Oregon man charged with conspiring to aid Islamic State

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon man was indicted Thursday after authorities said he supported the Islamic State group by distributing articles on how to kill and maim with a knife and encouraging readers to carry out attacks.

Hawazen Sameer Mothafar, 31, appeared in federal court in Portland on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization and providing such support, U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams and FBI Special Agent in Charge Renn Cannon said.

“The threat of ISIS-inspired terrorism remains very real thanks, in part, to an army of online supporters who produce propaganda that aims to incite ‘lone actor’ operators in the U.S. and around the world,” Cannon said.

Mothafar, who has physical disabilities and uses a wheelchair, was released on condition that he limit travel and the use of electronic devices.

The federal public defender appointed to represent him did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. Mothafar lives in a Portland suburb.

The indictment by a federal grand jury alleges that between February 2015 until the time of his arrest Thursday, Mothafar conspired with Islamic State group members to provide support, including creating and editing publications and articles.

He also is accused of providing technical support to members of the group overseas on opening social media and email accounts.

In December 2019, according to the indictment, Mothafar attempted to acquire information on the piloting of a drone for Saleck Ould Cheikh Mohamedou, an Islamic extremist who was convicted of attempting to assassinate then President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania. Mohamedou is currently incarcerated in the African nation.

Mothafar is accused of providing assistance to Al Dura’a al Sunni, or Sunni Shield, a pro-Islamic State internet-based media organization that published Al-Anja! newspaper, including by moderating private chat rooms.

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