Knoxville man helped ISIS, say Feds

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An example of the books allegedly published by Benjamin Carpenter’s company. He is accused of helping the Islamic terrorist organization ISIS.

A federal judge is expected to make a ruling soon on whether a Knoxville man accused of supporting the Islamic terrorist group ISIS should be allowed to remain free pending trial.

Benjamin Alan Carpenter, 31, is accused of providing material support and resources to the  Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). 

Carpenter, who is reputed to also go by the name of “Abu Hamza,” is allegedly the head of an international support group for ISIS called Ahlut-Tawhid Publications. The organization primarily translated ISIS propaganda into English and published it, which according to the government constitutes “material support” to the terrorist group.

Unbeknownst to Carpenter, one of the people he believed to be associated with ISIS was actually an undercover FBI agent. When he “provided English-language translations of ISIS media content to that individual for use by ISIS,” his actions triggered his arrest, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

A federal grand jury returned a sealed indictment against Carpenter on March 23 and he made his initial appearance in court following his arrest the next day. If convicted of the charge, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

A detention hearing was held Monday before  U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra C. Poplin, who heard testimony from several witnesses before stating that she’d take the matter under advisement, according to court records.

His trial is scheduled to begin June 1.

The Knoxville Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated the case. The task force is made up of numerous law enforcement agencies including — specific to this case — the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee  Highway Patrol, Clinton Police Department and Knoxville Police Department, federal prosecutors said.

J.J. Stambaugh can be reached at jjstambaugh@hardknoxwire.com.

Published on April 6, 2021.