Creeping Sharia — 12/21/2013
MOBILE, Alabama – Citing a lack of remorse and a failure to renounce their intentions to commit violent jihad abroad, a federal judge Friday sentenced a pair of silent men to the maximum punishment for a plot hatched in Alabama.
Randy “Rasheed” Wilson and Mohammad Abdul Rahman Abukhdair, both 26, will spend 15 years in prison for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and then will be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for three years.
U.S. District Judge Kristi DuBose said she read hundreds of pages of recorded conversations and intercepted emails from the defendants and searched for evidence that they were “just talking a big game.” And, she added that she had reserved judgment, hoping they would renounce their intentions.
“Unfortunately, there is no other reasonable conclusion that (their conversations) were for the primary purpose of committing violent jihad,” she said. “I don’t have to speculate about that.”
At one point, prosecutors had asked for two days for the sentencing hearing. In the end, the lawyers did most of their arguing through written submissions to the court, and the hearing was over in less than half an hour.
Each defendant rose individually to hear his sentence. Neither said a word or expressed any emotion. Wilson, sporting a longer beard than the one he had when authorities arrested him at the Atlanta airport last year, gave a slight smirk toward his family as federal marshals led him out of the courtroom. His relatives declined to comment after the hearing.
According to prosecutors, Abukhdair moved from his home in Syracuse, N.Y., to Egypt and struck up an online friendship with Wilson in 2010 centered on their extremist views of Islam. Wilson, a convert to the religion, is from Mobile and spent time in Birmingham as a child before returning home. He converted after his mother married a Muslim. He, himself, is married to a convert and has two young children.
Abukhdair moved to Mobile after Egyptian authorities arrested and deported him. The two spent months discussing the best country to move to in order to defend Islam, according to court records. They then tried to board a plane for Africa.
The FBI began monitoring them in 2011, using a pair of undercover agents posing as a married Muslim couple who had just moved to Mobile. The male agent approached Wilson at the car lot where he was working at the time. A “confidential human source” – someone who knew Wilson from the Mobile area – also fed information to investigators.
Abukhdair was born in Syracuse on Oct. 3, 1987. Court documents do not say how long he lived in the area, but in 2007 he moved from the U.S. to Cairo, Egypt.
According to court documents, Abukhdair said that the purpose of Islam is to conquer the world with violent means. He suggested that he and Wilson could form “AQUSA” – al-Qaeda in the USA. He proposed seizing hostages in the U.S. and demanding the release of convicted terrorists.
Abukhdair and Wilson eventually decided to fight for Islam in Africa instead, and planned traveling to Mali, where they expected violence to break out. Abukhdair was arrested at an Atlanta bus stop on Dec. 11, 2012, as he prepared to fly to Morocco via Canada.