A terrorism expert said a Cary man arrested on terrorism related charges wasn't a threat to the United States but those who knew him said he is a troubled man.
Basit Javed Sheikh, 29, is charged in a federal criminal indictment with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He was arrested on Nov. 2 at RDU before boarding the first of a series of flights that would take him to Lebanon to link up with an al-Qaida group.
After reading the criminal complaint against Sheikh, terrorism expert and Duke professor David Schanzer said "He didn't seem to have direct animus against the United States or plotting to do anything here."
The 25-page federal complaint outlines how Sheikh made contact with a confidential source and later with an undercover FBI agent via FaceBook as he tried to find a way to join the fighting in Syria.
Khalilah Sabra, director of Immigration and Civil Rights at the Muslim American Public Affairs Council said Sheikh was recently dismissed from his job at the post office and dealt with many issues.
"From what I understand, he has psychological issues and he spent most of his days on the computer," Sabra said. "That was his life."
Professor Schanzer said individuals like Sheikh who are lost for one reason or another search for more in their lives.
"They want something else in their life and see joining one of these organizations as exciting," Schanzer said.
Sheikh's public defender lawyers said they have no comment on the situation currently.
Meanwhile, his family is attempting to hire a lawyer who specializes in national security law.
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