Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Qaeda-Linked Californian Confesses 'Demonic Heavy Metal' and Sloppiness

By J.M. Berger

An al Qaeda-linked suspect named by FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General John Ashcroft in a press conference Wednesday (related story) is widely published around the Internet in a short essay describing his conversion to Islam.

The essay is apparently targeted to Muslim converts and potential converts.

Adam Yahiye Gadahn, a white California native, is named as the author of a text on "Becoming Muslim." He is also wanted for questioning by U.S. authorities, who said he is not specifically suspected of directly perpetrating specific terrorist activities.

One site publishing the material is the Muslim Students Association of the University of Southern California. (external link) On this site, and others, an author claiming to be Gadahn writes:

My first seventeen years have been a bit different than the youth experienced by most Americans. I grew up on an extremely rural goat ranch in Western Riverside County, California, where my family raises on average 150 to 200 animals for milk, cheese, and meat. My father is a halal butcher [a butcher who slaughters in an Islamic manner -ed.] and supplies to an Islamic Food Mart a few blocks from the Islamic Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Gadahn also wrote:

I had become obsessed with demonic Heavy Metal music, something the rest of my family (as I now realize, rightfully so) was not happy with. My entire life was focused on expanding my music collection. I eschewed personal cleanliness and let my room reach an unbelievable state of disarray. My relationship with my parents became strained, although only intermittently so. I am sorry even as I write this.

Earlier this year, I began to listen to the apocalyptic ramblings of Christian radio's "prophecy experts." Their paranoid espousal of various conspiracy theories, rabid support of Israel and religious Zionism, and fiery preaching about the "Islamic Threat" held for me a strange fascination.
Gadahn wrote that he had been converted after learning about Islam over the Internet, in chat rooms and other online forums.