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story.lead_photo.caption Bilal Al-Rayanni was arrested on June 27

Federal officials announced Friday that a Helena-West Helena man, Bilal Al-Rayanni, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Little Rock on charges of supporting a terrorist organization in Yemen.

Al-Rayanni, 28, who is also known as Bilal Kassim Alawdi, is a Yemeni national who was first indicted in the Eastern District of Arkansas on July 11 on a charge of providing a false name on a passport. A superseding indictment filed Thursday adds a charge of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, namely al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

The organization was designated by the U.S. Secretary of State as a foreign terrorist organization when Al-Rayanni traveled to Yemen in 2014 and worked for it for three months, from about Oct. 1, 2014, until about Dec. 31, 2014. The indictment alleges that he knew the organization was engaged in terrorism.

Al-Rayanni has been in federal custody since originally arrested on the passport charge on June 27, according to U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland, who announced the indictment alongside John C. Demers, assistant attorney general for national security; Assistant Director Mike McGarrity of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division; and Diane Upchurch, special agent in charge of the Little Rock field office of the FBI.

According to a criminal complaint filed June 28, the defendant identified himself as Alawdi when he mailed a passport renewal application on May 13 from Helena-West Helena. As part of the renewal application, he provided a passport that had been issued on Nov. 25, 2008.

He admitted in a subsequent interview with State Department and FBI agents that his true name is Al-Rayanni, but that his father had illegally purchased a United States visa from a man in Yemen named KassimAlawdi and used that documentation to fraudulently obtain a U.S. passport for him in 1992 under Alawdi's name.

Al-Rayanni told authorities that he learned his real name when he was 10 to 12 years old, but has continued to use the Alawdi name to obtain or renew U.S. passports in 2002, 2008 and finally in 2019, according to the complaint.

The penalty for providing material support to a terrorist organization is up to 20 years in prison, while the charge of providing a false statement on a passport application is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Both crimes also carry a potential fine of up to $250,000.

Metro on 08/10/2019

Print Headline: East Arkansas man charged in terrorism case


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  • RBolt
    August 10, 2019 at 8:03 a.m.

    I'm trying to remember. Is al-Qaeda the organization of religious fundamentalists who disdain higher learning and traditional media as they cast aside the values of their faith in order to commit mass murders in an effort to advance their fanatical political agenda of kicking foreigners out of their country, or is that the American white supremacists who so overwhelming support Trump? It can be difficult to tell the difference, especially when Trump sword dances with the Saudi Bone Sawyer.

  • MS3264
    August 10, 2019 at 9:16 a.m.

    RBOLT I am praying for you and everyone who suffers from the derangement syndrome that distorts everything they see and hear from the RIGHT side!

  • RBolt
    August 10, 2019 at 9:24 a.m.

    Instead of praying without results, use your mind for actual thinking. Are those similarities I mentioned inaccurate? If so, your stronger argument is something other than mumbling to your imaginary friend.

  • Skeptic1
    August 10, 2019 at 9:35 a.m. are completely morally bankrupt, which newly constructed Mosque in Arkansas do you belong to? It was your Messiah Barak HUSSEIN Obama that bowed before the Muslim Saudi prince like the good Muslim he is.

  • RBolt
    August 10, 2019 at 9:40 a.m.

    I see possible white supremacists attack me instead of my message. Could it be they cannot effectively attack my argument? If they can, how foolish to attack me instead, because it makes them look weak while leaving my multi-point comparison unchallenged. That's okay, though, because I enjoy seeing them flop around ineffectively.

  • Packman
    August 10, 2019 at 9:41 a.m.

    Is this the brother Ilhan Omar married?
    Hey Boltar - Shouldn’t you be victim shaming someone like you blamed genmac after he was internet stalked and doxxed by creepy armnar and RBear?

  • RBolt
    August 10, 2019 at 9:45 a.m.

    Still nothing but personal attacks? Please continue. I revel in your displays of weakness.

  • Skeptic1
    August 10, 2019 at 10:29 a.m.

    RBolt..oh that's rich, a Prog complaining about personal attacks....racist, racist, racist, white supremist, white supremist, white supremist, need I continue?

  • RBolt
    August 10, 2019 at 10:46 a.m.

    skeptic1, please refer to my 9:45 a.m. post, and keep it up. The personal attacks on this thread have already elevated my unchallenged observation about similarities between al-Qaeda and white supremacists to inclusion among the most commented articles. Thanks to your futile personal attacks, more readers will see your weak responses and those of other possible white supremacists for the idiotic perversions they represent.

  • GeneralMac
    August 10, 2019 at 11:01 a.m.

    Dr BOLTAR tried to make similarities before questioning why the word "CHRISTIAN" is not added when a WHITE mass murderer goes on a rampage.


    If that WHITE shooter was recruited by a radical priest/minister and was FINANCED by CHRISTIANS Dr BOLTAR might have a point.

    If that WHITE mass shooter was proclaimming "Jesus Christ " while shooting, DR BOLTAR might have a point.

    The way it is, that statement by DR BOLTAR was unworthy of even a 6th grade drop out.