Indian American Pleads Guilty to Lying to FBI About Jordan Trip to Join ISIS
Shivam Patel, who had converted to Islam, was accused of lying about his travel to Jordan to join the Islamic State group.
An Indian American man from Virginia pleaded guilty on Feb. 8 to two counts of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about taking a trip to Jordan in an attempt to join the Islamic State group.
Shivam Patel had expressed his admiration for a U.S. Army officer, Maj. Nidal Hasan, who shot and killed 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, according to court documents quoted by the Virginia-Pilot newspaper. The 28-year-old Indian American man also tried to join the U.S. Army and Air Force, and lied to recruiters about the purpose of the Jordan trip. He reportedly said he wanted to join a “real Muslim Army.”
Patel now faces up to 15 years in prison. The sentencing will take place on June 4. Patel was raised as a Hindu but converted to Islam in 2016 when he traveled to China to teach English, and became unhappy with the way Muslims were treated in China. On Aug. 23, 2016, his then employer arranged for his travel back to the United States but Patel instead went to Jordan.
Officials in Jordan arrested him and deported him. On Sept. 2, 2016, he flew to Chicago and then to Detroit, according to the court documents.
In Detroit, he met an FBI source and spoke to him about the Islamic State group. He told the informant that he went to Jordan to find like-minded Muslims, and to do something “bigger, better, and more purposeful” such as dying for the cause of Allah. He also said that he wanted to see a holy war between Muslims and non-Muslims. He sang ISIS group’s fight song and said that he had made a replica of the terrorist organization’s flag, which he wanted to replace his neighbor’s U.S. flag with.
He returned to Williamsburg on Sept. 6, 2016 and started applying for military and paramilitary jobs. In late 2016, he said that he did not support the Islamic State group.
Patel is said to have lied to the U.S. defense forces while applying for jobs by saying that the only international travels he had undertaken were to India in 2011 and 2012.