A Bronx man who allegedly supports the Islamic State was arrested Tuesday on charges of trying help an undercover agent travel to Syria to fight with the terror group. Bronx reporter Erin Clarke has the story.
22-year-old Sajmir Alimehmeti, also known as Abdul Qawii, is the latest in a series of alleged Islamic State sympathizers arrested in the city, this time in the Bronx.
"It was really shocking to here that it was right above me," said a neighbor. "For all I know they could be making explosives."
Alimehmeti lived at 3464 Knox Place with his parents. Federal law enforcement officers raided their apartment and picked him up early Tuesday morning.
"It was like a big noise it was like a boom," said another neighbor.
Prosecutors say Alimehmeti twice tried to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State.
But he was turned back when he tried to enter Britain and authorities found images of the Islamic State flag, bomb attacks, and audio files about jihad in his computer and cell phone.
He then allegedly bought military-type equipment weapons and attempted to get a passport for an undercover agent who he thought was trying to join the terrorist organization.
"It amazes me how people can be radicalized somewhat easy, in an easy manner like getting on the computer or the Internet," said third neighbor.
Neighbors say Alimehmeti seemed like a normal young man until about two years ago.
"A few years back he started changing his clothes and after that he didn't speak to nobody," said one.
"He started wearing traditional Muslim garb, attending mosque, he grew a beard and he became very quiet," said another.
Down the block at a mosque where neighbors say Alimehmeti sometimes prayed, members denounced the crimes he's been accused of and those we spoke to said they didn't know him.
"We hate this terrorist whether it is ISIS or whether it's al-Quaida," said one worshiper.
"They're lost," said another. "They are not real Muslims. Real Muslims never hurt nobody."
And there was no answer at Alimehmeti's home when we knocked this afternoon. Neighbors say the family doesn't speak much English but is cordial.
No one else in the home has been implicated.