A North Miami Beach man who wanted the “establishment of Islamic law” plotted to bomb deans at two of his former colleges, federal authorities said Monday.
Salman Rashid, 23, appeared in Miami federal court on Monday charged with soliciting another person to commit a violent crime.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Rashid targeted unnamed deans at Miami Dade College and Broward College, schools from which he had been expelled. Rashid told a confidential source working with the FBI that he wanted the explosives to be “as big as possible,” according to a press release.
Rashid will remain behind bars until at least Wednesday, when a “pretrial detention” hearing is held. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. It was not yet clear if he had an attorney.
The FBI notified Miami Dade College last week that “they had eliminated a threat involving a former student at the Padrón Campus,” according to a statement from Miami Dade College. “At this time, the FBI has advised us that there is no additional threat or need for heightened security.”
According to the FBI, agents began investigating Rashid in approximately April 2018 after he made a slew of public Facebook posts about overthrowing democracy and establishing Islamic law.
He exhibited a “growing hatred of America, democracy, non-Muslims and secular Muslims,” according to a criminal complaint by FBI Agent Kim McGreevy.
The FBI began monitoring Rashid, who studied at Miami Beach High, getting a “confidential source” to start chatting with him online through Facebook.
By the fall, Rashid also ran afoul of Miami Dade College administrators after a fellow student reported to campus authorities that he was sending her “threatening text messages,” according to the criminal complaint.
In one series of messages, Rashid detailed his growing obsession with the woman and threatened, “you will not have excuses, will not be given a choice and will have to come close to me.”
He soon began following the woman around campus, even searching “how to stalk someones house” on the Internet, according to the complaint.
In December 2018, Miami Dade College suspended him. A few months later, Broward College expelled him — for not disclosing what had happened at Miami Dade College.
In May 2019, that woman contacted the FBI because Rashid had posted a video that showed a man “grieving over his murdered girlfriend” — and Rashid posted he would soon “leave his world.” The woman feared Rashid might kill himself and her too, agents said.
The complaint said Rashid’s Facebook account was awash with grievances against feminists, Jews and people who mistreated Muslims. He also declared himself “the next rightful Caliph” — the leader of the Muslim world, according to the FBI.
That month, Rashid “solicited” one of the confidential sources to get in touch with members of the Middle Eastern terrorist group known as ISIS, or the Islamic State.
He complained that Muslims in Miami had been attacked and he wanted revenge. He wanted ISIS to conduct a “terrorist attack” on his behalf, preferably on a religious building or a nightclub, according to the press release.
The FBI used another confidential source who pretended to be a member of ISIS.
Rashid urged the supposed ISIS member to target “arrogant men and woman who refuse to recognize our authority and hate Islam,” according to the FBI.
Ultimately, the FBI arranged an in-person meeting with one of the sources and Rashid, who was secretly recorded saying “we need to take our revenge now.”
Rashid eventually asked the source to bomb the unnamed deans at Miami Dade and Broward colleges, the complaint said. He claimed the deans had humiliated him.
“Rashid indicated the Miami dean and the Broward dean were not just Rashid’s enemies but also ‘enemies of Islam, enemies of Allah,’ ” the complaint said.
He also “provided information about the locations to place the devices and his assessment of security that might be present at the colleges,” according to the press release.