Cali Kid Gets 30 Years For Trying To Fund ISIS Trip With Pell Grants


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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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An Orange County, Calif. college student was sentenced to 30 years in prison for helping his friend’s attempt to join the Islamic State.

Muhanad Elfatih M.A. Badawi reportedly lent his debit card to friend Nader Salem Elhuzayel to purchase a plane ticket from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv by way of Istanbul. Elhuzayel’s plan was to get off the plane in Istanbul, connect with ISIS facilitators, and travel into Syria. Badawi used nearly $3,000 in Pell grant money to pay for the flight.

“Badawi was a radicalizer, recruiter and facilitator, and like co-defendant Elhuzayel, defendant Badawi aspired to die a martyr fighting jihad for ISIL,” prosecutors said before he received his sentence. Badawi’s co-conspirator Elhuzayel also reportedly received a 30-year sentence.

“The lengthy sentence imposed today results from the defendant’s acceptance of ISIL’s murderous ideology and his participation in a scheme designed to betray the United States,” U.S. Attorney General Eileen Decker said in a press release.

The criminal complaint against Badawi and Elhuzayel details their continuous support for ISIS online throughout 2014 and 2015. Badawi and Elhuzayel openly endorsed ISIS on Twitter, and joked about killing non-believers on their personal Facebook pages. Elhuazayel ran Twitter accounts with usernames like “@Glory4Allah,” “@VictoryforAllah,” “@Repent2Allah,” and “@MayAllahAccept.”

FBI reviews of Badawi and Elhuzayel’s phone calls detail repeated discussions of “how much of a blessing it would be to die for Allah.” The pair began deliberating which country they should travel to to join ISIS, saying Yemen was beautiful but decided Syria was preferable. Elhuzayel made no attempt to cover up his coming travel to Syria, even giving two weeks notice at his job and asking to be given owed backpay.

Badawi and Elhuzayel were both arrested at Los Angeles International Airport May 21, 2015. Elhuazayel immediately waived his Miranda rights, and confessed his intention to join ISIS.

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