„Asadullah the Chechen“ – Online Jihadi Arrested in the USA

by Florian Flade


It was Thursday, January 6th as two FBI agents approached a car in a parking lot of a local fast food restaurant in New Bethlehem, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State. They were looking for a 21 year-old man, who they found was sitting in the driver´s seat of the car. One of the agents opened the rear passenger door, identifying himself as a agent of the FBI. „We want to talk to you“, the FBI man told the young, brownish-red-bearded man in the car. At the same time the other agent opened the driver´s door, showing the wanted suspect there is no chance of escaping in this situation.

The man in the car started screaming at the FBI officers, putting one hand in his jacket, apparently searching for something. Immediately the agents thought the suspect was trying to reach a gun hidden in his jacket and struggled with him. The suspect „bit both agents and drew blood,“ the complaint filed last week, said, „They eventually brought him under control.“

When the FBI searched the jacket of the 21 year-old, they found a loaded 9mm gun. The safety was off and a bullet was in the chamber, meaning the handgun was ready to be fired.

The person – Emerson Begolly – that bit two FBI agents and probably even intended to shoot them, was initially wanted for spreading Jihadist propaganda on Islamic websites on the Internet. Begolly, whose residence is in Harrison (Pennsylvania) is now charged with assault against FBI agents, using a deadly weapon to harm the agents and possession of firearms while committing the assault.

Emerson Begolly once was a student at Penn State’s New Kensington campus but had left school and attended online courses that he later suspended. In 2009 he attended a Pro-Palestinian rally at the university and was described by the campus magazine as a „sophomore religion major“. Pictures on the Internet show the 21 year-old Muslim student speaking at the 2009 rally.

When Begolly appeared in front of a judge last week and was ordered to be jailed for at least one day. The court also revealed the Internet identity of the former Pennsylvania student Emerson Begolly – in the online world he was known as „Asadullah Shishani“.

That avatar name was used by an Online Jihadi for many years, a person that became quite a popular figure among the Jihadi extremist online community. „Asadullah Shishani“ posted video messages of al-Qaida leaders, spread documents, speeches and music files supporting Jihad and attacks against Western troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Amongst other forms of propaganda spreading, „Asadullah Shishani“ produced Nasheeds, songs about Jihad, living Jihadi fighters and martyrs, himself and posted them on the internet.

After the Jordanian double agent Khalil Humam al-Balawi alias „Abu Dujanah al-Khorasani“ killed a CIA team in a suicide bombing in Khost (Afghanistan) in December 2009, Emerson Begolly („Asadullah Shishani“) praised the bomber as a hero, dedicating a poem to al-Balawi.

„Our James Bond, who is he?
He is Abu Dujannah!
His motto: Let me die or live free!

Our James Bond, what is he like?
A roaring lion, a stinging bee,
Not a cowardly kike.

Our James Bond, what did he seek?
Not power or money,
But justice for the weak.“

Back in April 2010 another poem by Shishani appeared on the internet forums, highlighting the „Islamic State of Iraq“, the umbrella organization of al-Qaida.

„Like lions you hunted the kuffar and killed them, and like poachers they slaughtered you

But the lion cubs of Tawheed shall not remain silent, and the day of revenge is coming

So we gnash our teeth, hungry for vengeance, hungry for the flesh and blood of our enemies“

In Mid-December 2010, „Asadullah Shishani“ contributed a song in English to the Swedish-Iraqi Taimour Abdulwahhab al-Abdali, who failed to carry out a suicide bombing in Stockholm earlier that month.

„Grab my Gun and my Ammo
Strap my kamarband onto my chest
Get dressed up in my camo
Martyrdom is what I wanted best“

Emerson Begolly described himself as a Chechen native in the Jihadi internet forums. A picture shows him wearing Muslim woven cap in the colours of Chechnya. Other images raise doubts about the Muslim background of the Pennsylvania man. In one picture, Begolly is seen at a younger age, dressed in a Nazi uniform. Allegedly his father dressed him up in the German military uniform. According to reports from Pennsylvania, Begolly admitted of having a weapon and even owning a AK-47 Kalashnikov rifle.

Rarely are the big fish of the Online Jihad exposed, mainly because due to the fact that most of them are Arabic-speaking internet activists that live in Arab countries. With Begolly soon behind bars, one Western Online Jihadi is out of the game.

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