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A 19-year-old man was reportedly arrested for threatening to shoot up an abortion clinic on a social media site less than a week after an 18-year-old was arrested for making similar threats with similar targets on the same social media site.
Chicago native Farhan Sheikh wrote on meme-sharing website iFunny that he was “done with … bullshit abortion laws” and would “slaughter” doctors, patients, and visitors at a specific abortion clinic, BuzzFeed reports.
Screenshots obtained by BuzzFeed show Sheikh aimed to carry out the attack on August 23, 2019. He was arrested on Friday, according to the Department of Justice.
“I am done with my state and thier [sic] bullshit abortion laws and allowing innocrnt [sic] kids to be slaughtered for the so called ‘womans right’ bullshit,” he wrote in the post which the FBI reportedly discovered on Tuesday, a day after the Ohio teen was charged last week.
“I’m DONE,” he wrote later in the post. “I will not back down. Consider this a warning for anyone visiting…”
He also wrote in a follow-up post that this was not a joke.
“To all the FBI agents in this app, I am NOT a satirical account. I post what I mean and i WILL carry out what I post,” he wrote under the username “awarded.”
He seemed to have taken a special admiration of the Ohio man, Justin Olsen, who reportedly posted rants against Planned Parenthood and other anti-immigrant, homophobic, transphobic content. Olsen, who operated under the name ArmyOfChrist was being watched by investigators since February and was fascinated by domestic terrorism.
Sheikh also appeared antagonized by Olsen’s arrest, calling it a measure of “suppressing” the two.
“Come after me you degenerate government puppets, stop me if you can…” he wrote at the end of the post.
Once investigators went to his house, three days after the posts were written, he admitted it was his account but said this was all a joke.
According to the Department of Justice, Sheikh has been charged with “transmitting a threat in interstate commerce,” punishable by five years in prison.
While Sheikh and Olsen have been arrested, iFunny as a social media platform remains of concern. It has become a hub for white nationalist propaganda. As a largely ignored social media platform until Olsen’s arrest last week, it perhaps missed the scrutiny that other social media platforms received over the past year, allowing sentiments like this to thrive on the website.
H/T BuzzFeed News
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque