On Friday, the Justice Department announced the arrest of 25-year-old Harris Qamar of Burke, Virginia, on charges of “attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.”
Qamar was an extremely energetic online supporter of the Islamic State. He drew the attention of the FBI for operating “over 60 variations of the Twitter handle ‘newerajihadi,'” from which he shared “videos and photos of extreme violence, including beheadings and mass shootings.”
“For example, after terrorists murdered employees of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris in January 2015, Qamar tweeted his prayer for another similar attack with even more casualties,” said the Justice Department.
DOJ said Qamar “expressed his interest and excitement in the extreme violence ISIL is known for” during a number of conversations with an FBI confidential witness.
“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,” said the Justice Department. “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.”
He was also known for praying that Allah would “give strength to the mujahideen to slaughter every single US military officer.” When his father stopped him from joining ISIS in Syria in 2014, and threatened to call the police on him, Qamar called him a “traitor to Islam.”
The Washington Post reports that Qamar actually purchased a plane ticket to Turkey in 2014, but he could not complete his journey to the ISIS caliphate because his parents confiscated his passport.
The material support for ISIS that brought charges against Qamar was his offer to take photographs of possible terrorist targets in and around Washington D.C. According to the FBI affidavit, these materials would be used in an ISIS video encouraging “lone wolf” attacks against D.C. targets, including the Pentagon.
“Bye bye D.C., stupid-ass kufar, kill ’em all,” Qamar remarked to the FBI informant as they were driving around town, visiting landmarks on his terrorism list. He also spoke of feeling a “burning sensation” in his body because “this place is so disgusting.”
According to the DOJ press release, Qamar could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
“During a brief appearance in federal court Friday in Alexandria, Qamar spoke only to say that he could not afford his own attorney. Sporting a bushy beard, he wore red gym shorts and a faded black T-shirt that on the back read, ‘The next big thing is here,'” reported the Washington Post.
“Qamar’s parents told Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey they are deeply upset and disappointed their son wasted his education and turned to ISIS. They did not go to his hearing Friday, saying he is on his own,” added NBC News.