Who Is Ali Shukri Amin? Virginia ISIS Teenager Behind Pro-Islamic State …

31 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A Northern Virginia teenager was sentenced Friday to more than 11 years in prison for helping another teen travel to Syria to join Islamic State militants and for providing other aid to the group..

The Division of Justice is in search of a 15-year sentence for a Virginia teenager who admitted to utilizing social media to boost cash and help for the Islamic State. Ali Shukri Amin, 17, from the small town of Manassas an hour’s drive from Washington DC, will be subject to a lifetime of supervised release and monitoring of his Internet activities. Hilton said during sentencing in federal court in Alexandria that he considered 17-year-old Ali Shukri Amin’s age and lack of a criminal record in deciding the sentence. Amin ran the @Amreekiwitness Twitter account, which published pro-ISIS messages to a relatively small following, as well as directing followers how to make Bitcoin donations to the group. He is thought to be the first minor convicted in the United States of providing material aid to the extremist group, which has declared a caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

The FBI admitted in February that ISIS is in all 50 states, and law enforcement officials have arrested dozens of people trying to support and join the group. He also talked in court about his Muslim faith, saying his ‘‘spiritual journey has only just begun.’’ He said in court and in his letter that in his early teens, when he was seeking to deepen his faith and make sense of what he was reading about in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, he turned to the ‘‘adults in my life,’’ including imams, but they ‘‘could not provide adequate answers’’ or seemed too ‘‘busy to try.’’ He said he got answers through contact with others on the Internet who urged him to ‘‘advocate violent jihad.’’ Though juveniles rarely face charges in the federal system, Amin pleaded guilty in June to conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.

He also offered guidance to sympathisers seeking to travel to Syria to fight with IS, including another Virginia teen, Reza Niknejad, who traveled to Syria to join IS in January. ISIS has been more active on social media than previous extremist groups, with a recent Brookings Institute study cataloging no less than 46,000 affiliated Twitter accounts. Amin drove with Niknejad to the airport and offered him with directions on the place to go as soon as he arrived in Turkey in an effort to meet different Islamic State supporters touring to Syria. The State Department has made its own efforts at a counter-extremist Twitter presence, directly engaging with many radical accounts. “Today marks a personal tragedy for the Amin family and the community as we have lost yet another young person to the allure of extremist ideology focused on hatred,” said Justice Department official Andrew McCabe in a statement. “Amin’s case serves as a reminder of how persistent and pervasive online radicalization has become.

Federal prosecutors allege that Amin’s efforts to help ISIL have had an impression on nationwide safety and argue that he ought to obtain the utmost sentence – 15 years – based mostly on the “hurt that the defendant has brought on to this group, the scope of his conduct, and the hazard he’ll proceed to pose to society.” Amin has been within the Northern Neck Regional jail since March. Assistant attorney general John Carlin said “more and more” IS propaganda is seeping into American communities “reaching those who are most vulnerable. “The Department of Justice will continue to use all tools to disrupt the threats that ISIL poses,” he said, using an alternative acronym for the group. The pair met through social media and communicated exclusively over the internet. “Today’s sentencing demonstrates that those who use social media as a tool to provide support and resources to ISIL will be identified and prosecuted with no less vigilance than those who travel to take up arms with ISIL,” U.S. The protection submitted over 160 pages of letters on his behalf, together with letters from his mom, step-father, organic father, former academics and members of his mosque.

Amin’s lawyer, Joseph Flood, had described his client as a stellar student from a good family who was outraged by rights abuses under Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. Amin additionally wrote a letter to the decide trying to elucidate how he acquired caught up in jihad. “I turned misplaced and caught up in one thing that takes the best and most profound teachings of Islam and turns them into justifications for violence and dying,” he wrote. In Florida, a 27-year-old Kenyan was sentenced to 15 years for conspiring to support Al-Qaeda, and its affiliates in Syria and Somalia, Al-Nusra Front and the Shebab, prosecutors said Friday. Amin says that when he turned concerned with selling jihad on-line, he developed relationships that turned necessary to him. “These ‘associates’ handled me with respect and infrequently reverence.

For the primary time I used to be not solely being taken critically about an important and weighty subjects, however was truly being requested for steerage.” He additionally advised the decide that he has since denounced ISIS. After the hearing, Flood said he was heartened that the judge had imposed a sentence that was less than the 15 years recommended by prosecutors and federal guidelines.

She particulars how she turned an over protecting mom and was joyful when her son needed to review his Islamic state. “I by no means thought letting him have entry to the web by himself would put him on the danger of discovering the mistaken details about Islam and assembly the flawed individuals,” she writes. Though he has not seen Amin since he was 4 years previous, he wrote that he plans to return to the U.S. to attend the sentencing on Friday as the 2 have reconnected since Amin was arrested.

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