Florida Man Who Planned ISIS Attack on Two College Deans Wanted 'Violent Overthrow of Democracy,' DoJ says

Federal investigators have arrested a Florida man who planned an ISIS attack on two college deans, and wanted the "violent overthrow of democracy."

Salman Rashid, 23, was arrested on Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement. Rashid, of North Miami Beach, was detained in South Florida, and charged with soliciting another person to commit a crime of violence.

The FBI began investigating Rashid in April 2018, after he shared public posts on Facebook "which advocated for the violent overthrow of democracy and the establishment of Islamic law," federal prosecutors said. Over a year later in May, Rashid asked an individual, who unknown to him was an undercover FBI source, to contact members of ISIS and instruct them to carry out a terrorist attack on his behalf.

Throughout the summer and fall of 2019, the accused allegedly continued contacting the individual about the attack, and suggested a religious building or nightclub as potential targets, according to the federal complaint.

The FBI introduced another undercover source to Rashid, after he allegedly asked to be introduced to someone who would carry out the attack.

Around the time of November 8 or 9, Rashid had set his sights on two deans at Miami-Dade College and Broward College.
In December last year, Miami-Dade College suspended Rashid after he sent threatening messages to a female student, NBC Miami reported citing federal officials. He was kicked out of Broward College in May of this year for not notifying the school of his suspension.

Rashid is said to have told the undercover source to bomb the dean with explosive devices as "big as possible." He briefed the individual on where to place the explosives, and the security situation at the respective colleges.

On Monday, Rashid appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Chris M. McAliley. He is due to have a pretrial detention hearing on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, at 10 a.m.. The accused's arraignment is scheduled for December 9, 2019. If found guilty, Rashid could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison.

"A criminal complaint is a charging document containing allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law," said a statement by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida.

A spokesperson for Miami Dade College told Newsweek: "Last week, Miami Dade College was notified by the FBI that they had eliminated a threat involving a former student at the Padrón Campus.

"At this time, the FBI has advised us that there is no additional threat or need for heightened security. We have informed the campus community and used the opportunity to again remind employees and students to always remain alert and vigilant, and if they see or hear something, to say something."

A spokesperson for Broward College declined to comment on the case as it is a matter before the court.

This article has been updated with comment from Miami Dade College, and Broward College.

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A stock image shows a police car. Salman Rashid, 23 was arrested in South Florida, and accused of soliciting another person to commit a crime of violence. Getty