Florida mosque leaders called authorities on arrested teen who talked of violence, jihad

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Shelton Bell stood out at the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville.

Not because he was a strawberry blonde American who converted to Islam. It was more because of the way he dressed — in headgear that resembled garb worn by remote tribes in Afghanistan — and mostly because of what he said.

In mid-2012, a parent was concerned that Bell, who now faces federal terrorism charges, was “in conversation with his son about inciting violence and talking about jihad and talking about weapons,” said Parvez Ahmed, the center’s board secretary.

Mosque leaders called the FBI, setting into motion a case that came to light this week. Bell, now 19, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring and attempting to provide material support to terrorists. He faces up to 15 years in prison for each of the two charges.