Qawi Abdul-Rahman, a prominent attorney in Philadelphia, told The Daily Beast's Noor Ibrahim that he was "shocked and devastated" to learn on Monday that his 17-year-old son was facing allegations that include arson, criminal conspiracy – weapons of mass destruction, and risking catastrophe, among others.
A press release from the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office described the teenager's alleged actions as "the most serious alleged terrorist activity prosecuted in Philadelphia County court in recent history."
“The work of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force potentially thwarted a catastrophic terrorist attack in the name of a perverted ideology that in no way, shape, or form represents the beliefs of the overwhelming majority of peace-seeking people of faith, including Muslims,” the statement said. “We intend to pursue full accountability for these crimes and will continue to work vigilantly with our law enforcement partners to protect all of our communities from hateful, ideologically driven acts of violence.”
Mr Abdul-Rahman said he was working when he received a call from his children informing him that the FBI was raiding their home.
He told the Daily Beast that neither he nor his wife were home during the raid, only the 17-year-old and his two siblings were present. The attorney rushed home, where he found a pair of armored FBI vehicles and members of the press outside his home.
The FBI eventually handcuffed and marched his son out of the house in nothing but his underwear.
Later disclosures from the district attorney’s office claim the teen had been in contact with Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad, a Syrian extremist group designated by the US government as a global terror organisation. The group was responsible for the bombing a metro station in St Petersburg in 2017. That attack killed 15 people.
The teenager reportedly made contact with the group through social media.
The DA’s office said the teen “received messages related to construction of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and to have purchased materials online such as chemical cleaners that are used to construct IEDs, as well as outdoor or tactical gear,” and further states that an agent observed him allegedly making purchases of some of the above components.