US Charges Canadian Who Narrated Islamic State Videos
A Canadian jihadist who fought for the Islamic State group and narrated violent propaganda videos has been taken into custody by the United States and charged, the Justice Department said Saturday.
Mohammed Khalifa, 38 and born in Saudi Arabia, was captured during a firefight in January 2019 by Kurdish-dominated Syrian forces allied with the U.S.
He was handed over “recently” to U.S. authorities and charged in Virginia with conspiring to provide material support to IS resulting in death, a Justice Department statement said.
It said he left Canada in 2013 to join the Islamic State group in Syria and by the next year had become a key member of its propaganda team because of his fluent English and Arabic.
Khalifa allegedly served as a lead translator in Islamic State propaganda production and was the English-speaking narrator on two violent recruitment videos.
This cell was behind videos showing the beheadings of foreigners including the U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who died in 2014.
‘Voice behind the violence’
In an exchange of emails cited in the charge sheet, Khalifa defended these killings.
“Mohammed Khalifa not only fought for ISIS on the battlefield in Syria, but he was also the voice behind the violence,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia, using another acronym for the Islamic State group.
“Through his alleged leading role in translating, narrating and advancing ISIS’s online propaganda, Khalifa promoted the terrorist group, furthered its worldwide recruitment efforts, and expanded the reach of videos that glorified the horrific murders and indiscriminate cruelty of ISIS,” Parekh said.
This was the first known indictment of a foreign IS fighter in America since President Joe Biden took office in January.