A Saudi-Canadian accused of masterminding propaganda and being a soldier for ISIS has been charged by a US federal court with conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization resulting in death.
For years Mohammed Khalifa was a leading propagandist for the terror group. Initially Khalifa, who also went by the moniker Abu Ridwan, was arrested by Syrian Democratic Forces in January 2019.
Since then, Khalifa has been transferred into the custody of the FBI and moved to the Eastern District of Virginia.
“As alleged, Mohammed Khalifa not only fought for ISIS on the battlefield in Syria, but he was also the voice behind the violence,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
“Through his alleged leading role in translating, narrating, and advancing ISIS’s online propaganda, Khalifa promoted the terrorist group, furthered its worldwide recruitment efforts, and expanded the reach of videos that glorified the horrific murders and indiscriminate cruelty of ISIS.”
The 38-year-old has indicated in the past that he hopes to return to Canada but does not want to be tried by Canadian courts.
Throughout his tenure narrating English videos for ISIS, Khalifa’s voice could be heard overlayed on many gruesome execution-style videos.
Authorities believe that Khalifa initially left Toronto where he was living to join ISIS in 2013. By 2014, the man was already working for ISIS’s Media Bureau due to his language skills in English and Arabic.
Prosecutors allege that Khalifa played a big role in inciting terrorists to conduct attacks on the West and actively recruiting Western sympathizers to join the group.
It is believed that Khalifa participated in the narration and translation of 15 propaganda videos.
The Canadian government has yet to charge Khalifa with any crimes.
If convicted in the US, Khalifa could face life imprisonment.