By Benjamin Hall
Shamal Ahmad Tofiq was a fun-loving barber from the northern Iraqi town of Said Sada who liked women and a party – before he left his small hometown to find himself in Europe.
Photo credit: Fox News
Now he is back, and, as a fast-rising member of Islamic State, is committed to killing his own countrymen. His family and fellow villagers say they watched from afar, communicating with Tofiq, now known as Sina Ahmad, by Facebook as he descended into radicalization after meeting jihadists in Athens.
“In our village, he was known by everybody and had many friends,” said Chamal Omar, who, like Ahmad, is 26. “His family were poor but they were happy. His father sold shoes. Now we do not know him, he is a stranger. It was in Europe that this happened — away from his friends.”
While much of Europe worries about the radicalization of homegrown Muslims in mosques where fiery imams exhort young minds to wage a holy war with the West, Ahmad’s path to violent jihad shows the Islamic crucibles of Athens, London and Paris can turn the Middle East’s sons against their own.
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