By Shannon Crowley and Hannah Joseph | April 13, 2021
UAlbany students recounted their experiences with former student and alleged ISIS sympathizer, James “Abdullah” Bradley. Despite spending only one semester at UAlbany, many students can describe the strange behavior he exhibited which foreshadowed his future trouble with law enforcement officials.
Bradley, a former freshman at Ualbany, was arrested on March 31, 2021. He was formally charged at the federal level for attempting and conspiring to provide material support to an officially designated foreign terrorist organization, a sentence that will earn him 40 years in prison if he is found to be guilty.
An 18-page complaint approved by Assistant United States Attorneys, Andrew J. Defilippis and Jason A. Richman was filed after Bradley and his wife Arwa Muthana attempted to board a cargo ship traveling to the Middle East. The report details Bradley’s desires to join and fight for ISIS.
Bradley came onto law enforcement’s radar in 2019 after Bradley displayed violent and extremist views on his social media. In 2020, undercover federal agents recorded Bradley admitting to planning attacks on U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.
The report also included the fact that Bradley mentioned another unnamed university in New York where he saw ROTC cadets training and thought he could “take all of the ROTC cadets out” in a truck attack.
Despite Bradley’s former relationship with the University at Albany, Director of Media and Community Relations Jordan Carleo-Evangelist assured students that there is no information “to suggest that there is, or was, any credible threat to the safety of the campus.”
Members of the World of Community Service LLC in Fall 2019, pictured left to right, James Bradley, Alyssa Belon, Christian Vitek, Kaleb Davie, Kayla Diliberto, Caitlyn Perantoni, Brianna Molina, Shannon Crowley
The Albany Student Press had the opportunity to interview students of the undergraduate population who were members of the World of Community Service Living Learning Community, which Bradley was a member of. These students lived on the same floor as Bradley during his brief stay at UAlbany in Fall 2019.
Alyssa Belon, was a member of the Community Service Living Learning Community (LLC) with Bradley. She recalled that at an LLC meeting when their advisor asked Bradley what his plans for spring semester were, Bradley said he was planning on dropping out of the university and moving to Egypt.
“I remember meeting Abdullah on the first day of college,” said Belon. “He was kept to himself, but I would have never expected him to be arrested for any of this. I am really shocked.”
Belon said that the last time she recalled seeing Bradley was at a breakfast with the LLC advisor event at the Indian Quad dining hall towards the end of the fall semester in 2019.
Bradley’s former suitemate, Case O’Donnell, recalled going to the Indian Quad dining hall with Bradley after one of the first days on campus fall 2019. While at the dining hall, Bradley would not allow O’Donnell to leave the booth they were eating in until O’Donnell finished watching several YouTube videos on religion.
That was the last time O’Donnell was in contact with Bradley. “I am really taken off guard to see he got arrested though. I would never have suspected the extent of his actions,” said O’Donnell.
Another member of the Community Service LLC, and former suitemate to Bradley, Kaleb Davie, said Bradley was moved out of their suite sometime within the first two weeks of the school year.
Davie believed both Bradley and his roommate were both moved out into new rooms due to Bradley repeatedly trying to convert his roommate to his religion.
“I did not know him well, but I knew him better than anyone in my suite. I talked to him from time to time and he always acted suspicious around me, said Davie. “I am not really surprised by this arrest.”
Davie remembered a time when Bradley gave him a mug with a symbol on it because he claimed it, “freaked him out.” After Bradley was moved out of their suite, Davie said the only contact he had with Bradley was when he would show up to their LLC discussions or breakfast.