Terror couple’s messages reveal planning, worry

Published 11:22 am Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Messages released by the FBI between a young couple accused of attempting to join the Islamic State and undercover agents reveal months of planning, worry and praise for the terrorist organization.

Vicksburg native Jaelyn Delshaun Young, 20, and Muhammad “Mo” Dakhlalla, 22, of Starkville were arrested Saturday at an airport in Columbus just before boarding a flight with tickets bound for Turkey, but a criminal complaint against the couple says federal agents began interacting with Young, a former Warren Central honors student and daughter of a Vicksburg police officer, in mid-May after she expressed desire to travel to Syria on Twitter.

“The only thing keeping me away is $$$, but working all of this overtime will be worth it when I’m finally there,” Young wrote, according to the FBI complaint.

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The FBI said Dakhlalla and Young both expressed impatience over getting passports, and the charges say Dakhlalla paid $340 to expedite passport processing on July 1.

In mid-July, Young is accused of saying that she felt passports were delayed because Dakhlalla’s name is Arabic before praising an attack on a military recruiting center in Chattanooga.

“What makes me feel better after just watching the news is that an akhi carried out an attack against US marines in TN! … The numbers of supporters are growing,” Young is accused of writing July 17.

Akhi is the Arabic word for brother.

Money was a constant worry for the couple as was learning Sharia law, not having appropriate clothing and the possibility of being arrested by authorities, according to the criminal complaint.

“I am so excited but my husband is still nervous about getting (there) only to realize that we will be arrested by the Turkish police or something. I tell him not to worry,” Young is accused of writing in early August.

The couple was also concerned, according to the documents, about crossing from Turkey to Syria and wondered how well they would fit in with the terrorist organization. Dakhlalla expressed concern that the couple might not pass a test to prove they are Sunni Muslim and wondered if they would be able to communicate with ISIS members upon arrival.

“I wanted to ask about military experience there. Would I be with people that speak English as well or do they put me with everyone at basic training? I am excited about coming to Dawlah, but I feel I won’t know what I’m doing,” he wrote.

Young touted her skills in math and chemistry and said she and Dakhlalla wanted to be medics treating the injured.

“We learn very fast and would love to help with giving medical aid to the injury in sha Allah,” she said, according to the complaint.

Later, the charge says, she told the second FBI agent Dakhlalla could help with the Islamic State’s Internet media, saying he “really wants to correct the falsehoods heard here” and the “U.S. media is all lies when regarding” the group, which she called by its preferred internal name, Dawlah.

Dakhlalla told the first FBI agent online in June that he was “good with computers, education and media” and that his father had approved his marriage to Young. In July, according to the charges, he said, “I am willing to fight” for the Islamic State group.

However, Young told the FBI that “many of the family members and members of the community do not support Dawlah.”

Young later told the FBI that she and Dakhlalla got married June 6. She also expressed a desire to “raise little Dawlah cubs.”

The couple was arrested Saturday as they tried to board a plane bound for Istanbul at Golden Triangle Regional Airport in Columbus. They thought the airport was too small to raise suspicion, according to court documents.

“We life in a small town with a very small airport that doesn’t have much if any security,” Young is accused of writing. “That’s one US weakness — small towns’ airports have poor funding and less educated staff so it is easier to get through.”


The Associated Press contributed to this report.