Two British men ordered the book “Islam For Dummies” off Amazon in 2013 before departing to Syria to fight for the Islamic State.
The Associated Press recently obtained thousands of ISIS intake documents for arriving foreign fighters in 2013 and 2014, which revealed a shocking ignorance of the basic tenants of Islam among ISIS fighters. Seventy percent of foreign fighters reported just a “basic” knowledge of Shariah law upon their arrival to ISIS territory, according to the Monday AP report.
One French fighter even revealed to the AP that his ISIS recruiter had taken him bar-hopping in Germany and urged him to travel to Syria over a series of alcoholic drinks he paid for.
The French fighter told French authorities, “My religious beliefs had nothing to do with my departure,” elaborating that he felt like “a dirty Arab” in his home country of France.
Several fighters remarked to AP they felt duped by religious propaganda that differed strongly from what they found in Iraq and Syria. The French fighter who was convinced to join ISIS while partying said, “Islam was used to trap me like a wolf.”
Mohamad Khweis, an American citizen raised in Virginia, turned himself over to Kurdish fighters after having an intense disillusionment with ISIS.
“It’s not like the Western countries, you know, it’s very strict. There’s no smoking. I found it hard for everyone there,” a stunned Khweis told Kurdistan 24 News Channel upon his capture. “I found it very, very hard to live there.”
Upon Khweis’s return to the U.S., he told his FBI debriefers “he knew ISIL used violence in its expansion of the caliphate, but also stated that ISIL engaged in peaceful and humanitarian efforts.”
Harry Sarfo, a former German ISIS fighter, told The New York Times he became disillusioned with ISIS when he was forced to appear in a propaganda video and saw how many reshoots were required. Sarfo confessed to thinking the videos were shot in real time, and realized the online propaganda of ISIS was contrived.
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