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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Muslim US citizen accused of aiding ISIS

Mohammed Chhipa allegedly aided ISIS with funds, including Bitcoin, to smuggle female members from detention camps.

The story of Mohammed Chhipa, a US citizen of Indian origin, has recently made headlines across various news platforms. Chhipa was arrested on charges of providing material support to a terrorist group, with prosecutors revealing that he was in a relationship with an American woman dubbed the “empress of ISIS.” The woman in question is Allison Fluke-Ekren, a US citizen who is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for organising and leading the Khatiba Nusaybah, a battalion in which girls and women learned how to use automatic weapons, as well as detonating grenades and suicide belts.

Chhipa’s Alleged Actions

According to reports, between November 2019 and July 2022, Chhipa transferred nearly $188,000 to various accounts. Nearly $18,000 was traced to the Islamic State (IS) group, with the alleged goal of helping to smuggle female IS members from detention camps. At least $61,000 went to cryptocurrency wallets in Turkey, with money intended for Syria often routed through Turkey. Chhipa allegedly wanted the money to be used to bribe guards at detention camps where the families of IS members are being held. Text messages allegedly sent by Chhipa were quoted in the court affidavit, indicating his intention to do so. Chhipa also allegedly met with an FBI agent or confidential source and accepted cash from the person. He then allegedly turned the money into Bitcoin and sent it to an IS member. The family of Chhipa, however, has a different story to tell. They claim that he was an activist looking to help women and children.

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The Role of Allison Fluke-Ekren

According to prosecutors, Chhipa was in a relationship with Allison Fluke-Ekren, and he apparently considered himself married to her. However, their marriage has no legal status in the US as it was allegedly conducted online. Fluke-Ekren is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for her role in organising and leading the Khatiba Nusaybah. A detention memo stated that Fluke-Ekren trained children, including her own five or six-year-old child, how to use assault rifles in Syria. Fluke-Ekren has pleaded guilty to her charges and is currently serving her sentence in prison.

Abdullah el-Faisal’s Conviction

The case of Mohammed Chhipa and Allison Fluke-Ekren is not the only one of its kind in recent times. Earlier this year, Muslim cleric Abdullah el-Faisal was convicted in a US court on state terrorism charges after being extradited to New York City following an undercover police operation. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office said it was the first-ever state-level trial on terrorism charges. New York’s laws on terrorism were passed a week after the 9/11 attacks. Prosecutors said Faisal, whom they described as highly influential, had supported IS for several years, encouraging violent acts in online lectures and calling for the creation of an Islamic caliphate. Faisal began messaging the officer, who claimed to be an aspiring militant with medical training, on WhatsApp.

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The case of Mohammed Chhipa and Allison Fluke-Ekren sheds light on the continuing threat of terrorism and the dangerous allure of extremist ideologies. It also highlights the ongoing efforts of law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute individuals who support or engage in terrorist activities. The recent convictions of individuals such as Chhipa and Fluke-Ekren, as well as Abdullah el-Faisal, demonstrate the importance of remaining vigilant in the fight against terrorism. But it still begs the question, was this a wrongful arrest simply because of religion?