American describes his time with ISIL: ‘I wasn’t thinking straight’

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An American Muslim who is said to have defected from Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) claims he changed his point of view after opting to follow a young woman to Mosul, Iraq. Leaving a lot of questions unanswered, he apparently had problems with the lifestyle, noting that there was “no smoking” in the city.

In a heavily edited interview with Kurdistan 24 television, 26-year-old Mohamad Jamal Khweis said he defected because he doesn’t share the terror organization’s views.

Mohamad Jamal Khweis
Mohamad Jamal Khweis

“I don’t see them as good Muslims,” Khweis said. “I wanted to go back to America.”

Khweis, the American-born son of Palestinian immigrants in Virginia, said, while he was in Turkey, he met an Iraqi girl who said she was from Mosul, which has been under ISIL’s control since the summer of 2014.

“She knows somebody who could take us from Turkey to Syria and then from Syria to Mosul, so I decided to go with her,” he said.

Before he arrived in Mosul, Khweis said he stayed in various houses with other foreigners — including Asians and Russians — who surrendered their passports and identification and were given nicknames.

He arrived in Mosul with 10 other men after a 10-hour bus ride and said the indoctrination started immediately.

“There was an imam who taught us the sharia and the religion,” he said. “I didn’t complete the whole sharia. I didn’t agree with their ideology and that’s when I wanted to escape.

“Our daily life was prayer, eating and learning about the religion for eight hours,” he said. “It was pretty hard to live in Mosul. It’s not like the Western countries … There’s no smoking.”

Khweis said when he decided to defect from ISIL he sought out the Kurds because he thought they would get him to America.

“I made a bad decision to go with the girl and go to Mosul. At the time I made a decision to go because I wasn’t thinking straight, and on the way there I regretted — I wanted to go back,” he said.

“My message to the American people is the life in Mosul, it’s really, really bad.”

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