While Americans are still grieving over the ISIS-inspired attack in Orlando, the FBI last week arrested another possible homegrown terrorist wannabe in the Midwestern town of Brownsburg, Indiana.
Neighbors of Akram Musleh, an 18-year-old American-born Muslim and local high school student, were shocked to learn that little Akram apparently wasn’t your average American high schooler. Most teenagers would be planning for college, playing soccer or football, or texting friends. Akram instead was arrested by the FBI on Tuesday at an Indianapolis Greyhound station where he planned to travel to New York, then catch a direct flight to Morocco.
WTHR.com news reported on Tuesday that Akram had been on the FBI radar screen since 2013.
Indystar says, Musleh had been on the FBI’s radar for years, the criminal complaint indicates. Agents spoke with him in 2013 while he was in high school after he posted videos online of terrorist leaders. The teen replied that he was simply trying to understand Islam’s history. Brownsburg police in 2015 were called to a park after people there told police Musleh was asking young people to join the Islamic State.
He snapped photos of himself in front of a flag associated with the Islamic State group, the complaint says. Musleh started communicating with suspected members of the Islamic State, expressing his desire to travel overseas and making a number of travel plans that were thwarted, the complaint says.
In 2015, Musleh allegedly told U.S. Customs and Border Protection he was going to Istanbul to visit family. Then he explained he was traveling to get married, and would be meeting his fiancée and her family there. But the FBI says Musleh doesn’t have family or friends in Turkey – and they say that the alleged fiancée is an ISIL sympathizer living in Sweden.
Musleh was not allowed to travel to Turkey in June 2015 because his passport was set to expire that August. Turkey requires a minimum of six months of validity on passports for visitors.
Investigators say Musleh bought a one-way ticket on April 4, 2016 for June 23, 2016, from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to Casablanca, Morocco, and then on to Nador, Morocco. On April 21, 2016, he bought a one-way Greyhound bus ticket from Indianapolis to New York, to depart on June 21, 2016.
He is now considered a flight risk and a danger to his community and will remain in custody while his case his pending.
But do you notice the one fact missing from this story? Remember, this kid was only 15 when he first got on the FBI’s radar screen. Where are his parents? Who are they? Nowhere is this information reported.
While researching this post it took me half a day to uncover that Akram was indeed an American citizen born here in the USA. What we still don’t know is where his parents are from. Were they born here? Were they refugees? The FBI field office in Indianapolis refused to release that information.
The Indiana Attorney General’s office also would not answer the question and referred me to Kara Brooks, the press spokesperson for the AG’s office, who has yet to return my calls. The newsroom at WTHR.com is also looking for an answer. The information is conspicuously missing from the charging documents — see the document for yourself.
Now MAYBE no one thought it was important to know. On the other hand, has an official at the FBI or the DOJ decided we don’t need to know? Only a few short days ago, Loretta Lynch decided to simply redact a terrorist’s pledge to ISIS from a transcript of the Orlando killer’s 911 rant on the phone.
Is it possible law enforcement officials don’t want to us to realize the extent of the problem here in America? It’s too late. We already know.
But thank goodness this would-be terrorist was arrested. One down…how many to go?
[Note: This article was written by Ashely Edwardson]