American Teacher Joined ISIS Because He Wanted To See ‘What The Group Was About’

January 28, 2019 | No Comments » | Topics: Story

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A Texan who says he offered to work as an English teacher for the Islamic State and was captured earlier this month in Syria by U.S.-backed forces said he witnessed executions and crucifixions during the more than three years he spent with the terrorist group.

A Muslim convert, Warren Christopher Clark, 34, was being held in northern Syria after being captured during the campaign to liberate the last pockets occupied by ISIS in Syria, the coalition of militias known as the Syrian Democratic Forces said.

Clark, a former substitute teacher from Sugar Land, Texas, said the FBI has been in contact with him but he does not know what will happen to him next. He said he never fought for ISIS and said he was detained nearly a dozen times for refusing to take up arms.

Each time, Clark said, ISIS let him go and he suffered no abuse at their hands. But he admitted offering to work for them as an English teacher.

NBC News reported last year that Clark’s résumé was found at a house in Iraq and was later obtained by the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. In a cover letter, Clark said he was hoping to obtain a job teaching English to students in territory seized by ISIS.

“I was born and raised in the United States and have always loved teaching others and learning from others as well. My work background is largely in English and I consider working at the University of Mosul to be a great way of continuing my career,” read the cover letter, which used the alias Abu Muhammad al-Ameriki.

The résumé included an email address, education credentials and work experience, and the researchers were able to determine that Abu Muhammad al-Ameriki was Clark, who graduated from the University of Houston.

Clark says he was drawn to ISIS out of curiosity.

“I wanted to go see exactly what the group was about, and what they were doing."

“I wanted to learn more about the ideology. I’m a political science major, global business minor. I like politics. I like travel, world events. That’s what I wanted to do.”

But while Clark claims he was able to avoid fighting on the front lines, the war was never far away.

“It was a place that was constantly being bombed,” he said. “You were always on edge. Day and night, just bombs and airstrikes. You sleep in the middle of the day. I spent most of my time living in a mosque. I just remember every day hoping not to get bombed.”

Clark said he only worked as an English teacher and never fought for ISIS. He said he saw little moral difference between the US and ISIS.

“I was in living in Mosul at the time, and I needed a way to support myself. I think with the beheadings, that’s execution. I’m from the United States, from Texas. They like to execute people, too. So I really don’t see any difference. They might do it off camera, but it’s the same.”

If convicted, Clark could spend up to 20 years in prison and be fined up to $250,000.

“The arm of American Justice has a lengthy reach,” US attorney Ryan Patrick said in a Department of Justice press release. “The number one priority of the Southern District of Texas, along with the FBI and our other national security partners, is to keep America safe. The protection of life is the most sacred job law enforcement has.”



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