Mississippi Jihadists Arrested, Tied to Muslim Brotherhood

Earlier this week, the media reported on the arrest of Jaelyn Delshaun Young, 20, and Muhammad Oda Dakhlalla, 22, a couple who was arrested by the FBI attempting to travel to Syria in support of the Islamic State. Media reports note that Dakhlalla’s father Oda Dakhlalla is the Imam of the Islamic Center of Mississippi, in Starksville. The Islamic Center of Mississippi (ICM) is connected to the Muslim Students Association (MSA) of Mississippi State University (MSU); the same university which Dakhlalla and Young attended. Funds for the building of the mosque were provided by the Islamic Society of North America, a Muslim Brotherhood group listed as an “unindicted co-conspirator or joint ventrurer” in the Holy Land Foundation terror finance trial. The Federal judge in the case, Jorge Solis, wrote in his memorandum opinion that the government provided “ample evidence” for associating ISNA with the terrorist group Hamas.

ICM was established in 1977, and their property resides just off the MSU campus. Interestingly, it appears that the MSA at MSU may be run by another of Dakhlalla’s relatives. The MSU MSA’s website lists its Secretary as Abdullah Dakhlalla, who appears to be the arrested suspect’s brother, and a Janna Watson Dakhlalla, the MSA President, who appears to be Abdullah’s wife, and thus Mohammed Dakhlalla’s sister-in-law.

The Muslim Students Association is the oldest organization of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States. The establishment of ICM took place in absolutely textbook Muslim Brotherhood fashion, as described in an audiotape lecture by the General Masul of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Executive Office Zaid Noman, which was submitted into evidence in the Holy Land Foundation case. Noman said:

The first change was moving the Ikhwans (Muslim Brothers) from working at the branches of the MSA and the [Arab Youth Muslim] Association as branches whose activities are based on universities where they go a university to hold their activity, to what is called at that time “The Muslim House”. The Muslim House was based on them purchasing a house near the university with Ikhwans living in a part of it and the rest of it becomes a mosque and it would also be a nucleus for the activity. This was the first move the Ikhwans did. After that, the other move came where this Muslim House was not a goal by itself or it was no longer able to satisfy work as they started to move to somewhere else which are the Islamic centers. We notice that during the past two or three years that many of the students’ gathering started to establish Islamic centers. This was also another healthy move for settling the Dawa’a as the presence of an Islamic center means the presence of residents, means the existence of contacts between students and the residents, means recruitment of the residents and winning them to the ranks of the dawa’a, means forming permanent foundations in these cities.

Later in the same lecture Noman discusses how the Muslim Brothers should engage in firearms training, and obliquely references the Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement in “military work.”

Additionally the role of MSAs in the indoctrination of individuals to engage in jihad has already been noted by law enforcement. The NYPD intelligence report “Radicalization in the West” described MSAs as potential “incubators” for terrorism:

Among the social networks of the local university population, there appears to be a growing trend of Salafi-based radicalization that has permeated some Muslim student associations (MSA’s). Extremists have used these university-based organizations as forums for the development and recruitment of likeminded individuals – providing a receptive platform for younger, American-born imams, to present a radical message in a way that resonates with the students.

Connections to Muslim Brotherhood-linked mosques were also been identified in the Chattanooga Shooting. In that incident, the shooter was closely associated with the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga (ISGC), whose deed is held by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). NAIT is a subsidiary of ISNA, the same organization which helped fund the Starksville, MI, mosque.

NAIT also holds the deed to the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix (ICCP), attended by the perpetrators of the the Garland, Texas attack. In the Garland case, the FBI has indicted Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem (AKA Decarus Thomas), who was also an ICCP attendee, for procuring and helping train the Garland shooters with firearms. In the Chattanooga case, investigators are looking into reports that the shooter conducted firearms training with other Muslim men, before committing the attack.

Establishing “Islamic Centers,” indoctrinating youth, training for jihad. Exactly as described in the Brotherhood’s own words.

Yet despite this growing pattern, media outlets are already preparing to “see no evil” when it comes to the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in indoctrinating young Muslims to engage in jihad. The Clarion-Ledger’s editorial warned “Terror Suspect Arrests Invite Ignorant Views,” which not only doubled down on the connection between ICM and the Muslim Students of MSU (the editorial describes Imam Dakhalla working closely  with the MSU’s Muslim Students Association), but preemptively accuses those who would raise the issue of bigotry even before anyone has publicly made the connection between the recently arrested Islamic State suspects and ICM and the Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations.

The identification of such patterns based on evidence used to be called investigation.

Director James Comey has already expressed that the FBI is being overwhelmed by literally hundreds of cases of potential jihadists in the United States, and they will continue to be overwhelmed if they continue to only seek to interdict jihadists before they travel to Syria or conduct an attack, instead of targeting the underlying network of indoctrination, established by the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1960s and ’70s and which has been developing and expanding to the present day.

About Kyle Shideler

Kyle Shideler is the Director of the Threat Information Office (TIO) at the Center for Security Policy. Kyle works to inject serious research and analysis on the subject of Islamic terrorism and Shariah law into the beltway policy discussion, by challenging false assumptions and providing fully documented resources, primary research and influential talking points to policymakers, journalists, and foreign relations professionals. Kyle has previously served as a Director of Research and Communications, Senior Researcher, and Public Information Officer for several organizations in the field of Middle East and terrorism policy since 2006. He is a contributing author to “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network: America and the West’s Fatal Embrace,” and has written for numerous publications as well as briefed legislative aides, intelligence and law enforcement officials, and the general public on the threat posed by Islamist influence and penetration operations.