'Voice of the Violence': US Issues Terrorism Charge Against Canadian Who Narrated Daesh Propaganda

CC0 / / Daesh fighter
Daesh fighter - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.10.2021
Mohammed Khalifa, a Saudi-born Canadian citizen with ties to the Daesh* media arm, was captured by Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces following a firefight in January 2019, and has remained in local custody until recently. Khalifa allegedly served as the English-speaking narrator for multiple propaganda pieces, including recruitment videos.
Khalifa, 38, has been charged by the US government with conspiracy to provide material support to Daesh, resulting in death following years of alleged assistance to the terrorist group's English Media Section, a criminal complaint unsealed on Saturday revealed.
The complaint, filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, noted that the suspected militant is now under the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Khalifa served as a lead translator for the Daesh media arm, and provided English-language narration for propaganda videos, including a notorious post featuring the August 2014 beheading of American journalist James Foley.
According to the complaint, Khalifa has been with the group since 2013, when he first arrived in Syria to fight alongside Daesh. He was later assigned to the Daesh Media Bureau due to his fluency in English and Arabic.
Mark J. Lesko, acting assistant attorney general for the DoJ's National Security Division, said that the criminal complaint comes as a "first step" in holding the alleged terrorist accountable for his actions.

"As alleged in the complaint, the defendant and others engaged in a wide-ranging conspiracy to provide material support to [Daesh], with the conspirators serving the terrorist organisation in a variety of capacities", the DoJ official said. "As alleged, that conspiracy resulted in the death of numerous others at the hands of [Daesh] members and fighters".

During a 2019 interview with The New York Times, Khalifa said that he was "just the voice" accompanying the violent - sometimes gory - videos. He also stated that he did not regret his role.
Raj Parekh, acting US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, argued that Khalifa's voice assisted in the spread of, and recruitment for, the terrorist group.

"Through his alleged leading role in translating, narrating, and advancing [Daesh'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 [Daesh]", Parekh said.

He also emphasised Khalifa's alleged role in combat.

"As alleged, Mohammed Khalifa not only fought for [Daesh] on the battlefield in Syria, but he was also the voice behind the violence".

Khalifa has denied committing any killings during his time with the terrorist group.
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is recognised as a terrorist organisation, and has been banned in many countries including Russia.
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