A Catholic-born former police officer from North Carolina attempted to join the Islamic State (ISIS) and "officially" pledged his allegiance to its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, NBC News reported
Don Morgan converted to radical Islam after dropping out of the National Guard boot camp, which would have prepared him to fight in Kuwait during Desert Storm. He said he was first exposed to Islam during a religion class at college.
"My reason for the support of ISIS is because they've proven time and time again to put Islamic law as the priority and the establishment of an Islamic state as the goal," said Morgan, 44, who once intended to join the Army's special forces.
Morgan had planned to get to Syria from Turkey but was stopped at the airport in Istanbul.
"It was planned," he told NBC. "I purchased the ticket with the intent of entering to Syria, either joining up with medical and food aid convoys or directly with Islamic State."
Morgan returned to the United States but was arrested on Aug. 2 at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York and put in prison for trying to sell a rifle online. At a court appearance, prosecutors highlighted comments he made on Twitter and Facebook about his devotion to the extremist group.
Before his conversion to Islam, Morgan served as deputy sheriff at a local police department in North Carolina but was fired from his job after 18 months. He subsequently served two years in prison for firing a gun into a crowded restaurant.
"I would not classify myself as a radical, but by Western definition I would be classified as a radical," he told NBC. "I just consider myself to be a practicing Muslim."
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