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Boston Jihadist Wanted to Behead Organizer of Draw Muhammad Contest, Law Enforcement Says

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John Burger - published on 06/03/15

Pamela Geller was on Rahim's hit list

Another twist in the case of a Boston jihadist who was shot and killed by police Tuesday: he wanted Pamela Geller’s head.

Geller, of course, is the organizer of the Draw Muhammad contest in Garland, Texas last month that was interrupted when security officers killed two men who apparently were set to open up their own guns on attendees. 

Muslims consider it offensive to depict the Prophet Muhammad. 

Law enforcement sources told CNN that Geller was the target of a plot that was cut short when police shot Usaama Rahim outside a CVS store.

Geller said she considers the news the latest volley in a "showdown for American freedom."

"They targeted me for violating Sharia blasphemy laws. They mean to kill everyone who doesn’t do their bidding and abide by their law voluntarily," Geller told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Wednesday.

"Will we stand against this savagery or bow down to them and silence ourselves?" she asked. 

The FBI arrested a man in connection with the case Tuesday.David Wright, 25, appeared in U.S. District Court in Boston Wednesday to face conspiracy and terrorism-related charges, CNN reported. Wright allegedly attempted to destroy Rahim’s cell phone and conceal evidence of their plans.

Rahim reportedly told an associate that he changed his plan from decapitating Geller to targeting "the boys in blue," an apparent reference to police. 

The case is another example of how homegrown terrorism may be a growing threat, particularly in the age of social media. Coincidentally, the House of Representatives on Wednesday held a hearing on "Terrorism Gone Viral: The Attack in Garland, Texas and Beyond." U.S. intelligence officials are warning about the growing use of encrypted communication and private messaging by supporters of the Islamic State, according to NBC.

The FBI had been tracking 26-year-old Usaama Rahim for several weeks, and authorities are looking into whether he may have been radicalized by ISIS propaganda online, ABC News reported, quoting law enforcement sources. Such radicalization "represents the newest element of the terrorist threat facing the country, where we have individuals who affiliate with terrorist ideologies but do not coordinate their operational activities with terrorist organizations," said John Cohen, a former top Homeland Security official. "This poses the most significant counter-terrorism challenge" for U.S. authorities since the 9/11 attacks, he added.

Tags:
Islamic MilitantsTerrorism
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