The Islamic State just released a gruesome new beheading video, again helmed by a western-bred Jihadist. As often happens, I received messages asking for explanation.

You see, I’m the jihadi who never was.

Twenty years ago, I ditched my Catholic high school in upstate New York to study at a Saudi-funded madrassa in Pakistan. A fresh convert, I jumped at the chance to live at a mosque and study Qur’an all day.

This was in the mid-1990s, during an escalation of the Chechen resistance against Russian rule. After class, we’d turn on the television and watch feeds of destruction and suffering. The videos were upsetting. So upsetting that soon I found myself thinking about abandoning my religious education to pick up a gun and fight for Chechen freedom. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Ci – Michael’s Blog

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