BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A 17-year-old student from Virginia who has been arrested for recruiting for terrorist group ISIS once worked for an Alabama website, according to a report by the Washington Post.
The male teen, whose name has not been disclosed, is currently being charged as a minor, though prosecutors are seeking to charge him as an adult.
He recently was a paid writer for an Alabama-based digital currency website Coin Brief. The website’s editor, Dustin O’Bryant, told press the teen was a very religious muslim, but “He did not come across as radical in any way.”
“He was a brilliant kid,” O’Bryant said. “His English wasn’t perfect, but I was willing to overlook that because the content was great.”
The accused teen was outspoken about his religious beliefs on social media, but complied when O’Bryant asked him to leave religion out of what he wrote for Coin Brief.
O’Bryant told the Washington Post that the teen asked for a few months off at the end of 2014, saying “personal matters” were interfering with his availability to work.
The FBI reportedly investigated the teen for a month before making the arrest. He allegedly helped a man get to Syria to fight for ISIS, using social media and the internet to guide the man to the terrorist group.
Researchers from the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence estimate that more than 20,000 foreign fighters have joined ISIS—including about 4,000 westerners. According to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, approximately 180 Americans have gone or tried to go to Syria since the conflict began, and about 40 have returned back to the United States.
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— Elizabeth BeShears (@LizEBeesh) January 21, 2015