On December 29, U.S. authorities revealed the arrest of a New Jersey man, Karrem Nasr (23), also known as “Ghareeb Al-Muhajir,” who was en route to join the Somalia-based Islamist terror group al-Shabaab. Nasr, inspired by Hamas’s October 7 terror attack in Israel, was taken into custody in Nairobi, Kenya, on December 14, 2023.
Nasr, a U.S. citizen, was transported back to the United States on December 28, and charges were filed against him on December 29. Manhattan federal prosecutors have charged him with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organisation, a charge that could lead to a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Nasr expressed his dedication to “waging violent jihad against America” and offered to write for any terror group he joined. He also expressed a desire to train in shooting with such groups.
Nasr’s communication with an FBI confidential source revealed his animosity towards the United States, which he referred to as the “head of the snake” and the “evil America.” Nasr expressed his changed perspective after the Hamas attack on October 7, stating, “I felt that pride and dignity came back to the Muslims.”
The U.S. authorities detailed Nasr’s intention to join and train with al-Shabaab, a U.S.-designated terror organisation, to execute his mission of death and destruction. Nasr was prepared to kill and be killed in support of the jihadist cause.
FBI Special Agent Bilal Morgan submitted that Nasr had become particularly motivated to become a jihadi after the large-scale assault carried out by Hamas terrorists on Southern Israel on October 7. Nasr’s intent to join al-Shabaab was accompanied by online posts expressing support for jihad and terrorist ideology.
FBI Special Agent Bilal Morgan stated in court documents that Nasr moved to Egypt in July to study Arabic. Nasr’s motivation to become a jihadi intensified after the Hamas attack on Southern Israel on October 7, resulting in over 1200 casualties, the kidnapping of around 250 individuals, sexual assault, and brutal murders, prompting ongoing retaliation from Israel, including aerial bombardment and extensive ground operations.
Morgan wrote, “In recent public social media posts, Nasr warned that ‘Jihad’ was ‘coming soon to a US location near you.”
“Nasr expressed his intent to join al Shabaab [sic] to receive military training and engage in jihad; that he was prepared to kill and be killed; and that he specifically aspired to be a martyr for the jihadi cause.”
US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams condemned Nasr’s actions, emphasising that Nasr had traveled from Egypt to Kenya with the intent to join and train with al-Shabaab, but law enforcement efforts disrupted his plans.
Nasr had initially planned to meet members of al-Shabaab in Kenya in January but expedited his plans when he learned that his mother was visiting from the U.S. in mid-December and wanted to take him back for education and work.
According to court documents, Nasr informed the source, “I do not know if you follow the news in the West, but there are a lot of people now in America, not Muslims, just reading the letter from Sheikh [Osama] bin Laden, and there are a lot of people who, because of this letter, have completely changed their opinion on him and finally understand how evil America is.”
Morgan added that Nasr offered to “write for any group that he joined” due to his writing skills and translation abilities. Additionally, Nasr expressed a desire to “train to ‘shoot’ with any [terror] group he joined.”
Originally planning to meet jihadists in Kenya later in January, Nasr accelerated his plans to join al-Shabaab upon learning that his mother, visiting from the U.S. in mid-December, intended to take him “back to America to continue my education and work.”