On May 25, 2016, U.S.-born media activist in Syria Bilal Abdul Kareem shared, via his Facebook and Twitter accounts, an installment in the series of video news reports called “Face the Truth,”, which is an On The Ground News production. In this video, Kareem interviews a former Islamic State (ISIS) fighter from France named Abu Mohammad. Little information about the fighter is revealed, but in the interview the audience learns that Abu Mohammad is a convert to Islam, and that he is married. Kareem asks Abu Mohammad questions such as what drew him to Syria, what made him eventually change his mind about ISIS, and how he fled their ranks. The video is approximately 32 minutes long. Kareem asks the questions in English and Abu Mohammad answers in French; English subtitles are provided. In previous videos, Kareem has stated where he is reporting from, and often it is from Idlib. However, at the start of this video, Kareem states: “We are coming at you from Syria, where exactly, in Syria, nobody needs to know.”
To the question “When you arrived here in Syria, what group were you with initially?” Abu Mohammad answered that before coming to Syria he was “on YouTube and internet forums every single day trying to understand the situation in Syria and Afghanistan. The places where there is jihad became attractive to me. I used to watch videos on a daily basis. Videos, videos, videos, it was like that every morning. I would watch in the morning after Fajr and in the evening before sleeping. When the infighting started in Syria between brothers, between groups, I was in doubt at first. The people in ISIS came with proofs that the brothers here were doing things that aren’t Islamically correct. The brothers here did not refute those proofs with other proofs. I was in doubt. After a lot of reflection I took the decision to travel. I had Facebook contacts within ISIS. In a documentary that I saw they explained how the youth travel to Syria. Using this information, I contacted people within Syria. After that I made the decision to travel. I joined ISIS.”
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