An American man who reportedly ran away to join the Islamic State has allegedly deserted the terrorist group after he realised how religious they were.
Mohamad Khweis, 26, was taken into custody in Iraq after he ran away from the bloodthirsty jihadi. Speaking to a Kurdish TV station yesterday he admitted to deciding to escape when he realised he didn’t like their ‘very strict’ religious beliefs, the Washington Post reports.
Speaking to Kurdistan 24 Khweis confessed that his life under the Islamic State in Mosul was very hard, with the days being spent doing nothing but praying, eating and eight hours of daily instruction in religion and Sharia law. He said he soon came to see that ‘I didn’t really support their ideology’.
It only took a month for Khweis to realise his mistake before he reached out to someone who could help him make his way toward Turkey with a plan to return to the United States in the future.
It was pretty hard to live in Mosul… It’s not like the Western countries, you know, it’s very strict. There’s no smoking. I found it hard for everyone there.
What will happen to him next remains unclear, although the FBI, who did not previously have Khweis on its radar, is investigating the matter.
Khweis is reportedly the son of two Palestinians who came to the United States more than 25 years ago and was born and raised in Virginia. His friends claim he showed no signs of religious fanaticism and only attended the mosque infrequently.
It was unclear why Khweis decided to travel to Islamic State in the first place. He said he left the United States in December, travelling to Turkey via London and Amsterdam. He said he met an ‘Iraqi girl’ in Turkey who claimed she knew someone who could take them into Syria.
The pair eventually passed into Syria where Khweis and his female companion were split up, and he was eventually driven to a house where he says foreigners seemed to stay.
Khweis said he was surrounded by people from countries such as Russia, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan but did not encounter any other Americans. Each person, he said, was given a nickname before being sent to Mosul for training.
A report released late last year by the U.S. congress said that more than 250 people from the United States had joined or attempted to join extremist groups fighting overseas, warning that ‘many of them are only a plane-flight away from our shores.’