Last week federal prosecutors in Kansas City charged Isse Aweis Mohamud, suspected of jihadist activities by his own family, with passport fraud.
A naturalized American citizen, Mohamud, 21, applied for a passport in January at a Gladstone Post Office. On his application he claimed that he hoped to visit Canada. His attached travel itinerary had him going to Vancouver. Instead, he flew to Cairo, where Egyptian authorities detained him. He told the FBI he was there to meet “the strangers,” code for jihadist fellow travelers.
While he was gone, Mohamud’s family reported him missing. “They were concerned,” an FBI counterterrorism agent testified, “that he’d traveled to Iraq to fight with the fighters and to engage in terrorist activities.”
They had reason to be concerned. Young Mohamud had apparently cordoned off an area in their home where he conversed with people unknown and had wiped clean his computer history, cause for alarm in any home, Somali or otherwise.
Red flags abounded. “There is much more to this story than the complaint would indicate on its face,” Assistant U.S. Attorney David Raskin said Friday. “There are serious questions about what in God’s name this defendant was doing leaving his family without notice and his job without notice in the middle of the day and flying to Egypt.”
Among other reasons to be suspicious, a Kansas City man told the FBI that Mohamud was “the most radical Muslim he has ever met” and tried to convert him. A travel agent suggested to the the FBI agents that they consider revoking his passport so strangely was the aspiring jihadist behaving.