A 19-year-old American left a letter for his parents expressing disgust with Western society, before trying to board a plane in Chicago, the first step in his plan to sneak into Syria to join the Islamic State group, according to a federal criminal complaint released on Monday.
Mohammed Hamzah Khan, a U.S. citizen who lived with his parents in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook, was arrested Saturday while trying to board a plane to Turkey, which borders Syria, at O’Hare International Airport. He is charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group.
Before heading to the airport, Khan allegedly left a three-page, handwritten letter in his bedroom for his parents, explaining why he chose to join the Islamic State. The letter, according to the complaint, read: “We are all witness that the western societies are getting more immoral day by day.”
Investigators say Khan also wrote that he was upset that his U.S. taxes were going to kill his “Muslim brothers and sisters,” an apparent reference to a bombing campaign against the Islamic State by the U.S and other nations. The letter was signed, “Your loving son.”
Khan appeared in a federal court Monday in orange jail clothes, calmly telling a federal magistrate that he understood the allegations.
Around 12 Americans are believed to be fighting in Syria now, FBI Director James Comey has said. More than 100 Americans have either tried to go to Syria and were arrested, or went and came back to the U.S., Comey said, without offering more details.