Despite his failed attempts at joining the Islamic State, Redzepagic continued to express that he supported the terrorist organization and sympathized with their cause…
Make no mistake—ISIS is a dangerous organization that recruits worldwide on a regular basis. They infiltrate societies and scout them out for new terrorists. Much of the time, they target young people and brainwash them into becoming violent extremists.
These young people will believe just about anything. The Islamic State makes promises to their recruits in order to secure their loyalty, and that’s just one of their tactics. Terrorists like those in ISIS have a large presence online and often use that as a means to communicate with prospective recruits. It seems like it wouldn’t be very hard to join such a disgusting group of people if someone were so inclined. For a Long Island man named Elvis Redzepagic, it wasn’t so easy.
Redzepagic traveled to the Middle East twice to join the Islamic State, believing that his cousin was already a member of the terrorist group. The first time, he traveled to Turkey and attempted to cross the border into Syria. He was unsuccessful and couldn’t find anyone who would help him, so he called it a day and returned to the United States. In 2016, he gave it another go and traveled to Jordan to attempt the border crossing into Syria. No luck. He was sent back to the United States by Jordanian officials. Upon returning stateside, he told customs officials that he took the trip in order to learn Arabic. His cousin has yet to be identified.
Despite his failed attempts at joining the Islamic State, Redzepagic continued to express support for the terrorist organization and sympathy fortheir cause. Additionally, he expressed admiration for an Al-Qaeda cleric who was killed by a drone strike in 2011. It was reported that Redzepagic didn’t consider fighting alongside ISIS in Syria to be domestic terrorism. He also asserted that he didn’t wish to harm innocent people, although told authorities that he would be happy to strap on a bomb and sacrifice himself for jihad. The thought process in this man is clearly absent.
Redzepagic was also arrested for jumping a subway turnstile; incredibly, not only is he unable to join an extremist organization that actively recruits new followers, but he can’t even manage to successfully sneak onto public transportation. I highly doubt that this man would fit in with the likes of ISIS. Redzepagic’s own family said that he’s troubled. Regardless, he still deliberately attempted to join a terrorist organization twice. This further illustrates how dangerous ISIS can be, and how they have the potential to recruit from within the United States. Since they gladly accept foreign fighters, I have no doubt that Redzepagic would have participated in violent acts against the United States if he had been given the opportunity he sought with the Islamic State.
Angelina Newsom is an OpsLens Contributor and U.S. Army Veteran. She has ten years experience in the military, including a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She studies Criminal Justice and is still active within the military community.
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