The 23-year-old was arrested on Wednesday from his Round Rock residence in an Austin suburb. Khan, born in Chittagong, is a student at University of Texas at Austin. He became a US citizen in 2002. He is accused of conspiring with others to recruit people who would travel overseas to support terrorist activities including violent jihad, federal prosecutors said on Friday, reports Texas-based kwtx.com.
It said Khan was scheduled for a detention hearing Friday afternoon local time, but his hearing was reset for June 30. Khan, however, had pleaded not guilty. In the event of a guilty finding, he faces prison sentence of as much as 15 years and fine of up to $250,000.
On Thursday, citing court documents, Abcnews reported that Khan allegedly wanted to join Somalia-based al Qaeda-linked terror group al-Shabab. He reportedly said his brain ‘starts bleeding’ when he saw ‘weak Bengalis’ who had ‘no love for jihad’ and ‘no love to shed blood’.
He also said ‘he could not wait to spill blood and he was actively searching for recruits for [a conspirator] and he was the only person he knew of doing this’, investigators believe, kxan.com reported. Quoting the criminal complaint, the Austin American-Statesman had said the authorities alleged Khan referred to himself as a ‘jihadi’.
It said Khan had been working with others through an online chatroom between March 2011 and January 2012 to spot and recruit potential terrorists in the US. One of the men he tried to enlist in 2011 to ‘maim and murder people outside the United States’ was a confidential FBI source.
The kxan.com report said the charges accuse Khan of connecting the informant with co-conspirators who eventually discussed the secret source’s ‘passport and possible routes to move [the source] into Somalia to join al-Shabab’.
It cited documents which said the FBI source met with Khan in Austin, in an unrecorded meeting.
The complaint said the Bangladeshi-born youth ‘discussed guns, training, the war against Islam, his preparation for the Third World War, shooting and getting the youth interested in the knowledge of jihad — something that Khan stated had caused conflict with his parents because he had been snitched on by some kids’.
He had introduced the informant to an unidentified co-conspirator, possibly in Florida. The person, in turn, attempted to recruit the informant to Somalia to engage in jihad.
The co-conspirator then introduced the FBI source to another person, also likely in Florida, who discussed how Khan could get to Somalia to join al-Shabab.
Apart from Khan, another arrestee Michael Todd Wolfe, 23, also known as ‘Faruq’, was also indicted Friday for attempting to provide material support to terrorists, said the kwtx.com report. It said Wolfe also was scheduled for a detention hearing same time as Khan, but he waived it and will remain in custody. He pleaded not guilty too.
The man also faces the similar punishments as Khan if convicted. He was arrested on Tuesday at George HW Bush International Airport in Houston before boarding a flight to Toronto, Canada, with Europe his intended destination. He planned to travel to the Middle East in order ‘to provide his services to radical groups engaged in armed conflict, in Syria’, prosecutors said.
The indictments were the result of an investigation involving a number of federal, state and local agencies including US Army Intelligence and the Killeen Police Department, kwtx.com reported.
Bangladeshi-born American indicted on terror charges -