Mohammed Khalifa, 39, who was also known as Abu Ridwan Al-Kanadi and Abu Muthanna Al-Muhajir, joined the Islamic terrorist group in 2013 and was quickly given a prominent role in the Islamic State’s media arm due to his fluency in English. For his job, Khalifa translated and narrated ISIS propaganda videos that would be distributed to the English-speaking world to help radicalize and recruit fighters, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III called Khalifa “the Pied Piper who played the tune” that allowed ISIS to reach English speakers across the globe with its obscene propaganda, The Washington Post reported.
Khalifa narrated and translated around 15 videos for ISIS that were distributed. Two of the videos were especially graphic, showing ISIS fighters killing unarmed prisoners and terrorists carrying out attacks against the U.S. In one video, Khalifa and other masked terrorists kneel on prisoners who are on the ground in front of them and then execute them.
According to prosecutors, the Saudi-born terrorist was “instrumental” during Islamic State’s war in Syria, helping ISIS recruit up to 60,000 fighters for the terrorist organization as it fought to take control of the country.
During Khalifa’s time with ISIS, the terrorists killed eight American, British, and Japanese hostages in Syria between August 2014 and February 2015, the DOJ said. Their deaths were part of a brutal ISIS hostage-taking campaign that targeted foreign journalists and humanitarian workers. Khalifa said during one broadcast that the shooter who killed 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in 2016 was a “brother” who took out “filthy crusaders” and “sodomites,” according to prosecutors.
Khalifa was captured by Syrian Democratic Forces in 2019 after getting into a firefight, and according to prosecutors, he did not give up without trying to kill more Syrian soldiers. “When he had the opportunity to surrender to the Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria in 2019, the defendant threw multiple grenades and fired his AK-47 at Syrian soldiers to continue his murderous campaign on behalf of ISIS,” the prosecution said.
Khalifa was quickly turned over to U.S. custody upon his capture. He pleaded guilty in December of supporting terrorism that led to death, and he will now live the rest of his life behind bars.