Iraqi Refugee Living in Houston Charged With Attempting to Support Terrorists

Iraqi Refugee Living in Houston Charged With Attempting to Support Terrorists

A Palestinian-born Iraqi refugee living in Houston was charged with attempting to provide support to ISIL Thursday. 

Unsealed Thursday, the indictment accuses Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, 24, of attempting "to provide material support and resources, including training, expert advice and assistance, and personnel — specifically himself —" to ISIS, according to, a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas. 

Harad was scheduled to appear in federal court Friday at 10 a.m.

Harad is one of two refugees arrested Thursday on terrorism-related charges; the Houston Chronicle reports that a 23-year-old Sacramento man was accused of traveling "overseas to fight alongside terrorist organizations, and lied to U.S. authorities about his activities." 

Harad entered the country in November 2009 and was granted legal permanent residence status in August 2011, the indictment alleges. When he applied for citizenship in 2014, Harad stated he was not associated with any terrorist organizations, even though he was associated "either directly or indirectly" with ISIL, according to the indictment. 

The indictment also alleges that Harad stated "he had never received any type of weapons training," even though he had been trained to use an automatic machine gun. 

Harad faces up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 for attempting to provide support to a terrorist organization, as well as additional penalties for "false citizenship procurement."  

Governor Greg Abbott has already jumped into the fray, tweeting on Thursday, "Who'd thought? A refugee lied to immigration wuthorities about contact with ISIS & providing it support." 

Abbott also issued a statement saying "This is precisely why I called for a halt to refugees entering the US from countries substantially controlled by terrorists. I once again urge the president to halt the resettlement of these refugees in the United States until there is an effective vetting process that will ensure refugees do not compromise the safety of Americans and Texans." 

The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Department of Homeland Security, with assistance from the Houston Police Department, according to the press release.

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