In 2015, ISIS declared war on conservative author Pamela Geller in an ominous message that singled her out as a target for her criticism of Islam.
The threat came following the terrorist attack on a Prophet Mohammed drawing contest, which she helped organize in Garland, Texas. An FBI informant is now testifying against a Massachusetts man named David Wright, who is accused of plotting to behead Geller.
At the time, the terrorist group stated that it had fighters across the United States capable of attacking “any target we desire.” The threat, which was posted on the anonymous message board JustPasteIt, singled out Geller for planning the contest that was attacked by two gunmen.
ISIS later claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack, which injured a security guard. Two of the terrorists, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, were killed in a police shootout outside the contest. No one else was injured.
Testifying in Boston federal court on September 27, the informant who goes by the alias of Yusuf Ali, said that he and David Wright communicated online for about 18 months. According to a Fox News report, Ali said that Wright became more radicalized over time.
Prosecutors say the 28-year-old Wright was the ringleader of a trio who planned to behead Pamela Geller. Wright hatched his plan with his uncle, Ussamah Rahim, and another man, Nicholas Rovinski, following the Garland attack in 2015. Authorities detailed how they also planned to carry out other attacks in the United States, and how Wright encouraged his uncle to murder police officers and die as a “martyr.”
Authorities say that Rahim received instructions about the plot to kill Geller from Junaid Hussain, an ISIS member, and hacker, who was later killed in an airstrike in Syria. The dead hacker instructed Rahim to destroy his cellphone and wipe his hard drives. Rahim passed along these instructions to Wright, prosecutors say.
Hours later, Rahim was approached by police officers in a Boston parking lot, where he was fatally shot after pulling out a knife and moved towards them.
Wright’s accomplice, Nicholas Rovinski, pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy charges and faces a sentence between 15 to 22 years. He testified that Wright told him Geller “deserved to be beheaded” for insulting Mohammed.
Wright’s lawyer described the ringleader as a lost young man who lost his way. According to the Associated Press, his attorney claims Wright became consumed by propaganda because he was “overweight, lonely and desperate for an escape from his bleak life,” stating that he weighed close to 500 pounds when he was plotting with the other men.
(Disclosure: Pamela Geller’s book, Fatwa: Hunted in America, is published by Dangerous Books, a division of MILO Inc.)
Featured image via PamelaGeller.com