A Bronx man was arrested at JFK airport Wednesday night while allegedly attempting to fly overseas to join ISIS, officials said Thursday.
Saddam Mohamad Raishani, a 30-year-old home health aid living in New York City, allegedly hoped to elude authorities by posing as a nurse, with the intention of meeting an ISIS member in Turkey and eventually joining the organization in Syria. He claimed to have already helped another man make the trip via JFK, according to acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim.
"Raishani allegedly acted on his own desire to wage violent jihad, planning to leave his family and life in New York City for the battlefields of the Middle East," Kim said in a statement. "Thanks to the excellent work of the FBI and NYPD, Raishani’s alleged plan to support this deadly terrorist organization was cut short at the airport and now he will face federal terrorism charges."
The complaint, filed in Manhattan federal court on Thursday, alleges that Raishani expressed his support for ISIS to a paid government informant on multiple occasions. That informant then introduced Raishani to an undercover detective, who claimed he too wanted to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS. Earlier this month, the two allegedly went shopping for clothing and supplies that Raishani thought they'd need for their training.
Raishani also allegedly told the detective that he was concerned about being monitored by federal authorities, but said that "if he was arrested he will not care, because Allah would know that he tried," according to the complaint.
He was charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization, and is currently detained pending further proceedings in Federal District Court in Manhattan.
Sarah Baumgartel, a federal attorney appointed to Raishani, declined to comment.
The attempt does not appear to be related to the arrest of Ali Kourani, a different Bronx man who was arrested earlier this month on charges of supporting ISIS. In March, a 26-year-old Long Island man was also arrested for allegedly attempting to join ISIS in Syria.
"As we have seen many times before, allegedly attempting to join a designated terrorist organization usually has one outcome: arrest," Police Commissioner James O'Neill said in a statement.