Very few Americans have left our country to fight on behalf of ISIS – with estimates generally putting the figure between 150-300. That’s a small fraction of the foreign fighters among their ranks, which totals in the tens of thousands. That fact alone should refute claims that people become radicalized by poverty or circumstance.It’s hard to imagine why anyone would leave the freedoms of America or Europe to live under ISIS rule or fight among their ranks, and there are many who’ve tried to return. By the end of last year there had been over 1,200 European ISIS fighters who returned for Europe – the majority of which were arrested and jailed. Just last month, NBC News interviewed one American ISIS member by the name of “Mo” who had become quickly disillusioned by the brutality and within months was begging the FBI to help him return home. He’s now facing a 10-25 year jail sentence since he’s returned to the U.S.
According to the Washington Post, 25-year-old Mohimanul “Mo” Alam Bhuiya went to high school in Brooklyn and was attending Columbia University when he got the brilliant idea to join ISIS. Wonder if “Mo” met the other two stooges there…Bhuiya had come to the attention of the FBI before he traveled to Syria. According to court documents, investigators with the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York learned in June 2014 that the young man might be planning to travel to Syria.
When authorities interviewed Bhuiya at his home in Brooklyn, he told investigators that he was interested in events in Syria and supported “rebel groups.” But he claimed he lacked the money to travel to Syria and “did not know what he would do if he got there.”
Days later, he flew to Istanbul and then managed to enter Syria. He had little interest in fighting.He implored Islamic State commanders not to “send me off to the front lines because I can be useful in other ways,” according to the NBC interview. “It seemed to me that it would, you know, save my skin.”
Bhuiya said he quickly became disillusioned and described the Islamic State as “dystopia.”
“You could see madness in their eyes,” he recalled. Bhuiya decided to flee.In fact he emailed the FBI asking to be picked up, requesting extradition and like any good millennial who refuses to accept consequences for his actions, also requested complete exoneration: ‘I just want to get back home. All I want is this extraction, complete exoneration thereafter, and have everything back to normal with me and my family… Please help me get home… I am fed up with this evil.’
— Program On Extremism (@gwupoe) June 30, 2016
Despite the fact that he’s likely facing the next quarter of his life in prison, he has a warning for young Muslims thinking about joining the organization.
According to NBC,
Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent who runs the security firm The Soufan Group, noted that when Mo went over, ISIS had not yet shown its most bloodthirsty side. “In the spring of 2014, still a lot of people were not convinced that ISIS is a bad terrorist organization,” Soufan said.
Now that Mo is back in the U.S., Soufan said, he can deliver an “important message” about what is really happening in ISIS territory “to prevent others from joining this death cult.”
Mo told NBC News that he agreed to show his face and share his story to spread a message to others who might be tempted by the terrorist organization’s slick propaganda.
Good luck with that. What he fails to realizes is that for the majority of ISIS members, the fact that it’s a death cult is part of the appeal.
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]