Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | isis | american leader | john georgelas

Author Profiles the Ascendancy of an American Leader in ISIS

Image: Author Profiles the Ascendancy of an American Leader in ISIS

(Spenser Heaps/The Deseret News via AP)

By    |   Friday, 16 Dec 2016 10:49 AM

John Georgelas was not unlike a lot of kids trying to find their footing growing up in America, but very few find their way to atop the world's most insidious terrorist group, author Graeme Wood writes for The Atlantic.

Georgelas is a name long left behind by the North Texas Greek kid who would become Yahya, Arabic for John, and then Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir — the top spokesman for ISIS.

Yahya's ascendancy to the top spot of ISIS' propaganda machine came after the August death of Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, who was killed in by a drone strike in Syria, the group announced.

Georgelas' parents tell Wood of a boy who grew up in an affluent family but was a classic underachiever and follower, easily influenced by older kids.

"He's no one I recognize anymore," his father, Tim, told Wood. "I'm not looking out for what he's doing, or how he's doing, because I'm not sure it makes any difference."

With no word from John since 2014, all that remains of their son are his four children, whom they help take care of with John's ex-wife, who made a harrowing escape from Syria in 2013, never to see her erstwhile husband again.

Wood writes that what John's parents missed about their son is haunting.

"They didn't know how evil their son had become, or how coolly competent. Like other parents of jihadists, they see him as they wish to see him — as the youngster who bumbled through classes, sneaked spliffs, and struggled to hold down jobs," Wood wrote.

"There is comfort in imagining that he remains hapless, and perhaps that his Islam is just another phase. They would be more troubled by the truth — which is that their son, a failure in so many prior pursuits, has found his calling."

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John Georgelas was not unlike a lot of kids trying to find their footing growing up in America, but very few find their way to atop the world's most insidious terrorist group, author Graeme Wood writes for The Atlantic.
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Friday, 16 Dec 2016 10:49 AM
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