Fremont man accused of attempting to join terrorist group remains in custody

Byby Katie Utehs via KGO logo
Friday, December 18, 2015
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The father of a Fremont man accused of attempting to join a terrorist group in Syria alerted authorities that his son may be becoming radicalized.

FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- A federal grand jury in San Francisco returned an indictment Thursday, charging a Fremont man named Adam Shafi, 22, with attempting to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

According to the indictment, Shafi is accused of attempting to provide personnel to al-Nusrah Front also known as ANF, an organization designated by the Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity.

The indictment alleges that at the time Shafi provided the support, he knew ANF was a designated foreign terrorist organization and that the organization had engaged and was engaging in terrorist activity and terrorism.

The FBI arrested Shafi in July, so this is nothing new to his family who did not want to comment on the situation.

Officials said Shafi's father alerted authorities that his son may be becoming radicalized.

In 2014, Shafi's own father first notified the U.S. Embassy in Cairo when Shafi disappeared during a family vacation in Egypt.

"I'm literally shocked and I know all of these kids in the neighborhood and I think most of them if not all of them were born here," neighbor Rakesh Sharma said.

An affidavit filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation alleges Shafi was stopped at San Francisco International Airport on June 30, 2015 as he was about to board a non-stop flight to Istanbul, Turkey. Officials said Turkey is a common point of entry into Syria for foreign fighters hoping to join terrorist organizations such as ANF and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant also known as ISIL.

The affidavit details a number of telephone conversations Shafi had with his friends in the days and weeks leading up to his trip during which he expressed his love of "Jaulani," the amir of ANF, his willingness to "die with them," his hope that "Allah doesn't take (his) soul until (he has) at least, like, a couple gallons of blood that (he's) spilled for him," his fear of meeting Allah "when (his) face has no scars on it," and his progress in saving enough money for his trip.

The FBI's affidavit also revealed Shafi sent a text message to a relative that said he had gone to "protect Muslims."

Officials said at one point Shafi went to Istanbul, Turkey and then returned home to the Bay Area.

His father reported more concerning details. "Adam may have been following extreme imams online and that some of his high school friends were of the same mindset."

A fellow passenger even refused to board with him telling security: "Adam appeared nervous and his leg was shaking."

The trip thwarted not only by observant passengers, but by his own family whom neighbors describe as quiet. "We see them coming and going, but nothing else," one woman said.

Shafi was arrested on July 3, 2015 and is currently in custody.

A bail hearing is scheduled for Shafi on December 22, 2015 at 1:30 p.m.

Shafi faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if convicted.