Prosecutors: ISIS Ebook Helped Inspire Aborted Attack on Pamela Geller
An Islamic State (ISIS) eBook, How to Survive in the West: A Mujahid’s Guide, may have contributed to a plot by two accused ISIS terrorists from Boston to behead free-speech advocate Pamela Geller, Federal prosecutors say. Boston police killed a third conspirator during a raid on June 2, 2015, before any of the men could carry out their attack against Geller.
David Dawoud Wright, Usaamah Abdullah Rahim, and Nicholas Rovinski answered ISIS’ call to commit terrorist acts in Western countries beginning in January 2015, a superseding indictment issued last Thursday said. The three were inspired by the terrorist organization’s online magazine Dabiq and also looked to How to Survive in the West for guidance in forming a sleeper cell after the book appeared in March 2015.
Wright wrote organizational documents for a “Martyrdom Operations Cell” in April 2015. He also researched firearms, tranquilizer guns, and law-enforcement capabilities. His search queries included: “What is the most flammable chemical;” “Which tranquilizer puts humans to sleep instantly;” and “How to start a secret militia in [the] US.”
Most of these topics are also found in How to Survive in the West.
Rahim communicated with several ISIS members abroad, including Junaid Hussain, also known as “Abu Hussain al-Britani.” Hussain was a British hacker who helped ISIS recruit jihadis and identify targets in the West prior to his death in a drone strike last August.
By May, the plotters wanted to behead Geller, who was organizing a draw Muhammad contest in Garland, Texas. Geller was targeted for murder in a May 6 ISIS fatwa. Hussain told Rahim to kill Geller because she had insulted Muhammad, and Rahim passed along Hussain’s instructions to Wright. He also told Rahim to carry a knife if the “feds” tried to arrest him.
The plot moved away from Geller and the group allegedly discussed attacking closer to home. Rahim was killed by police in June after intercepted conversations indicated he was about to attack police officers. Hussain hailed Rahim as a “martyr” on Twitter.
Independent of this plot, Geller was targeted by two other ISIS-inspired terrorists, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi. Both men were killed by a Garland, Texas, traffic police officer during a shootout.
“How to Survive in the West” also includes instructions to kill anyone who depicts Muhammad in a manner Muslims find blasphemous.
“Allah is asking us; why don’t you fight a people who broke their covenant of peace (with the Muslims) first, then reviled our religion (by promoting insulting pictures of Prophet Muhammad) and started (Arabic: bada’*) the attack against you first?” a passage from “How to Survive in the West” said.
Disturbingly, Rovinski continued to support ISIS from behind bars after he was arrested. Prosecutors say Rovinski reaffirmed his support for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in August. He also tried to recruit other prisoners to commit terrorist acts.