You are watching: How many americans have joined isis
The civilization knows ISIS battle aircraft from your horrific plot of terrorism and also brutal propaganda videos, in which masking men appear on a foreign landscape and also execute your victims. But there is an additional side come the ISIS menace, concealed in the most acquainted of places: American cities and suburbs, where recruits live among unsuspecting relatives and also neighbors, connecting with the terror group through social media.
American legislation enforcement officials estimate that about 250 Americans have tried to sign up with IS. Many of them never ever left the united States, raising fears of much more homegrown strikes like the one in December in mountain Bernardino, California. Assistant Attorney basic John Carlin, the justice Department"s top nationwide security officer, called NBC News that his company has open up investigations in all 50 states.
But a few dozen the those American recruits have actually made the expedition to ISIS"s heartland in Syria and Iraq.
In March, NBC News was provided a ignorance drive through a male claiming to it is in an ISIS defector. The drive included the names and snippets that biographical details of more than 4,000 ISIS international fighters who gone into Syria in 2013 and 2014. The documents, efficiently ISIS personnel files, have actually been showed by West Point’s Combating terror Center and also other counterterrorism specialists.
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Through the documents, NBC News has identified at the very least 15 American citizen or citizens who have joined ISIS overseas. They fit no specific pattern. Some space from bad Muslim immigrant families. Others had actually what have the right to be defined as privileged backgrounds. Three have Somali backgrounds. One to be a Latino transform to Islam. They live in tiny towns and also cities in brand-new York, Texas, California and also places in between.Rasel Raihan
Rasel RaihanNBC News
Raihan enlisted with ISIS in July 2014 after traveling to Syria through his his older sister, Zakia Nasrin, and also her husband, Jaffrey Khan. Raihan"s family members is from Bangladesh; they relocated to Ohio, in 2000, once he was around 5. He play fantasy computer system games with friends, and also earned great grades, and looked approximately Nasrin, an academic over-achiever. However in 2013, between his small and senior year in high school, Raihan dropped into a deep depression, his friends told NBC News. He observed a psychiatrist yet sought help from his sister, who"d end up being a devout Muslim. Raihan said friends he taken on Islam, too, and proclaimed self cured.
When he turned 18, Raihan moved in v Nasrin and also Khan, and also together they relocated from Ohio in might 2014. 2 months later, follow to the ISIS documents, he gotten in Syria in ~ Tel Abyad with Khan. Raihan, that took the fight name Abu Abduallah al-Amriki, was eliminated in Syria, according to family and also a an elderly U.S. Knowledge source.Zakia Nasrin
Zakia NasrinNBC News
Nasrin doesn"t show up in the ISIS documents, however NBC News pieced together how she joined her younger brother, Rasel Raihan, and her husband, Jaffrey Khan, in Syria. Nasrin dreamed of becoming a doctor and graduated high institution with a 4.0 average. Then she dropped the end of sight, friends called NBC News.
It turned the end that she"d moved to California come marry Khan, whom she"d met online, follow to relatives. She became a devout Muslim, spanning her face and staying away from various other men, family members said. The couple returned to Ohio, and also she ongoing on come Ohio State. Then, in might 2014, she and also her husband, together with her younger brother, left. In July, the two men entered Syria, follow to the ISIS documents. Nasrin finished up working through Khan at a hospital in ISIS-controlled Raqqa, Khan"s father told NBC News. Currently 24, she is the mom of a 10-month-old girl, loved ones said.Jaffrey Khan
Jaffrey KhanNBC News
Khan grew up in northern California, a child of divorce Pakistani immigrants. From very early age, that struggled emotionally, attending number of schools and also often obtaining into trouble. A school acquaintance defined Khan together "slightly disturbed." He verified no attention in religion until making a sudden conversion, then became devout, a cousin said. He thrived his beard and also began researching problems in the Muslim world, farming "hateful" that America, the cousin said. And, follow to relatives, he went virtual to discover a wife and also met Zakia Nasrin.
An acquaintance, fearing cannes was getting associated with jihadists, contacted the FBI, yet what come of that reminder is unclear. The couple also travel to Kenya, prompting interest from the FBI, Nasrin"s younger brother, Rasel Raihan, would later on tell a friend.
