A 42-year-old Dallas man has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison following a conviction for multiple terrorism charges, announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers and U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
Following a three-and-a-half day trial, Said Azzam Mohamad Rahim, a 42-year-old United States citizen, was convicted in May of one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (FTO), one count of attempting to provide material support to an FTO, and six counts of making false statements involving international terrorism to federal authorities.
“Mr. Rahim embraced a warped ideology on social media, promoting violence against innocent people, including Americans,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox. “The Justice Department is committed to combatting terror at home and abroad.”
“Rahim spread the violent message of ISIS online,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers. “He also attempted to travel to support ISIS and then lied to FBI when questioned about his activities. This sentence is the consequence of his criminal activities and a clear message to others who would consider following in his footsteps: don’t.”
According to evidence presented at trial, Mr. Rahim moderated a social media channel dedicated to recruiting fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, a State Department designated terror group.
Mr. Rahim used Zello, a push-to-talk direct messaging application, to promote violence in ISIS’s name, prosecutors said.
Records showed he spent years on Zello’s “State of the Islamic Caliphate” channel, where he touted acts of terror under various monikers:
“Kill and do not consult anyone,” he said in July 2016. “Kill by any means, smash his head on the wall, spit in his face, burn -- I mean anything, anything – poison, anything.”
“Brothers! What are you waiting for?” he said a month later. “Mobilize and perform jihad for the cause of Allah…. Some of the brothers mobilized from this channel, they were amongst us.”
He even praised several terrorist attacks after the fact.
“I was happy for this act,” Rahim said after a truck barreled into a crowd of people in Nice, France, killing 86. “Those dogs.”
Mr. Rahim was arrested on March 5, 2017 at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, where he was attempting to board a flight to Amman, Jordan. Asked by agents if he had ever supported ISIS, advocated travel for the purposes of jihad, promoted violence on ISIS’s behalf, or encouraged anyone to kill infidels at the urging of ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnan, Mr. Rahim said “no.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office, the U.S. Department of State – Diplomatic Security Services, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Errin Martin and Trial Attorney Taryn Meeks of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section prosecuted the case. U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle presided over the trial.