SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Authorities say a South Dakota man who was asked to leave an anti-Islam event is facing a felony charge after he livestreamed himself brandishing weapons and making threats to the public.
Attorney General Marty Jackley and Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman said Friday that 45-year-old Ehab Abdulmutta Jaber of Sioux Falls has been charged with one count of terrorist threats.
Authorities say Jaber was escorted out of the event April 9 after he was observed filming on his cellphone and carrying a pistol. Officials say he was later found to be streaming threats to the public and brandishing guns and ammunition.
Authorities say law enforcement seized guns and methamphetamine during a search of his home.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Jaber has an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
CBN News previously reported that Jaber was at the Worldview Weekend rally, filming the event via Facebook Live. He was also carrying a Quran and a handgun.
One of the event’s off-duty police officers noticed Jaber and asked him to abide by event rules and stop filming the conference. When the officer asked for his name, Jaber lied, calling himself “John Smith, the Muslim John Smith.”
Jaber left the event and later posted two more Facebook live videos of himself sitting in a car parked outside the conference. He pulled out several weapons and repeatedly told the camera “be scared” and “be terrified.” He taunted believers in a speech laced with profanity.
The conference, held on April 9, addressed the extreme dangers of Islamic teaching.
Pastor Sharam Hadian, an ex-Muslim who converted to Christianity, and Brannon Howse, a Christian author and radio host, spoke to the crowd of about 500 men, women, and children. They didn’t know Jaber was secretly recording them.
Hadian and Howse told that Capital Journal, a South Dakota newspaper, they were not anti-Muslim, but concerned with those who use Islamic teachings to promote violence.
Jaber was among 70 conference protestors. He wore a shirt with a printed message that read “I am a Muslim,” and indicated that he “conceal carried” a handgun.
Police officers later found guns and methamphetamine in his home, and the Minnehaha County state’s attorney is prosecuting Jaber for possessing meth.
When asked why he filmed the event, Jaber replied, “Because I can. Because I am an American citizen.”
“There’s a lot of people out there who are going to think that because I’m Muslim I shouldn’t have that right, but tough,” he said. “Build a time machine, go back in time and change the Constitution and we’ll talk about it then.”
Howse views the incident differently.
“With each brandishing of the five weapons, including two assault rifles, he would say ‘be scared’ or ‘be terrified,’ ” Howse wrote in a Facebook post. “Ask yourself if a white ‘Christian’ did this at a Muslim conference would he be arrested or charged?”