Mohamad Khweis, an American who temporarily joined ISIS overseas, has returned to the United States and will now be facing charges. He was captured on the battlefield by Kurdish anti-ISIS fighters back in March.
Khweis returned home late Wednesday and was charged in a federal district court in Alexandria, Va., with "providing and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists."
From the Washington Post:
In an 11-page affidavit, FBI Special Agent Victoria I. Martinez alleged that Khweis, 26, moved to various Islamic State safehouses during his time abroad and admitted in an interview that he told another member of the group... that he wanted to be a suicide bomber in response to a question he thought was meant to test his loyalty.
Although there have been a handful of Americans -- 85 to be exact -- who have been charged with attempting to join ISIS, Khweis is the first one to have been captured and brought home.
Khweis stated in an exclusive interview with Kurdistan 24 that he joined the extremist group because of a woman he met when he traveled to Istanbul. He reports that the was from Mosul and has a sister who was married to an ISIS fighter. The sister had arranged his transportation to Syria.
"I made a bad decision to go with a girl and go to Mosul. At the time I made the decision to go because I wasn't thinking straight."
"On the way there I regretted it, I wanted to go back."
Khweis also shared specific details about his time as a member of the jihadist group. He said he was given a nickname, "Abu Omar," and he temporarily lived with 70 foreign fighters. He claims that he spent most of his time in religion classes but that he "didn't complete the whole Sharia" because he "didn't agree with their ideology." Additionally, Khweis said the living conditions were awful.
According to Khweis, he then decided to return home to the United States and found someone who was willing to assist him. Khweis decided to head straight into Kurdish front lines and basically surrendered himself over.
Unfortunately for Khweis, his story does not match up with what the affadavit says.
FBI Special Agent Victoria Martinez wrote that Khweis conducted extensive research on the Islamic State in 2015, watching videos of the jihadists executing prisoners and other practices. That same year he left the United States and briefly stopped in London, where he communicated with an extremist cleric before moving on to Turkey and Syria. Khweis admits to being approached by a group of Islamic State arm that are responsible for training volunteers, but he did not agree to be trained by them.
Whatever the story is, he is still facing charges. But it doesn't seem he is putting too much of a fight to defend himself or his actions.
U.S. News reports that "Prosecutors said Khweis spoke with the FBI voluntarily and waived his Miranda rights."