A young man who grew up and attended school in Virginia is now charged with providing support to the terrorist group known as ISIS. Those federal crimes charges were issued after the man was captured in the Middle East and brought back to the U.S. The 26-year-old claims that while he initially sought to support the group and to act as a supporter of ISIS beliefs and programs, he soon changed his mind after being exposed to the realities of life within the terror group.
The man's parents are Palestinian immigrants, and they raised their son in Virginia. In 2015, the young man began researching ISIS online and made efforts to contact the group through social media. He was able to travel to the region and smuggled himself across the border between Turkey and Syria. He told reporters that the reason he joined ISIS was because of a young woman he met while in Turkey.
The man was interviewed by FBI agents after he was captured by Syrian forces engaged in the anti-ISIS movement. He told agents that once he was living inside of the organization, he found that ISIS ideology was not what he had believed it to be and that he had made efforts to leave the organization. He also claims that life in the region was far more difficult than he thought it would be, and that he wanted to leave the group and return to America, where he will focus on spreading the message to others about what ISIS is truly like and why the group should be avoided.
As the case moves forward, additional information about this young man's experience in ISIS may be made available. If he is able to move beyond these federal crimes charges and rejoin American society in his home state of Virginia, his story and message could resonate with many other young people who feel drawn to ISIS and are considering joining in terrorist activities. That could go a long way toward showing young people that the group does not represent Muslim beliefs and practices, and that life in this nation is something to be valued and protected.
Source: wtvr.com, "Virginia man charged with helping ISIS; blames trouble on woman", June 9, 2016