness) that he hoped to be deployed to Iraq,“ the complaint of the DoJ says. „At the time he was applying to join the military, Shehadeh told, when he arrived in Iraq, he intended to commit ‚treason‘ and fight United States soldiers. He explained that joining the military was an easier way to join jihad because the military would provide him with training, transportation and a weapon.“

Turned away by the U.S. recruiting center in Manhattan, Abdel Hameed Shehadeh started becoming more involved in the Online Jihad, creating his a website, promoting Anti-Western propaganda, featuring speeches and sermons of U.S.-Yemeni preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, Abu Yahya al-Libi and Osama Bin Laden.

After he moved to Hawaii in 2009, Shehadeh was confronted by FBI agents in early 2010 who asked him about his travels and Internet activities – why he spread Jihadi propaganda on internet forums and his own blog. As he allegedly tried to travel to Somalia, the FBI also informed Shehadeh, that he was on a „No-Fly“ list and therefore not allowed to leave the United States.

Questioned by the FBI, Shehadeh admitted his own Website was „designed to mirror and reformat the teachings of radical U.S.-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki“. He also said, in the past he had agreed and sympathized with al-Qaeda´s ideology.

„It is time for the Muslims to start practicing our freedom of speech“, Abdel Hameed Shehadeh wrote on his Website, „My brothers of revolution Islam, I am with you as long as you keep struggling. Trust me there are many brothers and sisters in America that are ready to speak up. They just need a push.“

The Hawaii terror suspect was under the watchful monitoring of the U.S. counter-terrorism forces, yet, authorities decided to detain him only after he started to recruit another Muslim man in an internet-discussion about an Anwar al-Awlaki video, to join him in going for Jihad.

Big question in this new New York Terror case: Connection to Revolution Muslim?

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