Should This American Man Who Left Texas to Join ISIS Be Jailed Despite Changing His Mind in Istanbul?

by Cassy Fiano | September 8, 2015 8:13 am

Westerners leaving civilized society to join the animals with ISIS is nothing new — nor is it surprising that many of those westerners come to deeply regret their decision once they see what the reality of joining a terrorist cult is. But what happens if someone regrets their decision right away, and turns back before they get the chance to join?

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A young Texan who was living in Australia when he decided to join ISIS made it as far as the airport in Istanbul, Turkey, before his family duped him into coming home before he could make it to Syria.

Asher Abid Khan was arrested in the Houston-area suburb of Spring in May of 2015 after the FBI found out about his February 2014 change of heart via his Facebook and other communications.

The 20-year-old was charged with conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State and he faces up to 15 years in federal prison if convicted, but his family still insists he did nothing wrong.

Khan’s father Mohammed Abid Khan, who helped concoct a story about his wife being sick in order to get his son to fly home to Texas, thinks the charge is bogus, the Washington Post reported.

He said: ‘He doesn’t want to go to Syria.

‘That’s what he told us.

‘This is unfair. He did not do anything.’

Federal prosecutors opposed bail, but a magistrate judge ordered the young man to live under house arrest and wear an ankle bracelet in advance of his trial which is set to start later on this year.

Judge Lynn Hughes upheld the decision during an appeal hearing despite being told Khan wanted to die fighting in Syria.

The judge said: ‘A man devoted to become a martyr would not turn around.’

Khan’s defense attorney, Thomas Berg, shares similar sentiments to the judge and called the evidence the government has against his client ‘a lot of talk and Facebook crap’.

Berg said: ‘He came home and did the right thing.

‘If the government was smart, they would exploit that.

‘My kid could go to the mosques and talk about redemption.’

Khan may not have joined ISIS, but he did still tell friends that he wanted to die as a martyr, and had applied for a visa to Australia before being arrested. He did do the right thing by not joining ISIS, but that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be held accountable for his decision to join with them in the first place, or that we can automatically trust that he doesn’t still harbor terrorist tendencies.

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