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July 31, 2013

Pittsburgh Man Drawn To Syrian Front Underscores Emerging Trend

amiir-farouk ibrahim-passport-syria

Amiir Farouk Ibrahim’s passport

An Egyptian-American man born in Pittsburgh is reportedly the latest American to join the conflict in Syria on the side of rebels fight­ing against the Assad regime.

Amiir Farouk Ibrahim may also be the latest American casualty.

Ibrahim’s American and Egyptian passports were discovered earlier this month after Kurdish fighters overran a compound once held by the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella organization composed of several Sunni insurgency groups affiliated with Al Qaeda.

If dead, Ibrahim would be the second American known to have been killed in Syria’s civil war. Nicole Mans­field, a con­vert to Islam from Michi­gan, was killed in Syria in May 2013.

Ibrahim’s family reportedly indicated that he traveled to Turkey before crossing into Syria earlier this year. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida International University in 2008.

Ibrahim’s Facebook page contained numerous posts suggesting that he subscribed to a radical interpretation of Islam consistent with Al Qaeda’s ideology. For example:

  • February 1: Ibrahim posted an image calling for a boycott of French products because of the French military campaign against Al Qaeda in Mali.
  • January 30: Ibrahim posted several photos of a house on an island with the caption, “So you can imagine how paradise would look like.” He posted a comment on one of the photos asking God to make him “one of the people of Paradise.”
  • January 30: Ibrahim posted a photo for Mohammed Bouyeri, the Dutch–Moroccan convicted of killing Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. The comment on the post reads in part, “The lion Mohammed Bouyeri (May God release him from his prison) did an operation that will be recorded with gold in the history of Islam.”
  • December 2, 2012:  Ibrahim posted a YouTube video that features the popular jihadi song “Madin Kas-Sayf” [Sharp like the Sword].
  • October 18, 2012: Ibrahim posted a comment calling upon Muslims to embrace Jihad and support the Sunni Muslims in Syria against the Shia’a.

As ADL reported in June, there have been three other pub­licly dis­closed cases of Amer­i­cans involved in fight­ing with rebels. Each has been linked to Jab­hat al-Nusrah (JN), a State Department-designated alias for Al Qaeda in Iraq. It is unknown how many Amer­i­cans have entered the con­flict on the side of rebel fac­tions unaf­fil­i­ated with Al Qaeda.

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