In another disturbing incident surrounding the video-conferencing platform, Zoom, a 19-year-old from Richmond, Texas has been charged for making threats against the University of Houston (UH) during a lecture. Ibraheem Ahmed Al Bayati, a US citizen, is charged with issuing threats or relaying false information to destroy by means of explosives or fire and making threats over interstate commerce.
Al Bayati was taken into custody on September 4, 2020 after the filing of a criminal complaint. He is set to make an initial appearance before a federal judge today for the allegations made in the complaint.
Issuing Threats and Glorifying ISIS
According to the complaint, Al Bayati identified himself as Abu Qital al Jihadi al Mansur and gained entry to a UH student lecture being held via Zoom on September 2. Subsequently, he is alleged to have interrupted the session and declared, "What does any of this have to do with the fact that UH is about to get bombed in a few days?"
The criminal complaint alleged further that Al Bayati spoke using an Arabic phrase which means, "The Islamic State will remain." His threats, however, did not end there. He supposedly pointed his index finger and reiterated the phrase. As the students gasped at what transpired, Al Bayati disconnected from the call.
Serious Charges and Possible Punishment
Further stated in the complaint was that the reference to "Islamic State" during Al Bayati's discussion was to the international terrorist organization which is commonly known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham). Also, the teenager is said to have allegedly reached out to supporters of ISIS online.
He is also said to have helped an individual make a "pledge", who according to the 19-year-old, was a recruiter for ISIS. Al Bayati faces a long time in prison based on the charges filed against him. If convicted for making threats or conveying false information to destroy by means of fire or explosives, he could spend up to 10 years in prison. In addition, he faces a maximum of five years for issuing a threat over interstate commerce.