Men who entered U.S. as refugees face terrorism charges

1 Thessalonians 5:2-6 KJV “…the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”

A pair of men who entered the United States as refugees several years ago are now facing federal charges spurring from alleged ties to terrorism, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.

The men, both Palestinians born in Iraq, were arrested in Texas and California. The Department of Justice announced the arrests separately and gave no indication the cases were connected.

Both cases involve men accused about lying about their alleged connections to terrorist organizations, either in talks with immigration officials or on official immigration forms.

Both men were scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

The first case involves a 24-year-old who had been living in Houston.

According to a news release from the Department of Justice, Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan came to the United States as an Iraqi refugee in late 2009. He became a legal permanent resident in 2011, and court filings show he allegedly sought to become a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2014.

Prosecutors are accusing Al Hardan of providing material support to the Islamic State and lying about his alleged involvement with the organization on that naturalization application.

“He allegedly represented that he was not associated with a terrorist organization when, in fact, he associated with members and sympathizers of ISIL throughout 2014,” the Department of Justice said in a news release, using an acronym for the Islamic State.

Al Hardan is also accused of receiving automatic machine gun training and not disclosing that on his application and in a subsequent interview with immigration officials, according to court records.

The other case involves a 23-year-old who was living in Sacramento.

Prosecutors allege Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab entered the United States as an Iraqi refugee in October 2012 and subsequently used social media to discuss his plans to travel to Syria and fight alongside terrorists. He allegedly traveled to Syria by way of Turkey in November 2013, and prosecutors claim he posted about fighting there before returning to the United States in January 2014.

According to court filings, immigration officials interviewed Al-Jayab in October 2014 and claimed he told them he was visiting his grandmother in Turkey. He also allegedly lied about his actions in Syria, and prosecutors charged him with making false statements about international terrorism.

“While he represented a potential safety threat, there is no indication that he planned any acts of terrorism in this country,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said in a statement.

The arrests came on the same day the Justice Department announced an Uzbek national living in Idaho received a 25-year-prison sentence and a $250,000 fine for terrorism charges.

Prosecutors had alleged that 33-year-old Fazliddin Kurbanov had purchased bomb-making components and was storing them at his apartment in Boise. Prosecutors had accused him of speaking to people connected with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and mentioning military bases as possible targets for a terrorist attack on American soil.

“The worst of intentions on the part of Mr. Kurbanov, that is the mass killing of Americans, were thwarted by the best of collaboration on the part of the entire law enforcement community,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric Barnhart said in a statement announcing the conviction.

The Justice Department said Kurbanov will face deportation proceedings once released from prison.

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