Months after ~ Raihan moved in v the pair in Ohio, the three of castle left the U.S. Because that Syria. The last their households heard, Khan, 24, and also his wife were working in a hospital in ISIS-held Raqqa and had an infant daughter.Alberto Renteria
Alberto Renteira is native Gilroy, California.
Renteria, that is of mexico descent, thrived up in Gilroy, California, wherein he attended two regional high schools prior to getting a computer system job in mountain Jose, his family members told NBC News.
He was increased Catholic, but at part point, he quit going to church and adopted Islam, loved ones told NBC News. He started wearing robes top top Fridays and also attending solutions at the southern Valley Islamic Center. The imam there said he to be “very quiet” and also never socialized. Then, two or 3 years ago, that stopped reflecting up.
His household told their landlord that he had actually joined the military. Yet the ISIS documents show that he gotten in Syria in ~ Tel Abyad in in march 2014, as soon as he was 24. His whereabouts because then space unclear. One of his sister told NBC News, "My brothers was a great person."Talmeezur Rahman
Born in India and also raised in Kuwait, Rahman, 22, pertained to the United claims to study computers at Collin university in McKinney, Texas. College officials shown he was a college student there from January 2012 to may 2014, and also records present he had a perfect grade-point mean for at the very least one semester.
His father told NBC News the he critical heard from his son by phone in 2014 and also later saw the Indian Embassy in Kuwait come report the missing. "I am in search of him for almost two years. Ns am yes, really frustrated," he said. Rahman"s ISIS document listed his fighting name as Abu Salman al-Hindi. The told his handlers he was extremely educated in computers and was expert in manufacturing, yet didn"t work because he "has a moustache in America."
His father said he could not think he had joined ISIS because he to be so obsessed v his studies. "I don"t believe he deserve to have a mind to perform anything else," he said.Omar Kattan
Omar Kattan native Denton, Texas.NBC News
Kattan, who stayed in Denton, Texas, established as Syrian. He learned biology, chemistry and also Arabic at the university of north Texas, and worked as a an individual trainer and also judo instructor. "i favor my task alot," he composed on his an individual website. He stated he wanted to walk to dentist school. That added, "I hope my country Syria will be free." In September 2013, as soon as he was 23, Kattan gone into Syria, close to the town of Atimah, and also told ISIS he"d dealt with with the Islamist Jundallah brigade. He defined himself as a "suicide fighter." A previous law enforcement main told NBC News that Kattan was killed in Syria.Ridwan al-Haymar
When al-Haymar called his family in Morocco in March, they thought he remained in Virginia, where he had been living because 2009 with his wife, son and also daughter. The ISIS files, though, say the in in march 2014, the 31-year-old gotten in Syria with Tel Abyad ~ above the Turkish border; his type notes that he worked as a taxi driver and also intended to be a fighter, no a self-destruction attacker. His mother and brother-in-law to be shocked to learned his name remained in the files; while he to be an observant Muslim, they said that he never ever expressed any kind of extreme beliefs.Erius Alliu
Alliu"s ISIS document says he was born in Albania, yet his family moved come the United claims in 2009, after a few years in Canada. He ended up in Boston, and worked as a cook before he come in Syria in might 2014, a couple months before his 20th birthday. His application said he"d been inspired by Albanians who"d come prior to him and that that asked to be part of a group called the Albanian Brigade.
NBC News to be unable to with Alliu"s family through the contact number in his ISIS file, but according come court documents, one Albanian v the very same name filed petitions because that asylum in both Canada and also the United says that claimed he fled Albania due to the fact that he fear persecution because that his political beliefs and for evading the draft. The Boston-based lawyer for the asylum applicant claimed she winner a reprieve from deportation for him in July 2014 but when she do the efforts to educate him, he had actually disappeared.Hanad Abdullahi Mohallim
Hanad Abdullahi Mohallim likewise known through his fighter name: Abulwalid Al Somali.NBC News
Mohallim was among several young recruits come come native the Somali-American ar in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In his ISIS application, he offered his fighting name as Abdulwalid Al Somali, identified himself together a student, and also said he to be bachelor. He said he entered Syria in ~ Tel Abyad, in march 2014, when he was 18.
