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Accused Dearborn Heights ISIS supporter detained until hearing

21-year-old planned attack on Detroit church, FBI says

DETROIT – A 21-year-old Dearborn Heights man accused by the FBI of being an ISIS supporter and planning an attack on an area church appeared in federal court Monday for a detention hearing.

According to a criminal complaint against Khalil Abu-Rayyan, federal investigators have been watching him since last May after he re-tweeted, liked and commented on ISIS propaganda posts.

He was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance when police found him with a gun and marijuana. He appeared in court Monday where he requested the hearing be moved because he has retained an attorney. 

The hearing has been rescheduled for Wednesday. Meanwhile, Abu-Rayyan is being detained. 

View the full complaint here.

But in conversations between Abu-Rayyan and an undercover agent, Abu-Rayyan described his desire to commit a martyrdom operation.

“I tried to shoot up a church one day. I don’t know the name of it, but it’s close to my job. It’s one of the biggest ones in Detroit. Ya, I had it planned out. I bought a bunch of bullets. I practiced a lot with it. I practiced reloading and unloading,” Abu-Rayyan told the officer. “But my dad searched my car one day and he found everything. He found the gun and the bullets and a mask I was going to wear.”

The criminal complaint doesn’t identify which church Abu-Rayyan was allegedly planning on targeting.

"It's easy, and a lot of people go there. Plus, people are not allowed to carry guns in church. Plus, it would make the news. Everybody would've heard. Honestly, I regret not doing it. If I can't do jihad in the Middle East, I would do my jihad over here."

Read previous report: Man plotted to attack Detroit church, feds say

If convicted of the charged offense, Abu-Rayyan faces a term of up 10 years in federal prison.

"Threats of this nature, regardless of where they originate, or who they target, are always taken seriously," said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, FBI - Detroit Division. "The FBI acted quickly and comprehensively to investigate and arrest Mr. Rayyan upon the receipt of information that he posed a potential public safety threat. The investigative actions prior to his arrest included 24/7 surveillance to ensure there was a prompt response to any attempted violent act."