After the sentencing of a Virginia man for ISIS-related crimes Friday, a Department of Justice official gave a disturbing diagnosis of ISIS’ influence in the U.S, saying the terrorist group’s influence is “seeping into our communities.”
“ISIL continues to use social media to send their violent and hateful message around the world in an attempt to radicalize, recruit and incite youth and others to support their cause,” Assistant Attorney General Carlin said in a statement. “More and more, their propaganda is seeping into our communities and reaching those who are most vulnerable.”
The statement came with the announcement that Ali Shukri Amin, 17, of Virginia, was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison, after which he’ll have a lifetime of supervised release. Amin was using his twitter account to recruit Americans and others to support ISIS. He was also coaching people on things like how to use Bitcoin to funnel money ISIS leaders.
The FBI admitted in February that ISIS is in all 50 states, and law enforcement officials have arrested dozens of people trying to support and join the group.
ISIS supporters are known to have thousands of social media accounts persistently spewing propaganda. Some Americans, often young men, are influenced by these accounts and use them to communicate with fellow ISIS sympathizers.
Just on Thursday, an Arizona man was charged for helping a New York college student travel overseas to train with ISIS. The pair met through social media and communicated exclusively over the internet.
“Today’s sentencing demonstrates that those who use social media as a tool to provide support and resources to ISIL will be identified and prosecuted with no less vigilance than those who travel to take up arms with ISIL,” U.S. Attorney Dana Boente said in a statement. “The Department of Justice will continue to pursue those that travel to fight against the United States and our allies, as well as those individuals that recruit others on behalf of ISIL in the homeland.”