Authorities say a married pair from New York City and Alabama tried to fly to the Middle East to join and fight alongside the Islamic State terror group, and they have pleaded guilty in federal court.
The Justice Department said on Monday that Arwa Muthana, 30, of Hoover, Alabama, pled guilty to trying to provide material support to ISIS, and on Friday, her husband, James Bradley, pleaded guilty to the same allegation.
The two were stopped in New Jersey on their way to the airport last year. Federal prosecutors earlier said the pair planned to take a cargo ship to Yemen in an effort to evade capture.
In May of 2020, Bradley allegedly informed an undercover investigator that he supported ISIS’s efforts because they were helping Muslims construct a caliphate, and that he was considering doing “something” at a U.S. military academy if he couldn’t leave the country.
In January 2021, he allegedly informed the same undercover officer that he was considering using his truck to take “out” Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) students he saw at a university in New York with the help of his wife in the cause of jihad. Prior to this, he had mentioned wanting to assault a military installation.
Soon after the pair reunited in New York City at the beginning of March, Bradley is said to have reached out to the undercover officer for assistance boarding a cargo ship bound for Asia or Africa with the intention of eventually reaching the Middle East. The officer connected them with a possible source of aid, who turned out to be another undercover police officer.
According to AL.com, Muthana is the sister of Hoda Muthana, who emigrated from the United States in 2014 to marry a member of the Islamic State. After surrendering to coalition forces in 2019, she reportedly declared that she “regrets” joining ISIS, but a U.S. judge determined that she wouldn’t be allowed back into the country since she is not a citizen.
On February 3, 2023, Arwa Muthana will be sentenced and the day after that, Bradley will be given his. Each of them might spend the next two decades behind bars.