Dec 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Narrator of ISIS recruitment, propaganda videos pleads guilty

Photo of the outside of the DOJ building with a sign that says "Department of Justice"
The Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Mohammed Khalifa pleaded guilty on Friday to providing material support to the Islamic State via the violent propaganda videos he narrated in English that were part of the the terrorist group's campaign to recruit Westerners.

Why it matters: Federal prosecutors said the videos that Khalifa narrated showed explicit footage of terrorists executing and decapitating prisoners — with the 38-year-old Canadian citizen participating in some of the cases.

Details: Inspired by al-Qaeda's Anwar al-Awlaki, Khalifa traveled to Syria in 2013 and joined ISIS, fighting on the battlefield in addition to narrating the propaganda videos, according to prosecutors.

  • Syrian Defense Forces captured him in 2019, and the FBI gained custody earlier this year. The Justice Department filed charges against him in the Eastern District of Virginia.
  • U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III has accepted Khalifa's plea.

What's next: Khalifa, who is scheduled for sentencing on April 15, faces up to life in prison.

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