ISIL bomber’s father: My son was radicalised in Ukraine

Jordanian MP Mazen Dalaeen’s son, Mohamed, left his life as a medical student in Ukraine to join armed group in Iraq.

The father of a Jordanian youth, who blew himself up in a suicide bombing in Iraq last week, has told Al Jazeera that his son joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group after he was brainwashed by recruiters.

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Jordanian Member of Parliament Mazen Dalaeen said on Sunday that his son, Mohamed, was recruited by an Azerbaijani couple living in the northeastern Ukrainian town of Kharkov.

The couple was actively recruiting young impressionable Muslim students to join the ranks of ISIL in Syria and Iraq, he said.

The bereaved father said that the active network that brainwashed his son consisted of a man who went by the name of “Ibrahim” and his wife, who recruited women and went by the name of “Sumayah”.

Mohamed and his Ukrainian wife joined ISIL along with a Chechen and Tunisian couple.

Dalaeen insisted that ISIL has active recruiters around the world who take advantage of young Muslims and brainwash them into thinking that they are fighting for a “higher cause”. 

The father said that his son, who was 23, was in his third year of medical school and married to a Ukrainian woman, who also traveled with him to Iraq last February.

Mohamed and his wife left Ukraine for Turkey in June, and from there, they crossed the borders into Iraq.

Dalaeen, who was in Ukraine at the time, was unaware of Mohamed’s plans to leave Ukraine to join the ranks of ISIL.

“I only found out that he was in Turkey a day after he got there. Had I known that he was travelling there, I would have stopped him,” he said.

‘Un-Islamic life’

The father also said that he travelled to Ukraine often to check up on his son and has had numerous discussions with him about ISIL, trying to convince him that he should first focus on his studies and return to Jordan, but it was of no avail. 

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“My son was here in Jordan last January, and I did not notice any extremist behaviour or religious views on his part up until he left Jordan to be back in Ukraine to resume his studies.”

Ironically the suicide bomber was from the same tribe as the Jordanian pilot Muath Kassasbeh, who was burned alive by ISIL earlier this year.

Dalaeen said that he tried on three occasions to bring his son back to Jordan using governmental and non-governmental channels, but each time, his son rebuffed his efforts – telling him through text messaging that he was convinced of his choice to join ISIL. Instead, he asked his parents to leave the un-Islamic life in Jordan behind and join him in the “Islamic state”.

Dalaeen said that he was accepting condolences from the community not because he endorsed his son’s choices, but because he “felt as a father first” and had lost a part him when his son left and killed himself in the suicide bombing last week. “I lost the dearest thing to me, a part of me is now gone.”

Other ISIL recruits

Raqi Rawashdeh, the president of the Jordanian community in Kharkov, told Al Jazeera that he knew Mohamed ever since he came to Ukraine to study four years ago.

Rawashdeh said that young Mohamed was never religious or harboured any extremist views or ideology.

However, things changed in the last four months when Mohamed decided to sport a beard and started exhibiting ultra-religious views.

Another young Jordanian, Abdallah Kafaween, who hailed from the same town of Kerak as Mohamed, has joined the ranks of ISIL along with is Ukrainian wife, Rawashdeh also told Al Jazeera.

Kafaween is presumably living in Iraq and his fate is unknown at this point.

Ukraine is home to nearly 5,000 Jordanian students, out of which approximately 1,500 students live in Kharkov.

Source: Al Jazeera