Man indicted for allegedly trying to establish 'Islamic State Center' in New Mexico
A federal grand jury has indicted a New Mexico man for attempting to provide material support to the terrorist organization ISIS and establish an “Islamic State Center” in his state.
The United States Department of Justice published a statement last week announcing that “a federal judge indicted Herman Leyvoune Wilson, aka Bilal Mu’Min Abdullah, 45, of Albuquerque, on Aug. 23.”
The indictment, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, details how between Jan. 23, 2020 and Nov. 20, 2021, the defendant “did knowingly attempt to provide material support and resources, as defined in Title 18, United States Code, Section 2239A(b), namely, personnel and services to a foreign terrorist organization, namely ISIS.”
The indictment noted that the U.S. State Department designated the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS, as a foreign terrorist organization in 2014 and that Wilson provided aid to the group “knowing that ISIS was a designated foreign terrorist organization.” His provision of support and resources to ISIS constituted one count of the indictment.
Additionally, the indictment states that Wilson “did corruptly attempt to obstruct, influence, and impede at least one official proceeding, by commanding and inducing the construction, and concealment of online records, documents, and other objects by shutting down an online platform containing such records, documents, and other objects with the intent to impair the objects’ integrity and availability for use in official proceedings.”
Wilson’s engagement in these actions led to the other count included in the indictment.
As the DOJ explained, this online platform worked to “promote ISIS ideology, recruit others to ISIS ideology and discuss terrorist attacks in the United States and overseas.”
The platform, which Wilson helped to administer from May 2019 to September 2020, also promoted his envisioned “Islamic State Center” in New Mexico that would “teach ISIS ideology, provide training in tactical maneuvers and martial arts, and serve as a safe haven for individuals preparing to travel and fight on behalf of ISIS in the United States and abroad.”
The DOJ indicated that Wilson’s efforts played a role in influencing two other individuals who pled guilty to providing material support to ISIS. Kristopher Matthews and Jaylin Molina were arrested in September 2020, later admitting that “Wilson radicalized them to ISIS ideology and that, without Wilson’s influence, they would have never committed the crimes.”
“When Matthews and Molina were arrested, Wilson allegedly instructed online platform members to destroy evidence of their use of the group,” the DOJ added. As outlined in a statement reporting on their sentencing, the men administered a chat group “collecting, generating, and disseminating pro-ISIS propaganda” in addition to distributing “firearms training materials and bomb-making instructions” to members.
Last month, Matthews was sentenced to 20 years in prison, while Molina was sentenced to 18. If convicted, Wilson faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on each count and, therefore, now faces up to 40 years behind bars. He will remain in custody ahead of an arrangement scheduled for Tuesday.
While ISIS has not received as much attention on the world stage after losing control of the territory in the Islamic caliphate it sought to establish, it continues to conduct terror attacks in Africa and the Middle East.
Just this year, an ISIS-affiliated group killed at least 40 civilians in a terror attack in the African country of Mali. In May, ISIS claimed responsibility for attacks in six villages in Mozambique that left eight people dead and resulted in the burning of several houses.
According to a report released late last year by Human Rights Watch, terrorists based in Mozambique with links to ISIS have enslaved more than 600 women and girls as sex slaves. Statistics provided by the United Nations found that the violence perpetrated by ISIS-affiliated terror groups in Mozambique has led to the displacement of more than 750,000 people.
ISIS remains on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom’s list of “nonstate actors that engage in particularly severe violations of religious freedom. USCIRF provides recommendations to the U.S. State Department regarding which countries to designate as countries of particular concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom.”
A United Nations report released in 2016, as ISIS controlled a large amount of territory in the Middle East, revealed that 18,800 people had lost their lives and more than 3.2 million people had become refugees due to the unrest in the region caused by the terrorist group’s rise. ISIS gained international notoriety two years earlier for videotaping the beheadings of Americans James Foley and Steven Sotloff.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: email@example.com