Two California men found guilty of joining ISIS

June 21, 2016  

A jury on Tuesday found two Southern California men guilty of attempting to join the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group, Fox News reports.

Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi, both 25, were convicted of conspiring to provide material support to ISIS. Elhuzayel also was found guilty of attempting to provide material support to ISIS, while Badawi was found guilty of aiding and abetting that attempt, according to the report.

Prosecutors alleged that Elhuzayel was attempting to join ISIS at the time of his arrest in May 2015. The Anaheim man was stopped at Los Angeles International Airport bearing a plane ticket to Israel with a stopover in Turkey.

Investigators also claimed that Badawi bought Elhuzayel’s ticket with a debit card tied to federal Pell Grant funds.

Among other evidence, prosecutors said investigators recorded a phone conversation between the two men in which they discussed how “it would be a blessing to fight for the cause of Allah, and to die on the battlefield.”

Authorities say the men discussed ISIS and terror attacks on social media and referred to the jihadist group as “we.”

Kate Corrigan, an attorney for Badawi, insisted that both men’s plans amounted to “a lot of talk.”

“I don’t think these guys went to a gym, let alone a shooting range or a gun store,” Corrigan told the Orange County Register. “And they talk about getting martyrdom? Give me a break. These two? They are no holy warriors.”

The case is the latest illustration of the phenomenon of radicalization which has plagued the United States and other Western countries.

Earlier this month, 22-year-old Nicholas Michael Teausant of California was sentenced to 12 years in prison for seeking to travel to Syria to join ISIS.

Teausant, a convert to Islam, had pleaded guilty in December to a charge of attempting to provide material support or resources to a terror group. He was arrested in March 2014 near the Canadian border, while en route to Syria to join the terror network.

He allegedly told the FBI under interrogation that he wanted to go to Syria in the hope of becoming famous and “being on every news station in the world.”

American authorities over the past year or so have arrested and charged several people of supporting ISIS. 

Faisal Mohammad, a California college student who stabbed four people late last year was reported to have been carrying an image of the black flag of ISIS as well as a handwritten manifesto with instructions to behead a student and multiple reminders to pray to Allah.

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