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How Did Adam Gadahn, AKA Azzam The American, Become al-Qaeda?

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So how does an American kid go from growing up as a US citizen to becoming a hate-mongering al-Qaeda operative who is releasing videos threatening there will be "blood in the streets"? The Washington Post has a good story on Adam Gadahn and what drove this son of a Jew and Catholic to join radical Islamic terrorists.
A few things struck Haitham Bundakji about the brown-eyed teenager who introduced himself as "Yahya" at the Islamic Society of Orange County nine years ago. He was shy, earnest -- and very much alone.


Within a year, Yahya -- born Adam Gadahn to parents of Jewish and Catholic heritage -- had fallen in with a group of young men who prayed regularly at the mosque but also picked ugly political squabbles with the placid, middle-class congregation from the suburbs south of Los Angeles.

Bundakji remembers the men as angry, rigidly pious, and hypercritical of any Muslim who adopted Western clothes or manners. But they were also bright, articulate and well educated. "Very convincing," Bundakji surmised, "to someone like Adam Gadahn."

Now, in hindsight, the mosque leader believes he may have witnessed Gadahn's second conversion -- into a radical Islamist.


[Gadahn's parents say] the FBI's depiction does not resemble the Adam they knew -- a gentle, conscientious boy who enjoyed rock guitar and classical music, who backpacked the High Sierras and traveled to Sweden with a favorite aunt.

"Adam was a very typical teenager," said his aunt, Nancy Pearlman. "There's no story about his upbringing." Pearlman said the family is declining to comment further for now, noting that FBI officials have not issued any public statement linking Gadahn to the video.

There is a lot more in the two page article. (if you're not registered at the Washington Post you can get a no hassle username and password at Bug Me Not)

Tipped by: Chad at In The Bullpen, who has some very excellent commentary. Go read it now!

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Posted by Digger on December 7, 2004 10:51 PM (Permalink)

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I always have interesting commentary. It's not always good, but it's always, well, interesting.

Posted by: Chad Evans on December 7, 2004 11:15 PM

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