SUFFOLK, Va. — A Virginia man was charged on Wednesday with attempting to provide material support to the barbaric Islamic group ISIS.
According to an affidavit posted online by the U.S. Department of Justice, Lionel Nelson Williams, 26, of Suffolk had posted material favorable of ISIS to Facebook and ordered an AK-47 the day after the Dec. 2015 San Bernardino massacre.
“It’s time for me to take a stand. I stand with #Dawlah,” he wrote in March 2016, referring to the Islamic State.
In conducting an investigation, an undercover FBI agent friended Williams on Facebook and advised that the two might be able to meet up.
“I can’t wait for the day that the black flag of Islam exists all over Maryland, D.C., Virginia, and Chicago,” Williams allegedly told the agent.
A month later, another agent met with Williams, who advised that he supports attacks on “hard targets,” and that if he were to personally carry out an attack, it would be on someone who could fight back. The government believes this means police or military forces.
The agent met with Williams again in October, who posed as helping to connect Williams with a man who was collecting money for ISIS. He said that Williams could only give if he knew where the money was going. Williams allegedly replied that the funds were “going to the Islamic State. You understand this. And it’s going to kill people, do you understand?”
Williams also reportedly advised the agent that if he were to carry out an attack that resulted in his death, he wasn’t sure if it would be considered a “martyrdom operation” or suicide because he wondered whether his intentions were “pure.” He stated that a possible marriage arrangement might ensure his purity and thus his worthiness to be considered a martyr.
“In’shaa’AlIah it will be very soon. I’ve been preparing. I need to be married first,” Williams told the undercover agent, according to the affidavit. “After I marry and I acquire all my tools …. I’ll be going forth in’shaa’Allah, with or without.”
He was arrested last Wednesday after the FBI obtained a search warrant for his house. The AK-47 assault rifle that he had purchased following the San Bernardino attack was recovered after his arrest.
Williams faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted, and is among a number of American citizens who were arrested this year for expressing support for ISIS or plotting an ISIS-inspired attack. As previously reported, just last month, Mohamed Rafik Naji, 37, was arrested after expressing support for the notion to carry out an attack in Times Square, and Aaron Travis Daniels, 20, was arrested after planning to travel to Libya to join ISIS.
In October, Joshua Van Haften, 35, pled guilty to attempting to provide material support to ISIS, and Muhamad Elfatih Badawi, 25, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted in June of this year. Nelash Mohamed Das, 24, was also arrested after allegedly plotting to kill a U.S. military member for ISIS.
FBI Director James Comey remarked earlier this year that he believes ISIS sympathizers are present nationwide.
“We have investigations of people in various stages of radicalizing in all 50 states,” he told a meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). “This isn’t a New York phenomenon or a Washington phenomenon. This is all 50 states and in ways that are very hard to see…”
Comey explained that Islamic terror groups believe that they are carrying out their acts as part of the end times.
“ISIL in particular is putting out a siren song with their slick propaganda through social media that goes like this: ‘Troubled soul, come to the caliphate. You will live a life of glory. These are the apocalyptic end times. You will find a life of meaning here fighting for our so-called caliphate. And if you can’t come, kill somebody where you are,” he outlined. “That is a message that goes out to troubled souls everywhere.”