Faysal Rahman

Faysal Rahman was born in Bangladesh on January 2, 2002, but he was living in Genova and employed as a nautical worker at the Sestri Ponente shipyards. He was arrested on November 3, 2023, on suspicion of terror offences. According to the pre-trial detention order issued by the preliminary investigation judge of Genova, it is alleged Rahman’s affinity with the terrorist group Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who has covert links with al-Qaeda. Rahman has been charged with art. 270 bis of the Italian Criminal Code for his participation to a terrorist organisation and for the apology and instigation of terrorism for the purpose of subversion of the democratic order.
Rahman’s arrest stresses the role of the internet in his radicalisation process. In 2019, the defendant swapped his TikTok account for his Instagram and Facebook pages promoting radical and violent ideologies. His radicalisation included a change in the observance of religious beliefs and practices when he started to participate in prayers in traditional clothing, as testified by various social media profile pictures; the publication of apologetic content about terrorist acts and people linked to al-Qaeda and TTP; military preparation including physical training and learning how to use firearms, and his adherence to the religious movement called Jamaat Tabligh Eddawaa. Rahman was also radicalised through the readings of various authors linked to al-Qaeda such as Ali Bin Yahya Jaber al-Fifi.
Various components make up the first charge against the defendant (art. 270 bis comma 2) which are serious evidence of guilt because Rahman does not only adhere to radical Islam but was actively involved in a terrorist organisation. First of all, it is alleged he is part of the terrorist group TTP, of whom he bought a flag, and is close to al-Qaeda’s ideology, having manifested his membership through several celebratory social media posts, including an invite to do jihad, since January 2022. Moreover, incriminating files about al-Qaeda were found on his computer. Secondly, authorities reveal that the defendant identified himself as “Soldier of God” and “Al Qaeda Lover” on Facebook and was part of “The Group of 20”, a video posted by the defendant confirms his affiliation. The Facebook group was comprised of Bangladeshi citizens who shared the same jihadist ideology, often publishing posts about the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s leader and founder of the “Inspire” magazine Anwar al-Awlaki and the Islamic preacher Hassan Osama. This division was birthed as an offshoot from the bigger group “20 Thousand Disciples” but including only a few selected members with more radical intentions. All members, including the defendant, interacted with each other by sharing or commenting on apologetic videos and posts about terrorist acts, the glorification of radical beliefs and behaviours.
The defendant was also found to be self-training for violent activities. Rahman was following several websites and social media pages, namely “AK47 Fans” and “Voice of Muslim”, the latter affiliated with al-Qaeda, dedicated to the use of firearms and other small weapons, giving tips about military training while openly supporting jihad and martyrdom. In November 2022, the defendant posted a video in which he was doing para-military gymnastic training and in the background the song “Soldiers of Allah” was making references to jihad and martyrdom. The judge deemed the defendant eager to flaunt his military-inspired activity a political-religious stunt, as comments under the video hinted as his imminent journey to Afghanistan. Linked to this there is the defendant’s willingness to become a martyr in the name of jihad. For example, he changed his profile picture with a Medieval Muslim warrior; in a video he is seen sat on the floor wearing a blue helmet and repeating the words of an apologetic chant for martyrdom and another premonitory video is published with the title “Words of faith of martyrs before death, here I am, a martyr.” Therefore, Rahman openly manifested his ideology and affiliation with al-Qaeda through several social media posts and wanted people to know he was ready to fight in the name of Allah.
When it comes to the alleged offence of apology and instigation of terrorism for purpose of subversion of the democratic order, the court order reveals that Rahman, by sharing posts and videos about various terrorist attacks while praising jihad and conveying hate messages against various communities, was aware of the aim of his propaganda. His propagandistic posts were against many Western culture values such as democracy, gender equality, and freedom. For example, various posts praised the jihadist cause and Muslim soldiers died as martyrs; other videos referred to and celebrated various terrorist organisations such as the TTP, al-Qaeda, Hamas or al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Some videos would even justify violence against LGBTS people, adulterous women and girls not wearing the veil. These conducts testify the defendant’s belonging to a terrorist organisation by adhering to its criminal project while also instigating and inciting terrorist crimes.
The preliminary investigation judge of Genova found no elements in favour of the defendant and ordered a pre-trial detention on the basis of a concrete and immediate danger of escape, as Rahman was collecting information on how to travel to France and Spain. The judge also deemed the situation of real danger because of the gravity of the offence and because of Rahman’s extremist and radical personality and behaviours. All crimes ascribed to the defendant are punishable by more than five years of prison.