A British medical student who lived with and gained the trust of Islamic State militants has news for Americans: They’re planning a bigger splash than merely beheading kidnap victims.
“They are full of hate. You can see fire in their eye,” Ahmad Rashidi told NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” “If you smell like European, they are going to kill you.”
Rashidi said his odyssey began when, at the request of a friend, he traveled from London to Syria in search of the friend’s twin teenage daughters, who had left home to become terrorists’ brides.
Against all odds, Rashidi said, he located one of the girls in the small city of Manbij in northern Iraq. But before he could rescue the girl, he was taken prisoner and tortured, accused of being a spy and a journalist.
“In the first one week, two weeks, it was brutal,” Rashidi told Engel.
Eventually, though, Rashidi, a first-year medical student, said he gained the jihadists’ trust by claiming he was a physician who wanted to join their cause.
He was soon permitted to roam freely through Islamic State facilities, and even log on to one of its computers. That’s how he learned the terrorists aren’t as disconnected from the rest of the world as he’d thought.
Rather than worry about the U.S. bombing campaign, Rashidi said, Islamic State is “happy about it,” because the attention has elevated the group’s status to that of al-Qaida.
“They want to be more better than al-Qaida,” he said. “They want to do something more better than the World Trade Center.”
Rashini was cleared by an Islamic State court on condition he remain in Syria to work for the cause. Instead, he slipped across the border into Turkey.
Watch the full interview above, via NBC News.