By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Dearborn native Ibraheem Musaibli pled not guilty to providing and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham as he stood in federal court July 27.
He remains detained following the detention hearing in U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Michigan.
On July 25 Musaibli, 28, was in court for his arraignment wearing a white jumpsuit, handcuffs and ankle chains.
His family members were present when the charges were read and no bond was issued.
His tie to Dearborn is from attending Edsel Ford High School where he dropped out to work at his father’s perfume store. Musaibli is married and has four children who all live in Yemen and Pennsylvania.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Michigan made the announcement on July 24, detailing Musaibli’s involvement with the designated foreign terrorist organization.
According to a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, Musaibli is a natural-born U.S. citizen who was detained overseas by Syrian Democratic Forces and transferred into U.S. custody earlier this month.
“The indictment alleges that from about April 2015 through June 2018, Musaibli knowingly provided and attempted to provide material support to ISIS, in the form of personnel and services, knowing that ISIS is a terrorist organization and that ISIS engages in terrorism,” the release read.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cathleen Corken and Kevin Mulcahy of the Eastern District of Michigan with assistance from the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
“The National Security Division will not tolerate threats to our country from terrorist organizations like ISIS — not least of all those that come from our own citizens,” Assistant Attorney General Demers said in the release. “Musaibli’s alleged provision of material support to ISIS put the United States at risk and may have endangered the lives of countless innocent people.
“I am confident that he will face justice for his crimes, and I hope that his case sends a clear message that we will hold our citizens accountable who are apprehended overseas and tried to join a terrorist organization such as ISIS. I am also grateful to our law enforcement and military partners who made this prosecution possible.”
Musaibli’s family told the Detroit News that he is not a terrorist and that the FBI failed to help free him from the Islamic State.
“My brother has never had any association with any terrorist organization, nor has he ever supported these extremists,” younger brother Abdullah Musaibli said to the Detroit News.
Abdallah Musailbi also said via Facebook Messenger that his brother traveled to Iraq and Yemen to help refugees and their families.
“While he was there helping out, some Muslim friends he trusted encouraged him to go to Syria,” he wrote. “My brother REFUSED, because he knew the situation in Syria is very chaotic.
“My brother REFUSED and they took his U.S passport and dragged him into the hell of war. When he refused to support them they imprisoned him, and he was left starving and fending for himself in an ISIS prison.
Abdallah Musailbi wrote that his brother attempt to escape.
“Somehow he gained access to a phone and internet by gaining their trust and he sent MULTIPLE messages to my parents to help him escape,” Abdallah Musailbi wrote. “My family then contacted the FBI and tried so hard to negotiate his release. The FBI Agents did NOTHING to help my brother, and he remained there for a couple years suffering and hoping one day to see his wife and children.”
According to the New York Times, another American, Samantha Elhassani from Indiana, whose husband, Moussa, was an Islamic State member and has also been detained.
On July 24, the U.S. Department of Justice announced she was charged with making false statements to the FBI.
Elhassani traveled to Syria with her husband and children, but when her husband was killed fighting for ISIS she took her four children with her to a refugee camp in 2017. The camp was guarded by the Syrian Democratic Forces and that is where Elhassani identified herself to local authorities.
The New York Times also reported that Elhassani’s 10-year-old son previously appeared in an ISIS propaganda video pledging to carrying out attacks against the West.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)