In January 2015, a Jordanian man named Abu Ali had hit his breaking point. The 38-year-old had become disillusioned with life after learning his wife was infertile, leaving a void in the household that would eventually lead to him divorcing her. In Islamic Law, all it takes is a man’s declaration of divorce and she must move out. Ali was channelling his depression by frequenting bars and clubs several nights a week, a life funded by handouts from family members abroad.
Ali wanted to cast away his former life and be born again. He achieved this by slipping through a hole in the gate of the Turkey/Syria border and trekking to the dusty brown hills of northern Syria, the origin of the Islamic State.
After about an hour, a car showed up and an ISIS driver would pick him up, bring him to a reception center for a background search, and begin to integrate him with the handful of other newbies–mostly Americans, English, and French. There was only one Syian.
Abu remembers that he slept in a one-story building with a garden out back, littered with chickens. The emir insisted that only the Americans and Europeans be allowed to slaughter them. It was training for killing infidels.
Then the extensive training began.
According to Daily Mail,
For the next two weeks, all of the men would be woken up before dawn. They would perform the dawn prayer, then go outside for running and press-ups before the sharia lessons began at first light. The lessons were very basic, focusing on the difference between Muslims and non-Muslims, and the requirement to fight infidels and apostates.
Ali recalls one of the most petrifying experiences he had with the Islamic State occurred after the emir in charge of the training course, a bald Syrian with pale skin, announced that there was a special event in store.
The emir gathered all the recruits on a cave floor with a projector set angled toward the cave wall. The emir then played the vomit-inducing video of jihadists in Syria setting aflame a captive Jordanian pilot named Muath al-Kaseasbeh, while he stand in a cage covered in petrol, writhing in pain. The deplorable act garnered international attention and was even denounced by some jihadis.
The emir then stood up and claimed that this pilot had dropped bombs on Muslims and the execution was justified under Islamic Law.
Ali was visibly shocked.
Per Daily Mail,
Abu Ali soon sensed dozens of eyes turning in his direction. He was the only Jordanian there, and they all knew it. He had not said anything, but his horror at the video must have been visible on his face. The emir also stared at him.
This was clearly some sort of loyalty test. Abu Ali felt their eyes on him, and he began to shake. He had been taught as a child that burning a man to death was forbidden in Islam. The images had sickened him. He heard himself say, ‘May God help me.’
Two Isis guards took him by the arms and led him out of the cave. The emir followed later. He sat down on the rocks with Abu Ali and asked him why he had spoken those words. Did he question what Isis had done? Abu Ali said no. He had only spoken out because people were provoking him.
The emir seemed satisfied. ‘At the beginning of this course you were a kafir (an unbeliever),’ he said. ‘Now you are becoming a Muslim.’
Ali said that from then on he began suspected everything. He joined ISIS to get an administrative desk job but was then was tasked with dragging wounded men from the battlefield as bullets darted past his head.
Ali escaped the wrath of ISIS after messaging a man who he had heard escaped. The Moroccan man instructed him to ‘Go to Raqqa.’ Abu hopped a civilian bus the next morning and returned to mend the relationship with his ex-wife.
Check out the whole fascinating story over at Daily Mail.