The Department of State has designated El Shafee Elsheikh, Anjem Choudary, Sami Bouras, Shane Dominic Crawford, and Mark John Taylor as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under Section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. As a consequence of these designations, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions or dealings with Elsheikh, Choudary, Bouras, Crawford, and Taylor, and all of their property and interests in property subject to United States jurisdiction is frozen.
El Shafee Elsheikh traveled to Syria in 2012, joined al-Qa’ida’s (AQ) branch in Syria, and later joined ISIS. In May 2016, Elsheikh was identified as a member of the ISIS execution cell known as “The Beatles,” a group accused of beheading more than 27 hostages and torturing many more. Elsheikh was said to have earned a reputation for waterboarding, mock executions, and crucifixions while serving as an ISIS jailer.
Anjem Choudary is a British extremist with links to convicted terrorists and extremist networks in the UK, including the proscribed Al-Muhajiroun group. In September 2014, Choudary was arrested for pledging allegiance to ISIS and for acting as a key figure in ISIS’ recruitment drive. He was sentenced to prison in September 2016. Choudary has stated that he will continue his recruitment activities from prison.
Sami Bouras is a Swedish citizen of Tunisian descent who is a member of AQ and who has been involved with planning suicide attacks.
Shane Dominic Crawford is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago and is currently believed to be a foreign terrorist fighter in Syria carrying out terrorist activity on behalf of ISIS, including acting as an English language propagandist for the group.
Mark John Taylor is a New Zealand national who has been fighting in Syria with ISIS since the fall of 2014. Taylor has used social media, including appearing in a 2015 ISIS propaganda video, to encourage terrorist attacks in Australia and New Zealand.
Action notifies the U.S. public and the international community that Elsheikh, Choudary, Bouras, Crawford, and Taylor have committed or pose a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism. Designations expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and result in denial of access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist or complement the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and other governments.