Elvin Williams was arrested at the airport while checking in for a flight to Cairo.
A 20-year-old Seattle man has been charged with terrorism after being arrested while trying to fly to Egypt to join the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Tuesday.
Elvin Hunter Bgorn Williams was arrested Friday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport while checking in for a flight to Cairo, the Egyptian capital, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Seattle District Court.
The lawsuit says that parishioners at the mosque that Williams attended in an attempt to prevent the young man from becoming radicalized told the FBI that he was an extremist.
On Tuesday, Williams appeared in court for the first time via video link. He was charged with providing material assistance to a terrorist organization.
The lawsuit also states that Williams decided to become a terrorist on his own initiative, and first attracted the attention of FBI agents at the age of 16, when the administration of the school where he studied, reported on Williams ‘ desire to join the ranks of IS, as well as that he supported the organizers of the terrorist attack at a concert of singer Ariana Grande in England.
After that, the suspect’s mother told the FBI that her son was banned from social media because of his publications in support of the IS. She also turned off the home Internet to restrict her son’s access to extremist websites, the lawsuit says.
In November 2020, a parishioner at the mosque, who is not named in the documents, contacted the FBI to share his concerns about Williams. The mosque provided charitable assistance to the young man, trying to protect him from radical ideas. The religious community paid for his living expenses, meals, and college tuition.
The lawsuit also states that the mosque’s parishioners gave him a mobile phone and a laptop in the hope that it would help Williams find a job, but made it clear to him that if he continued to support ISIS, he would be denied assistance.
One of the parishioners noticed that Williams was watching ISIS propaganda videos on his phone and participating in extremist online chats. He demanded to return the phone, and the materials found in it alarmed the parishioners, who found videos depicting scenes of violence and instructions for making bombs.
The FBI launched an investigation with the help of informants who posed as Islamists and ISIS recruiters. In correspondence with them, Williams expressed his willingness to become a shahid, stated his desire to behead people, and worried about his possible arrest at the airport.
The defendant spent most of this year working and saving money for travel expenses. He received his passport on May 6. “The defendant persistently tried to join ISIS, enthusiastically recounting acts of horrific bloodshed in the Middle East and here in his homeland,” said Tessa Gorman, Acting Attorney General of Washington State. ” I want to thank the citizens who contacted law enforcement, including his family and religious community, and expressed concern about the defendant’s radicalization.”