Federal authorities arrested and charged a Texas man with supporting the ISIS terror group. They claim he was assisting a friend’s travel to Syria and attempted the same trek himself to join the group. Asher Abid Khan was arrested early Tuesday in Istanbul, which has become staging ground for foreign fighters seeking entry into Syria. He is also facing charges of conspiring to provide material support to ISIS.
A federal complaint says the FBI was made aware of Khan and his intentions last fall, after searching his friend, Abdullah Ali’s Facebook account. The account showed Ali holding rifles in several pictures and contained communications between the pair since last year, when they first discussed their plans to join ISIS. The man who linked the pair up with ISIS was identified as 24-year-old Turkish citizen Mohhamd. The recruiter told the pair he could help them once they arrived in Turkey and assisted them on getting a one-way ticket and an untraceable cellphone. The man also told them to trim their beards so they would not draw attention.
Khan in a text message sent to Ali said that he was on his way to Istanbul, where they were scheduled to meet but said his family informed him that his mother was in the hospital. Khan flew the next day to Turkey, but then went home, according to authorities. In another message to the recruiter he said “Came all the way to Istanbul and my family deceived me by saying my mom was in the ICU so I rushed back,” “My friend, however, is decided to carry on without me and is now in Antakya …” Ali told Kahn in late August that he was trained and was now a part of ISIS, according to Facebook posts.
An unknown female spoke with Khan about joining ISIS urging him not to go through with it. She told him his parents would not approve and threatened to tell Khan’s parents but later promised not to. Details of Khan’s arrests have not been revealed but reports have revealed that he was taken into custody and is expected to make his first appearance before Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy of the Southern District of Texas on Tuesday. He faces up to 15 years in federal prison as well as a possible $250,000 fine.
The 20-year-old is the latest American citizen to face criminal charges for allegedly attempting to join Islamic State after using social media to contact a militant recruiter. While reports of young men and women attempting to join the terrorist organization have been constant in the past year, the attempts have become an increasing concern after Islamic State claimed responsibility for a shooting at an anti-Islamic event in Garland, Texas, this month.