26-year old American Mohamad Jamal Khweis from Virginia is expected to appear in court today to hear the charges against him. According to U.S. officials the charge will be ” providing and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists”. When he was captured by the Syrian peshmerga he had in his possession: 3 cellphones, 2 bank cards and about $600 in various currencies, as well as maps of Turkey, Syria and Iraq on his cellphones along with a picture of the World Trade Center burning on 9/11.
Mohammad lived a quiet life in his northern Virginia town. He earned an Associate’s degree from Northern Virginia Community College in administration of justice and was not memorable to any of his teachers. His friends described him as, “just one of the guys”. He received over a dozen traffic tickets and a DWI between 2007-2012 but paid all of his fines and completed his community service. The son of Palestinian immigrants, Mohammad was born in America and did not have a history of being a devout Muslim.
Khweis travelled to London then Amsterdam making his way to Turkey. There he met an ‘Iraqi girl” who told him she could help get him to Syria. He agreed to follow her and quickly regretted his decision. Once under the rule of the caliphate he was forced into religious study for 8 hours a day, banned from smoking and found life in Mosul increasingly painful.
“My message to the American people is: The life in Mosul, it’s really, really bad.” Khweis said.