KHALIL ABU RAYYAN was a lonely young man in Detroit, eager to find a wife. Jannah Bride claimed she was a 19-year-old Sunni Muslim whose husband was killed in an airstrike in Syria. The two struck up a romantic connection through online communications.
Now, Rayyan, a 21-year-old Michigan man, is accused by federal prosecutors of supporting the Islamic State.
Documents released Tuesday show, however, that Rayyan was motivated not by religious radicalism but by the desire to impress Bride, who said she wanted to be a martyr.
Jannah Bride, not a real name, was in fact an FBI informant hired to communicate with Rayyan, who first came to the FBI’s attention when he retweeted a video from the Islamic State of people being thrown from buildings. He wrote later on Twitter: “Thanks, brother, that made my day.”