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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Samir Khan killed in Yemen

Samir Khan's parents were worried about their son's radical thoughts and turned to their Islamic leaders for help. His father, Zafar Khan, a Pakistani American and successful technology executive, bought his family a two storey home near a golf course in Charlotte, a neighbourhood where most kids went to college. He gave his son every opportunity to achieve whatever he wanted to be, but didn't expect him to choose the dangerous path of jihad.

Samir Kahn described himself as a "traitor to America because my religion requires me to be one" and spent several years editing a website that supported al-Qaida. He relied on his US right to free speech to become more vocal about his fury at American foreign policy but when he found he was being closely watched by the FBI, he cut off all ties with his family and went to live in Yemen in 2009.

He came to America with his parents when he was seven and grew up in Queens, New York and didn't move to Charlotte until he was a teenager. It is thought that by that time, his thoughts of jihad were firmly established. Yesterday he was killed in a drone strike in Yemen at the age of 25.

After the September 11 attacks, his father became so alarmed by his radical views that he arranged an intervention of sorts with Islamic scholars who tried to change his thinking. But it was no use, he listened and promised to change but his mind was already made up and there was no turning back.

He wanted to start a "media jihad" war and went to Yemen to promote the Muslim extremist message to the English-speaking world. He started a magazine called Inspire - the latest issue includes an article entitled "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom."

American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsular is also reported to have been killed in the drone strike.