A North Carolina man is being charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to a designated terrorist organization, the al-Nusrah Front, also known as al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI). Basit Javed Sheikh (also known as Abdul Basit), a 29-year-old man originally from Pakistan and living in Cary, N.C., used the social networking site Facebook to advocate for Syria becoming a center for “global jihad.”
According to the complaint, Basit listed the Facebook page of “Jabhat al-Nusrah” as a “friend” on the networking site. He posted several photos and videos glorifying jihad being waged by al-Qaida fighters in Syria. A post showed a man holding a machine gun with the caption, “Many are those who have chosen to live in order to die, but I have chosen to die in order to live.”
Basit reposted a letter from another Facebook page with the caption, “Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri’s orders the annulment of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shaam that al-Baghdadi declared and specifies the jurisdiction of the Islamic State of Iraq to be Iraq and of Jabhat al-Nusrah to be Syria.” Ayman Al-Zawahiri is the current leader of al-Qaida.
He posted a video link of mujahideen planning a military-style attack in Syria with the caption, “Rejoice Oh Allepo, Jabhat Al Nusra Jihad in Syria.” He also posted a link to a video titled, “Execution of 10 Assadi by the mujahid of Jabhat Al-Nura.” The “10 Assadi” alludes to “10 soldiers fighting with the Syrian Regime under President Bashar al-Assad against Jabhat al-Nusra,” the complaint said.
Above the picture of “a room full of firearms, ammunition, and military equipment as well as several [jihadi] flags on the wall,” Basit wrote: “This picture is an example of the [sic] how united the different groups of Mujahideen are in Syria–contrary to the kufaar propaganda. They work and plan together and respect each other’s leadership. Do not believe kufr news about our Mujahideen ever!!!!” “Kufaar” or “kufr” means a non-Muslim or infidel.
Basit posted a propaganda video that included images of President Barack Obama and U.S. soldiers. A portion of the speech said, “Let their blood run in the streets of Falujah (city in Iraq), Let their blood run in the mountains of Afghanistan, Let the Mujahideen kill them and destroy them one after the other, Allah give victory to the Mujahideen is what you want to ask, Allah give victory to Shaykh Usama (Rahimullah) is what you want to ask…” He also posted videos of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, Anwar al-Awlaki, U.S.-born radical extremist, Omar Hammami (also known as Abu Mansoor Al-amriki) and Adam Gadahn.
Basit confided in an undercover FBI informant whom he befriended on Facebook that he had traveled to Turkey in October 2012 “to help his Syrian brother’s suffering.” He said he had met with members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), but they “were only interested in money.” Basit said “he would return to Syria if he knew the brothers were true because he didn’t know who to trust right now and every group had its own agenda.” Basit was arrested on his way to Lebanon in early November.