Over time, certain individuals were introduced to me that changed the course of my journey. Being a revert (convert) and impressionable, I was vulnerable prey and acquainted with predators. After taking shahaadah, I was given many telephone numbers for contacts. The first contact being from a brother named Yusuf eagerly seeking my attendance to reinstate a revert support group dismantled after the founder left the country. I’d encounter numerous brothers attempting to recruit me into their organizations. My hesitation to partake in many activities perhaps saved my life. The claims by brothers who left us for “Arabic studies” or “humanitarian work” overseas caught my suspicion. Some actually went for jihaad; one brother returned very depressed from qitaal (warfare, fighting) in Iraq. Yet, even with all precautions, the dreadable risk of having “tea with terrorists” supervened. When over a dozen Muslims were arrested on terrorism-related charges, we discovered one “suspect” was from my close-knit clique of brothers, passing his house hundreds of times while he plotted using three metric tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Reverts were wandering sheep that had to be extra cautious of acquaintances.
Warning to “reverts.” Keep your eyes open and don’t fall for scammers and sinister types who want your future to end with driving a suicide carbomb through Diyala with your hands and feet handcuffed to the steering wheel and accelerator and waiting for the timer to go off.