The trial of a 34-year-old man who allegedly recruited 160 European teenagers for Islamic State started Monday in Graz, Austria.
Mirsad O., better known under his Islamic name “Ebu Tajma,” pleaded not guilty to charges that he convinced 160 young Europeans to join ISIS in Syria. He is further said to be the leader of the “Bosnian cell” in Vienna, which is one of the most important logistical and financial support centers for jihadist activities in Europe.
Mirsad O. is believed to have had a hand in almost all ISIS recruitment activities in Europe. The prosecutor said he traveled through the continent with his entourage “like a popstar on tour.”
His YouTube account gained a large following among young Muslims, and aimed to “carry out brainwashing on those that viewed it,” according to the prosecutor.
“I am not a member of the propaganda in any way,” Mirsad O. said to his defense. “I’ve never tried to persuade anyone.”
Samra Kesinovic, 17, and her friend Sabina Selimovic, 15, were two of Misrad O.’s alleged victims. The Austrian girls left for Syria in April 2014, and received global attention for being “poster girls” of ISIS’s Western activities. The girls left a note for their families saying: “Don’t look for us. We will serve Allah and we will die for him.”
Both girls are now believed to be dead.
Mirsad O. faces up to 20 years in prison if he is found guilty.
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