Suleiman Anwar Bengharsa once told a court during a custody dispute that he worried his ex-wife’s new husband was too close to Islamic radicals under FBI investigation and she might raise their child in an “extremist environment.”
A little over a decade later, the Maryland man became the thing he once feared. The onetime Commerce Department trade analyst had remade himself into something rare in the United States: a radical imam publicly supporting the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
Bengharsa celebrated ISIS killings and immolations on Facebook and issued a blistering fatwa against feminism through a sharia law center he started in Montgomery County, Md., not far from the nation’s capital. He criticized fellow Muslims who assisted authorities in terrorism investigations.
The stunning transformation culminated last month when FBI search warrants mistakenly unsealed in a Michigan terrorism case alleged that Bengharsa, 59, provided money to Detroit resident Sebastian Gregerson, who authorities say used it in 2015 to buy weapons.
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