On June 2, the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force shot and killed twenty-six year old Usaama Rahim in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston. Police say they have video of him approaching them with a “military style” knife and refusing to yield to police officers ordering him to drop the weapon. Although law enforcement officials did not officially release his name, his older brother Imam Ibrahim Rahim confirmed on Facebook and in an interview with the Council on American-Islamic Relations that his brother was killed. Ibrahim Rahim said that Usaama was waiting to go to work when he was shot in the back and killed at the bus stop while on the phone with his father. Law enforcement officials say he was shot from the front and was hit in the torso.
Usaama Rahim had been under surveillance of terrorism officials for eighteen months. When officials approached him on June 2, they did not have a warrant for his arrest and only wanted to interview him. He was the subject of a federal investigation of homegrown indoctrination of terrorist ideology and officials are looking into whether he became indoctrinated by the Islamic State through the internet and social media. An hour after he was shot, police were seen inside a three-story home belonging to David Wright in Everett, Massachusetts that was also under surveillance. Wright was taken into custody. The two men were planning on beheading a police officer, and were part of a larger investigation that involves several other people.
Usaama’s older brother, Ibrahim, is an Imam in California who previously taught at the Ella Collins Institute of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC). The ISBCC is sister mosque of the Islamic Society of Boston mosque, attended by the Tsarnaev brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon Bombing. The former head of ISBCC is Suhaib Webb, who FBI surveillance reports indicate once partnered with Al Qaeda ideologue Anwar Al-Awlaki in order to raise money for Jamil Abdullah Amin, a Georgia Imam and former Black Panther convicted of murdering a police officer.
The mosques are managed separately but owned by the same institution. Both mosques have ties to the Muslim American Society, which describes itself as an Islamic Revivalist movement, but which was described in court as the “overt arm” of the Muslim Brotherhood.The FBI documents also note that both Webb and Awlaki may have had ties to the Muslim American Society.
The mosque’s first president, Abdulrahman Alamoudi, a self-identified Muslim Brother and Al Qaeda financier, was sentenced in federal court in 2004 for his role in a Libyan plot to assassinate the then-crown prince and now late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Aafia Siddiqui was arrested in 2008 in Afghanistan with cyanide in her possession while planning to attack New York City; in prison, she tried to grab a rifle and shoot military officers and FBI agents. Tarek Mehanna was convicted of travelling to Yemen to receive terrorist training and plotting to use automatic weapons in a mall in Boston. Ahmad Abousamra, Mehanna’s co-conspirator, was wanted by the FBI and was hiding in Syria until he was allegedly killed in an Iraqi government airstrike on June 1. Jamal Badawi, who served on the mosque’s board of trustees, was cited as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism court case detailing the funneling of money to Hamas. Yousef al-Qarawadi, who also served on the board of trustees, is the Chief jurist of the Muslim Brotherhood, and head of the Union of the Good, an international consortium of charities known to finance Hamas.
Usaama Rahim is connected to the ISBCC through his older brother Ibrahim Rahim, and through his connection to the ISBCC, he is connected to a culture that breeds violence and terrorism. Although the exact reasoning as to why the Boston Joint Task Force was monitoring him has not been released by officials, he clearly had access to Islamist ideology. Officials have stated that no immediate, related threat to the public exists at this time, but this may not be an isolated incident. Rahim is not the only person connected to the ISB network who has become indoctrinated with a violent ideology, and he is likely not the last.