DETROIT (WWJ/AP) — A Detroit-area man who works at his father’s pizzeria repeatedly apologized Monday for making provocative threats in support of the Islamic State group and insisted he meant no harm to anyone.

Khalil Abu-Rayyan, 22, didn’t commit terrorism, but federal prosecutors are asking for a severe punishment — eight years in prison — for a gun crime and making false statements to get a firearm in 2015. They point to his online messages with an undercover FBI operative as proof that a long sentence is necessary to protect the public.

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“I am so ashamed. I have humiliated myself,” Rayyan told a judge.

Rayyan sent photos of a beheading to his brother, watched “shock and awe” terror videos, and said he was willing to attack a church and a police officer in a hospital.

According to documents, Abu-Rayyan was under federal surveillance starting in May 2015. It was found that Abu-Rayyan was posting and retweeting ISIS-supporting posts on Twitter, along with photos of him firing an AK-47 and an AR-25 at a gun range.

Abu-Rayyan, a Dearborn Heights resident, allegedly told an undercover agent through social media about his plans for an attack.

“He lacks self-control,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Waterstreet said.

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U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh said he needed more time before sentencing Rayyan. He’s considering two portrayals of Rayyan: Is he a dangerous young man or simply foolish and insecure?

“That conduct is not who I am or what I believe in. … ISIS has nothing to do with Islam,” Rayyan said in court in a loud, firm voice. “I have shamed my faith. I have shamed the Muslim people.”

Defense attorney Todd Shanker asked for Rayyan to receive 15 months in prison, which would likely mean no additional time behind bars because he would get credit for time in custody since his arrest in 2016.

“They’re terrible statements,” Shanker said of Rayyan’s past words, “but they’re false statements.”

 

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