Chicago Man Charged With Making Online Threat Against Abortion Clinic

Chicago News USA

A Chicago man is accused of promising to “slaughter and murder” doctors, patients and visitors at an abortion clinic, a threat that the authorities said Monday he issued on iFunny.co, an online forum where he followed an Ohio man charged last week over similar threats, court records show.

The man in Chicago, Farhan Sheikh, 19, has been charged with transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, a crime punishable by up to five years in prison, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois said on Monday in a news release.

ImageThe authorities said that Farhan Sheikh posted a threat on iFunny.co under the username “awarded.”
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Mr. Sheikh, who was arrested last week and is in custody, wrote of plans to attack the clinic, which the authorities did not identify, this Friday, according to a criminal affidavit.

“I will proceed to slaughter and murder any doctor, patient, or visitor I see in the area and I will not back down,” the iFunny user “awarded” — which the authorities linked to Mr. Sheikh — wrote on the website on Aug. 13. “Consider this a warning for anyone visiting.”

In a separate post, the user issued further clarification: “To all the F.B.I. agents in this app, I am NOT a satirical account. I post what I mean, and I WILL carry out what I post.”

The user also lamented the arrest this month of the Ohio man, Justin Olsen, 18, who was accused last week of supporting mass shootings and targeting federal agents and Planned Parenthood in posts on iFunny. The authorities seized more than a dozen rifles and about 10,000 rounds of ammunition from Mr. Olsen’s residence, according to a court filing.

CreditFederal Bureau of Investigation

The authorities have said little about the clinic that Mr. Sheikh is accused of targeting, but described it as a “women’s reproductive health clinic.” The court filing said it was about four miles from his residence.

When arrested on Friday, Mr. Sheikh described the posts as a “joke” and said that he had chosen the clinic and date at random, the affidavit said. Mr. Olsen similarly told the F.B.I. that his statements were jokes, according to a court filing.

A lawyer representing Mr. Sheikh declined to comment on Monday.

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