NEW YORK (NBC News) — A New York City man who admits he betrayed his country by joining ISIS has come out of the shadows to tell publicly for the first time how he was seduced by the terrorist organization, why he fled after five months and how he’s helping the FBI.
In an exclusive interview with NBC News — which aired Sunday night on “On Assignment” — the 27-year-old describes how his life took a dark turn while he was a student at elite Columbia University.
In a course called Muslims in Diaspora, he watched the controversial Dutch film “Submission,” which depicts a woman in a sheer burqa with passages from the Koran written on her nude body. The man, who is being identified only as Mo, told NBC News that he found the video “really humiliating” and he turned to the Internet for answers to his questions about Islam.
“I started compromising my American side for my Islamic side,” Mo said.
It was the beginning of a journey that would lead him into the heart of ISIS territory in Syria — and then back to the United States, where he is in federal custody, facing up to 25 years in prison, and cooperating with authorities.