Maryland man Mohamed Elshinawy has been arrested for allegedly receiving about $9,000 from ISIS. The arrest of the 30-year-old man has prompted even more concerns about an Islamic State terror attack on American soil. Elshinawy accepted a series of payments in relatively small amounts from spring through early summer, federal investigators maintain.
Mohamed Elshinawy faces multiple terrorism-related charges that carry a maximum prison sentence of 30 years. Although the Feds have not yet found evidence that the Edgewood, Maryland, man was plotting a specific ISIS attack, the investigation into the receipt of nearly $9,000 from the Islamic State is ongoing.
— Intl. Business Times (@IBTimes) December 14, 2015
Terrorism and national security remain at the forefront of the political debate among presidential hopefuls. The ISIS terror attacks in Paris are believed to have involved at least one militant posing as a Syrian refugee to get into the country. The San Bernardino terror attack involved an immigrant from Pakistan who entered American on a K-1 fiance visa despite making Islamist extremist comments in support of ISIS and jihad on social media.
Donald Trump’s controversial statements about temporarily banning all non-American Muslims from entering the United States until elected officials could get a firm grip on the vetting process and ISIS threats were predicted to sink his campaign. Instead, his poll numbers increased and solidified his position as the GOP frontrunner for at least a little while longer. The CNN Republican presidential debate this evening, the last such meeting of the candidates this year, will likely focus on the politicians’ foreign policy views as they relate to enhancing national security to stop ISIS terror attacks in the United States and the possible threats posed by refugees and immigrants who are allowed into the country under the current vetting system.
Mohamed Elshinawy received the money from ISIS supporters in Syria and Egypt via Western Union and PayPal transfers, according to an MSN reports. The payments from the Islamic State to the Maryland man were allegedly labeled as “operational purposes.”
— Slate (@Slate) December 15, 2015
A $1,000 payment linked to an ISIS supporter in Egypt was sent to Elshinawy in June, according to court documents. When the Maryland man was questioned by FBI agents about the money transfer in July, the terrorism suspect reportedly gave the investigators false information about the source of the funds. He ultimately admitted that the Egyptian sender was an Islamic State “operative,” according to prosecutors trying the case.
— ZeroCensorship (@ZeroCensorship) December 15, 2015
The Maryland man reportedly stated that he had dreams about ISIS almost every night. The indictment filed in the case also said Elshinawy told federal agents that he saw an opportunity to take money from “thieves” and felt the FBI should be rewarding him for what he had done, according to details about the arrest posted on the Department of Justice website.
“Mohamed Elshinawy received money he believed was provided by ISIL in order to conduct an attack on U.S. soil. When confronted by the FBI, he lied in order to conceal his support for ISIL and the steps he took to provide material support to the deadly foreign terrorist organization,” Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said.
Elshinawy’s Paypal records and the Western Union transactions allegedly revealed that he garnered a total of $8,700 from ISIS contacts in the Middle East. The accused reportedly told FBI agents that he attempted to disguise his scheme to extract money from ISIS as part of an eBay printer-selling business. The Maryland man claims that he never intended to move forward with any terror attacks plans. He further maintains that he was only trying to pull one over on the Islamic State supporters and get money to use for other needs.
Court records also indicate that the Maryland man who received about $9,000 from ISIS pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State earlier this year and then asked a childhood pal to pass on his loyalty vow to Islamic State leaders.
Mohamed Elshinawy has been assigned a federal public defender to represent him on the multiple terrorism-related charges levied against him. Joseph Balter, the assigned attorney, told the media that the case is still in its early stages, and he hopes that the American public will “withhold judgment” on his client until the “process is allowed to play out.”
According to court records, Elshinawy allegedly pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State in February and had asked his contact in Egypt — a childhood friend — to deliver his message of loyalty to the terror group.
“Elshinawy also stated that his soul was over there with the jihadists and that every time he saw the news (of ISIL’s activities), he smiled,” according to court documents.
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