A man who helped the Islamic State recruit and plan a terrorist attack against the United States was charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorists.
Authorities said 22-year-old Abdul Aziz Sariq was arrested at a motel in Texas last week and charged with being a member of an international terrorist organization.
The charges stem from Sarij’s involvement in an online forum for the Islamic group that advertised its plans for an attack in the U.S.
Sarnell Mabrey/AP”It was the biggest step forward,” Texas state Rep. John Fleming, a Democrat who represents the Houston area, told the Houston Chronicle.
“He helped them find their message.”
A Texas grand jury declined to indict Sariquis, but said his online presence constituted an attempt to support an attack on the United State.
Sariqs online presence was “clearly an attempt by someone with extremist views to spread hate, encourage violence, and inspire acts of violence,” the indictment said.
“I feel that he’s just a tool of ISIS,” Sariqa said of his alleged role in the forum.
“They just use him for recruitment and the recruiting.”
The indictment does not name Sariqi.
But Sariql’s father told ABC News the teen was the one who introduced him to the online forum.
“It’s like I gave him the keys to the kingdom,” Aziz Qazi, a Saudi citizen who has been in the United Kingdom since 2014, told ABC affiliate KHOU.
“My son is a very nice, gentle, gentle guy, but he’s not that kind of guy.
I’m not even sure that I would have done this without him.”
Sariq told KHOU that he was “very shocked” by the indictment.
“It’s a little crazy, but at the same time, it’s what I feel, I just feel like I was betrayed by my family, by my friends, by God.
They just told me I’m going to hell.”
In a statement, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said, “The department is aware of the ongoing investigation and will provide any further information to the courts.”
The Department of Justice said the case has been “shelved.”
The spokesman did not say whether a grand jury would consider the case in the future.
Sariqi was arrested in Houston in April and was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning.