A Muslim man has been charged with six counts of making false statements to federal agents, according to an indictment returned by a grand jury in Dallas. The indictment was presented on Sunday in a federal court, according to John Parker, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas and Eric Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Office of the FBI.
Federal law officers allege that Said Azzam Mohamad Rahim made false statements to federal law enforcement officers on March 5, 2017, during a terrorism investigation. They allege that during an interview, Rahim made several false statements about his involvement with the Islamic State terrorist organization. In addition, he is alleged to have made prior false statements concerning terrorist activity.
The 40-year-old Rahim was arrested earlier this month, and is currently in custody and will face trial. However, a date for the trial has not been announced. He is facing a maximum statutory penalty of eight years in a federal prison for each count alleged in the indictment. He would also possibly face a period of supervised release and $250,000 in fines.
According to the criminal complaint against him, Rahim has family in Jordan.
It was earlier this month that agents intercepted Rahim inside DFW International Airport. When he passed through the security line and waited to board a flight to Jordan, Rahim agreed to answer officers’ questions. When he allegedly lied about his past statements about ISIS, he was arrested. It is alleged that in online chatrooms, he praised ISIS’ violence while encouraging others to join in violence against non-Muslims.
The FBI asserted that Rahim approved of last year's deadly terrorist incidents in Florida and France. Rahim is accused of saying in a chat room, “France will wake-up to a tragedy, a catastrophe (chuckle).. a great killing, implemented by… one of God’s lions.. against those infidel French.” Furthermore, he is alleged to favor the murder of non-Muslims in England. “Kill them and do not show them mercy or compassion. If you have the ability to go and kill, poison them, throw a rock, push down a building… the important thing is that you kill.”
Rahim is being kept in custody because he is considered a flight risk. His immigrant status was not released. Rahim's attorney, James Whalen, released a statement about his client: "In today's political climate, allegations such as those made against Mr. Rahim can cause people to jump to conclusions. However, it is critical to remember that, as a citizen of this country, Mr. Rahim enjoys many constitutional rights, one of which being the presumption of absolute innocence. We are still in the very early stages of this case, but look forward to defending Mr. Rahim, and protecting all of his constitutional rights to the very best of our ability."