Lindh Released From Prison After Serving 17 Years for Terrorism-Related Offenses
A man called the “American Taliban” following his capture in Afghanistan in 2001 as the first US-born detainee in the war on terror was released from federal prison on May 23. John Walker Lindh (pictured), 38, will live in Virginia after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence for providing support to the Taliban. Lindh is subject to several restrictions in his three years of supervised release. He cannot own Internet-capable devices without permission from his probation officer, who will closely monitor his online activity; communicate online in any language other than English; and view or gain access to extremist or terrorist videos. Lindh must also undergo mental health counseling and is prohibited from owning a passport or traveling outside of the United States. Lindh was captured in Afghanistan three months after the 9/11 attacks committed by al-Qa’ida terrorists. Lindh grew up in Northern California and converted to Islam at age 16. He moved to the Middle East to learn Arabic after high school and trained with a radical Islamic group in Pakistan before joining the Taliban in Afghanistan. While Lindh said during his sentencing in 2002 that he should not have joined the Taliban and never intended to fight Americans, counterterrorism assessments suggest he may still embrace extremist views.
Man Accused of Threatening to Kill Muslims at Florida Mosque
Police arrested a Florida man on May 20 after responding to reports of cyberterrorism targeting Muslims and a nearby mosque. Brandyn Luis Hernandez, 27, is accused making social media posts that threatened to kill Muslims, as well as recently visiting the Islamic Center of Greater Miami-Masjid Miami Gardens during communal dinners attended by worshipers outside of fasting periods for Ramadan. Authorities said the Facebook messages contained expletives, mentioned killing Muslims one-by-one, and included threats of arson. One post, which referenced the mosque, read, “(Expletive) the Muslim who stole my phone. … I’m going to have your hand, with no trial, no due process.” An arrest report noted Hernandez told investigators he had a “hatred for Muslims that own corner stores” and he wanted to “take them out” and “send them to hell.” The mosque has increased its security for Ramadan, with police officers on site. Hernandez is charged with written threats to kill or do bodily injury and assault with prejudice.
Accused Gunman in Shootings at New Zealand Mosques Charged With Terrorism
A 28-year-old Australian man accused of killing 51 people and injuring approximately 50 others at two Christchurch, New Zealand, mosques has been charged with terrorism. New Zealand police filed the charge on May 21 against Brenton Tarrant, who faces 92 total charges—51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder, and one count of terrorism—in connection with the attacks on March 15. Tarrant is the first person charged under New Zealand’s Terrorism Suppression Act, which was introduced in 2002 following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Authorities arrested Tarrant after they said he opened fire at the Masjid Al Noor mosque, killing 42 people, and Linwood mosque, killing seven. Two others died at a hospital. Officials said Tarrant uploaded a manifesto online before the incident detailing his white supremacist beliefs and reasons for the attacks, which were livestreamed.