Muslims have been Punking the FBI for decades.
NEW YORK – Tarek El-Goarany, 24, was called to the stand by prosecutor Negar Takeei as part of the ongoing criminal trial of Ahmed Mohammed El Gammal, 44 and from Arizona. The testimony was the first detailed public portrait of Samy El-Goarany, also a Goshen High graduate, from a family member.
Federal prosecutors say Samy El-Goarany flew to Turkey in January 2015, crossed over to Syria to join ISIS and died fighting for the group in November 2015. He had been attending Baruch College in Manhattan.
Under questioning from Takeei, Tarek El-Goarany told the jury that he was testifying as part of an agreement with prosecutors to avoid prosecution for lying to the FBI.
Tarek said growing up near Goshen, his older brother competed in track and field in high school. He was part of a youth group at the Middletown Islamic Center. He also developed a deep interest in the politics of Israel, Palestine, Syria and Egypt, Tarek said. That grew into sympathy for groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and revolutionaries in the Arab Spring of 2011, he said.
By the summer of 2014, Samy began to talk about ISIS and having a caliphate that could be a home for Muslims to live harmoniously.
Tarek said that in the summer of 2014 Samy asked him what he thought about him joining ISIS.
“I was shocked,” Tarek said. “I told him I didn’t agree with the group at all,” and “definitely it’s the wrong decision to make.”
Tarek testified that by the second half of 2014 his brother was speaking about joining ISIS, using the code name “the company.”
“He told me that he wanted to fight with ISIS and to discover and see the truth about ISIS with his own eyes,” he said.
To the boys’ parents, the transformation of Samy was kept secret. Tarek said he didn’t know how his parents would react and thought he could convince his older brother to stay.
“I kept it between us,” he testified.
After Samy’s secret flight to Turkey to join ISIS on Jan. 27, 2015, Tarek said his parents began asking where his brother was. Tarek said he covered for his brother.
But by February 2015, the FBI came knocking on Tarek’s door. They were called by the boys’ parents, he testified. Tarek said he lied to them about where his brother was, even though he was still communicating with Samy.
“I was scared to tell the FBI the truth because of what would happen to my family and me,” Tarek said.
By the summer of 2015, Tarek began telling the FBI the truth about where his brother really was, after they confronted him about his lies. The FBI told him to keep communication open and act normal when he spoke with him. Meanwhile, Samy was patrolling the streets of Syria with an AK-47.
In July 2015, Tarek said his brother told him he had been injured during a fire fight with another foreign terrorist organization, the al-Nusra Front. He got shrapnel lodged into the back of his legs, possibly from his own gun. But he would later be redeployed.
Does anyone believe anything this kid said?