American regulation enforcement public representative say the Mohallim recruited other fellow Somali-Americans in Minnesota, consisting of some who were arrested a year back for allegedly plotting to travel to Syria. Prosecutors have said the Mohallim sent out his friends pictures on on facebook that confirmed him hold weapons. Mohallim was reported killed in an airstrike.Abdi Nur
Abd Al Fatah Nour likewise know by his fighter name: Abu Sleiman Al Somali.NBC News
Nur, who was noted as Abd Al Fatah Nour in the files, was amongst the couple of Somali-American recruits indigenous Minneapolis to make it to Syria. He claimed he arrived there in November 2014, when he was approximately twenty years old. In his application, he established himself as single, through no prior travel experience, and provided no pertinent skills. His fighting name was registered together Abu Sleiman Al Somali.
Nur left Minneapolis for Turkey in may 2014, follow to prosecutors, that charged him afterwards with conspiring to provide material assistance for ISIS. In the two months prior to his departure, Nur had become “much more religious,” urging that his family members pray much more and wear more traditional Muslim clothing, follow to a criminal complaint. He additionally began come talk around jihad. ~ leaving, he connected via Facebook v a friend ago home, saying, “im not coming back,” according to the complaint. He also allegedly tried come recruit other men earlier in Minneapolis to follow him, posing for images on on facebook holding weapons, prosecutors say.
Nur"s fate is unknown; commonwealth authorities have cited a recording of a march 2015 conversation amongst Minneapolis recruits in which one of them stated that that hadn"t heard indigenous Nur in a while and also may have been killed.Yusuf Jama
Although the surname is spelled differently in the file, the details enhance up with Jama, who has actually been determined by authorities together a Minnesota male who left residence to join ISIS as soon as he was 21. Follow to court papers, Jama conserved up $5,000 because that the trip; his an initial attempt to be thwarted when the household of his travel companion intervened. Instead, in June 2014, he took a Greyhound bus to new York City and boarded a flight to Turkey, the court papers say. The is believed to have been killed in august 2014.Douglas McCain
Douglas McArthur McCain likewise known by his fighter name: Abu Jihad the American.NBC News
McCain was born in Illinois and raised in Minnesota, where his high school classmates explained him as a "goofball" that loved basketball and also aspired to a career as a rapper. After graduating, he obtained into a bit of trouble, including arrests for minor crimes. Friends claimed he converted to Islam in 2004. At some time later, he relocated to san Diego, and also social media activity began come fill with Islam-heavy images. The postings turn dark and also extreme in the months leading as much as his departure for Syria. He arrived there v Tel Abyad in march 2014, once he was 33, according to his ISIS application. He likewise said he had actually experience working as a nurse and also had a wife and also child.
McCain wrote that he wanted to be a fighter, and that"s what he became, calling himself Abu Jihad the American. Five months after his arrival, that was eliminated in a battle with Syrian rebels. ~ above his Twitter bio, that left this message: "It"s Islam end everything."Ahmad Hussam Al Din Fayeq Abdul Aziz
Aziz didn"t say wherein in America he to be from, but provided that he was single, had actually a high institution education, and had functioned as a furniture salesman before getting here in Syria in ~ Tal Abyad in in march 2014. He gave his fighting name as Abu Bakr Alsinawi and left call numbers because that his father and uncle, speak he hoped to come to be a self-destruction attacker. The is unclear even if it is he did. NBC News to be unable to find his family members or verify his identity.Saleh Muhammad
Muhammad called ISIS he"d resided in Brooklyn, and also was married. He stated he arrived in Syria in 2014, when he was approximately 26. He"d entered the country at Jarabulus, ~ above the Turkish border, assisted by members of the Soldiers the al-Aqsa, a battalion of foreign fighters. NBC News to be unable to situate his family members or verify his identity.
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In his ISIS application, al-Kambudi said he to be married with six children, to be a computer system engineer and also had traveled extensively through the middle East and also Asia. He said he to be Cambodian however lived in Washington, and the call number he offered had a Seattle exchange. He stated he"d made contact with ISIS through Twitter, and also reached Syria in august 2014, as soon as he was roughly 28. NBC News to be unable to contact his household or verify his identity.