Update (January 16, 2019): In an interview with NBC News, captured American ISIS member Warren Christopher Clark opened up about his reasons for joining the terrorist organization. He also explained why he doesn't regret his decision to join the ISIS team.
“I wanted to go see exactly what the group was about, and what they were doing,” Clark told NBC. “Of course I saw the videos. I think with the beheadings, that’s execution. I’m from the United States, from Texas. They like to execute people, too. So I really don’t see any difference. They might do it off camera, but it’s the same.”
Even though Clark traveled to the Middle East to live in ISIS-held territory, his indoctrination into the violent group began in his home state of Texas while studying at the University of Houston.
“I wanted to learn more about the ideology,” he said. Once in Syria, the political science graduate tried (unsuccessfully) to find a job as an English teacher.
Clark is currently being held by Kurdish forces while the FBI investigates his case. Because of safety concerns, his exact whereabouts are unknown.
The Houston Chronicle spoke with the journalist who interviewed Clark, Richard Engel, following its broadcast. Engel told the paper Clark has no desired to return to the U.S. but noted he'd probably be indicted stateside.
If that occurs, Clark will become the fourth individual from the Houston area arraigned on charges of supporting ISIS. As Blavity reported, Clark was caught along with another American ISIS supporter, Zaid Abed al-Hamid, in Syria last week.
Original: U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces captured two Black American men after reportedly fighting alongside ISIS in Syria.
According to the BBC, the men, identified as Warren Christopher Clark (Abu Mohammad al-Ameriki) and Zaid Abed al-Hamid (Abu Zaid al-Ameriki), were caught fleeing a civilian attack.
Clark graduated from the University of Houston and taught as an English substitute teacher for the Fort Bend Independent School District for nearly three years. Abed al-Hamid may have been from Trinidad according to extremism researchers who found his name in a database of over 130 Caribbean male group members.
ABC News reported Clark was a radicalized convert who turned to the religion in 2014. He applied to work for ISIS by sending a resume and cover letter obtained by the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.
"I am looking to get a position teaching English to students in the Islamic State," his cover letter read.
In a statement made to Fox News, Navy Commander Sean Robertson said the incident is still under investigation.
“We are aware of open source reports of reportedly American citizens currently in custody who were believed to be fighting for ISIS," Robertson said. "However, we are unable to confirm this information at this time. The incident is under investigation."
The men were captured under Operation Jazeera Storm, a group established to eradicate all remaining remnants of ISIS throughout Syria. Three other fighters were also caught, including two from Pakistan and one from Ireland.
But according to a tweet by President Trump last month, ISIS has been defeated.
"We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency," the president wrote.
We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018
So no worries.
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