Virginia Man Arrested for Allegedly 'Attempting to Provide Material Support' to ISIL

By Barbara Hollingsworth | July 12, 2016 | 11:48am EDT
(AP photo)

( – A 25-year-old Muslim man from Burke, Virginia, has been arrested and charged with “attempting to provide material support and resources” to the Islamic State (ISIL).

Haris Qamar is accused of taking photographs "for use in a video that ISIL was purportedly making to encourage lone wolf attacks in the Washington, D.C. area” and identifying the homes of military personnel on the terror group’s “kill list”, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Friday.

According to an unsealed criminal complaint filed on July 7 with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia by FBI Special Agent Nicholas Caslen, the suspect - who lives about  15 miles from Washington, D.C. – had previously attempted to join ISIL, which has been designated by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist organization.

But he was reportedly thwarted by his parents, who refused to give him his expired passport and birth certificate.

“Qamar said that his parents threatened to notify law enforcement authorities. Qamar said that he fought with his father and called his father a traitor to Islam,” according to Caslen's sworn complaint.

The Brooklyn-born suspect allegedly told an FBI informant that he “loved” watching videos of ISIL beheadings.

“Qamar said he loved the bodies, blood and beheadings, and he recalled watching a video of a Kurdish individual being slaughtered, and liked the cracking sound made when the individual’s spinal cord was torn,” according to a DOJ press release.

“On several occasions Qamar allegedly said he could slaughter someone and described how he would do it.  Qamar also stated that he admired lone wolf attackers because they love Islam so much that they are willing to die as martyrs for Islam.” 

Between May 2015 and April 2016, Qamar used one of over 60 Twitter accounts that included “newerajihadi” to post a still photograph from an ISIS video showing “Jihadi John” beheading a Syrian pilot, to pray for “another similar attack with even greater casualties” than the attack at Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, and to express his wish that “Auschwitz will be opened again”, according to the FBI complaint.

The FBI said it traced the Twitter accounts’ to an IP address registered with the suspect’s mother.

On May 26, 2016, Qamar and CW [a confidential witness for the FBI who communicated with him via private messaging on Twitter and met with him personally on ‘multiple occasions’] discussed a video that ISIL was purportedly making to encourage lone wolf attacks in Washington, D.C.,” the complaint alleged.

“Qamar offered CW ideas of where to go to take photographs’ of possible targets….Qamar’s list included a number of D.C. area locations and landmarks in Arlington, Virginia, which could be targeted for terrorist attacks. …

“On June 3, 2016, Qamar offered to assist CW in taking the photographs. That same day, CW picked up Qamar in Springfield, Virginia, in a car that the FBI had fitted with a video recorder. CW wore an audio recorder," according to the complaint.

“As they drove past the Pentagon, Qamar took a video of the Pentagon and yelled a slogan indicating support for the expansion of ISIL. Qamar said ‘bye bye DC, stupid ass kufar, kill ‘em all’,” the complaint stated.

“On June 10, 2016, CW and Qamar met again with the purpose of taking additional photographs” of “two other landmarks in Arlington, Virginia and were observed taking photographs at each location by FBI personnel.”

The complaint also alleged that Qamar identified the homes of several members of the U.S. military in his neighborhood whose names were included on an ISIL “kill list”.

“On September 11, 2015, a ‘kill list’ was posted to the internet by terrorists connected with ISIL, containing the names and addresses of members of the U.S. military,” the complaint stated. “A few days later, Qamar told CW that the residences of several soldiers who appeared on that ‘kill list’ were near Qamar’s own home, and that Qamar had observed undercover police cars near those residences.”

“On September 16, 2015, from Twitter account with handle @newerajihadi20, Qamar tweeted his prayer that Allah ‘give strength to the mujahideen to slaughter every single U.S. military officer’,” the complaint stated.

“On October 29, 2015, and again on May 12, 2016, Qamar reminded CW of the addresses on the kill list, and told CW the name of the street.” The FBI confirmed that two of the residences of military personnel on the ISIL “kill list” were located within two miles of Qamar’s suburban Virginia home, the complaint noted.

A preliminary hearing will be held in the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va. on July 13. If convicted, Qamar faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

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