California ‘Hipster Terrorist’ Charged with Supporting the Islamic State

Aws Mohammed Younis al-Jayab is shown in this courtroom sketch appearing in federal court in Sacramento, California January 8, 2016. REUTERS/VICKI BEHRINGER

On Thursday, the Justice Department announced the indictment of Aws Mohammed Younis al-Jayab, the 23-year-old “hipster terrorist” of Sacramento, for attempting to provide material support to a Syrian terrorist group allied with the Islamic State.

“Prosecutors allege that Al-Jayab flew from Chicago to Turkey on November 9, 2013, and then flew on to Syria. There, they say, he joined a group that was later affiliated with ISIS and aided in their fight against the Syrian government,” writes the UK Daily Mailsummarizing the DOJ charging documents. “Al-Jayab told investigators he was just visiting his grandmother in Turkey during the trip.”

The Justice Department describes Al-Jayab as “a Palestinian born in Iraq, who came to the United States as an Iraqi refugee in October 2012.”

Before he made his trip to Syria, while living in Arizona and Wisconsin, the complaint alleges he “communicated via social media with numerous individuals about his intention to go to Syria to fight for terrorist organizations.” He also used social media to announce he had succeeded in reaching Syria, and was fighting alongside terrorist organizations.

The Daily Mail reports his terrorism-supporting social media activity included distributing ISIS propaganda, declaring, “America will not isolate me from my Islamic duty,” posting photos of the Islamic State’s black flag, praising the Boston Marathon bombers, and communicating with another man indicted for providing material support to ISIS.

Most oddly, he posted photos of himself “kissing the face of a dead man whom he referred to as ‘my cousin,'” according to the Daily Mail.

CBS News reports the authorities were able to confirm Al-Jayab really was in Syria when he posted his claims on the Internet, because they were able to track the IP addresses he posted from.

If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison. According to CBS, his defense attorney claims he never planned any attacks in the United States and said he was “suffering by being held in isolation.”