“The reason I wanted to go to Syria was I felt like it was my duty. I felt like it was something that I had to do. And if I didn’t do it, I would be basically a disgrace to God.
Before his 60 Minutes interview, Abdirizak Warsame stated that:
He found counsel in the online lectures of a radical imam and reflected on his decision to later testify against friends knowing he would be labeled “a snitch or a traitor.”
“I honestly think it would be very stupid to have such an experience and not share it with others.”
Warsame also revealed how the jihadists make recruits through a victimology narrative, the same dangerous propaganda that all too many Westerners have also bought into:
“The more I listened, the more my heart went out to those Muslims suffering around the world,” Warsame wrote. “[Awlaki] continued to speak about jihad and a holy war between the Muslims and disbelievers.
“60 Minutes: American teen wanted to participate in ISIS executions”, by Mallory Shelbourne, The Hill, October 30, 2016:
An American teenager who is currently awaiting sentencing for recruiting on behalf of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) said he planned to be an executioner for the terror group.
In an interview with “60 Minutes” on Sunday, Abdirizak Warsame told journalist Scott Pelley he had seen the videos of executions disseminated by the terror network on the internet.
“Yeah. I was going to be, I was going to be participating in those activities,” he said.
Pelley pressed him to explain his reasoning, asking if he would have killed people because they “weren’t true Muslims.”
“Right,” Warsame answered.
According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, Warsame was arrested in December of 2015 and agreed to testify in a federal trial against recruits who tried to go to Syria.
Warsame was influenced by the radical teachings of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American imam who joined al Qaeda. Awlaki was killed by a drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
“The reason I wanted to go to Syria was I felt like it was my duty. I felt like it was something that I had to do,” said Warsame.
“And if I didn’t do it, I would be basically a disgrace to God. I would be a disgrace to the world. I would be a disgrace to my family.”
He described growing up between worlds, giving insight into how he was radicalized.
“I went to school with a lot of kids that were not Somali. And so I kind of got into that culture, you know, music. Going to prom, dancing, it’s hard to kind of explain that stuff to your parents when they kind of really don’t understand what it is.”
His mother was worried about the crowd he was spending time with, he told “60 Minutes,” so she encouraged him to go to the mosque. And while he connected to the message he heard there, the lessons were in Somali.
So Warsame searched online for an English-speaking imam and found Al-Awlaki.
“He explained how Islam was, you know, like, my calling. It was almost like he was talking to you. And like it made you feel like you were special, you know? And like you’re the chosen one,” he said of the video lectures.
He explained that several of his friends were similarly radicalized and described spending hours and hours watching such videos online.
“Most of the videos would talk about how if you would engage in jihad you would be doing your family a favor. And that you would be saving their lives from eternal hellfire,” Warsame said.
He and 11 friends decided they would fight in Syria. Two made it, and Warsame believes they are both now dead — and feels responsible.
“I believe I am responsible for their deaths and I think about that every day,” he said, adding that if he had made it to Syria he would probably be dead as well.
Eventually, after suspicion arose over a passport application, one member of the group was tracked down and convinced to work with the FBI. Warsame testified on behalf of the prosecution and is facing 15 years in prison.
“What I’ve done is something that nobody can be proud of,” he told “60 Minutes.” “It’s very shameful. I might be very remorseful, but I haven’t done any actions to correct those wrongs.”…