A 23-year-old Florida man was charged Monday with attempting to recruit ISIS terrorists to bomb a pair of deans at two colleges from which he’d been kicked out, federal prosecutors said.
Salman Rashid, who was arrested over the weekend on charges that he solicited another person to commit a crime of violence, was kicked out of Miami Dade College (MDC) and, subsequently, Broward College after a female classmate reported to school officials and authorities in November 2018 that he’d been harassing her, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in the Southern District of Florida.
By that time, prosecutors said, Rashid was already being watched by the FBI due to his alarming Facebook posts expressing his desire for violent revenge against perceived Muslim oppression.
“The first day since I have been observing you, I already knew something was different about you. I want you to know that, you were my only other half in this life…” Rashid allegedly wrote to the woman, adding that she would “not be given a choice” but to get close to him when they “meet once again,” according to the criminal complaint.
The female student alleged that Rashid continued to message her, and once followed her while she was walking to her vehicle, the complaint states. She also said his violent Facebook posts about women made her feel unsafe.
Rashid made his initial court appearance Monday, and is expected to be arraigned in early December. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. It is unclear if Rashid had an attorney for the appearance.
An FBI review of Rashid’s accounts and electronics revealed Facebook posts promising that he would avenge violence against Muslims, and an internet search for “how to stalk someone’s house,” the complaint said.
The harassment led to Rashid getting suspended from Miami Dade College in December 2018 and expelled from Broward College in May for not disclosing the disciplinary issue at MDC, prosecutors said.
Just weeks later, Rashid—who had unwittingly been speaking to two undercover FBI sources—requested that a source start looking into fellow ISIS brothers who would be willing to launch a terrorist attack in the Miami area, prosecutors said. It wasn’t until November that Rashid had allegedly finalized the targets of the terror attacks: two deans at the schools that he felt had wronged him.
Rashid provided both undercover sources the deans’ first and last names, and even gave them the office room number and location of the MDC dean, the complaint said.
“These two people, they hate Islam more than everybody else out there… if these two people die, I can assure you that whoever kills these two people, their (afterlife) is guaranteed by Allah... these two people, they need to die," Rashid allegedly told the sources, adding that the deans were not only his foes but were “enemies of Islam, enemies of Allah.”
Rashid advised one of the FBI sources, who claimed to be a bombmaker, to place explosives on the campuses when security was low, prosecutors said. He allegedly told them there would be a “small gift“ for them if they completed the task.
“Most of the times there is barely security maybe one cop car stays there, in front, not in front, not all the time, maybe just one,” Rashid allegedly said. He also added that “[a]nybody could just walk through” the offices, and the operation would not “be that hard.”
When asked how big to make the explosions, Rashid told the other FBI source to tell the bombmaker: “If he can make it big, do it as hard as he can.”