New Mexico man accused of planning Islamic State training center

FILE PHOTO: The crest of the United States Department of Justice is seen at its headquarters in Washington, D.C.
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By Andrew Hay

(Reuters) - A New Mexico man was charged with attempting to set up a training center for people wishing to fight for Islamic State, the Department of Justice said on Friday.

A federal grand jury on Aug. 23 charged Herman Leyvoune Wilson, 45, of Albuquerque, with trying to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization by setting up an “Islamic State Center” in New Mexico, according to a DOJ statement.

The center aimed to teach Islamic State ideology, provide training in "tactical maneuvers and martial arts," and serve as a safe haven for individuals preparing to travel and fight on behalf of the group in the United States and abroad, the statement said.

Wilson, also known as Bilal Mu’Min Abdullah, helped run an online platform that promoted Islamic State recruitment and discussed attacks in the United States and overseas, the statement said.

Devon Fooks, a federal public defender representing Wilson, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Two men sentenced in July for providing support to Islamic State said Wilson brought them into the group, prosecutors said.

Kristopher Matthews, 36, of South Carolina and Jaylyn Molina, 24, of Texas said Wilson radicalized them to "ISIS ideology," the statement said.

Separately, Awais Chudhary, 22, of New York on Friday pleaded guilty to planning a knife attack in the Queens borough on behalf of Islamic State, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Sam Jacobson, a federal defender representing Chudhary, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting By Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; Editing by David Gregorio)