Man charged with supporting Islamic State pleads guilty
AKRON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man accused of trying to recruit people to join the Islamic State group pleaded guilty Wednesday to a terrorism charge.
Amir Said Rahman Al-Ghazi, formerly Robert McCollum, pledged his support online to the Islamic State group, authorities said.
Al-Ghazi, 39, pleaded guilty in federal court in Akron to one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms.
A message was left with Al-Ghazi’s attorney.
Federal prosecutors say Al-Ghazi faces up to 16 years in prison. Sentencing was set for June 23.
Al-Ghazi legally changed his name from Robert McCollum last year, and agents found a sword and an Islamic State flag during a search of McCollum’s apartment in the Cleveland suburb of Sheffield Lake.
An affidavit alleged Al-Ghazi began using social media sites in July 2014 to pledge his support for the militant group and its leader and to recruit people to join the group.
He also made various references while chatting online with FBI sources that he wanted to stage terrorist attacks in the U.S., including the derailment of a train, according to the affidavit.
He initially told one FBI source that he wasn’t interested in becoming a martyr, but did say he’d be willing to cut off the head of his non-Muslim son if Muslims were to go to war in the U.S., the affidavit said.
Later, he told a source that he wanted to kill non-Muslims and wrote in an online chat, according to the affidavit: “You don’t fear death anymore its like walking thru a door for a martyr u know.”
From July 2014 to June 2015, Al-Ghazi made multiple statements trying to persuade others to join the Islamic State group, according to the government. Al-Ghazi also tried to buy an assault rifle in his desire to attack the United States and tried to create Islamic State propaganda videos, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
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