Samir Khan was not just another North Carolina kid. Pretty much from the day his family moved from New York, the Muslims in Charlotte knew that Khan was different. And not a good different.
“I remember we went to eat at this place called Wolfman Pizza, and he was sort of talking to me about his ideas on some things,” says Adam Azad. He met Khan shortly after he moved to North Carolina, and found Khan a little off-putting.
Azad recalls that during their first conversation, all Khan wanted to talk about was political Islam.
“I thought he was a little overzealous. He kept asking questions about our local mosque, and he was critical — why don’t they talk more about injustices going on around the world and stuff like that,” Azad says.
Azad, in his early 20s at the time, tried to counsel him: “I remember the exact thing I said to him: I said, you know, Samir, in this world you can’t take a hard and cold stance on everything — everything is not black or white.”
He says Khan was quiet and glowered in response.
“I could tell that he wasn’t receptive to what I was saying,” Azad says.
That appears in Dina Temple-Raston’s length report on Khan today. It’s the second in an NPR series this week on America’s little jihadists.
What makes Khan interesting is that after he gained international attention with a pro-jihad blog that railed against the U.S. and cheered gory pictures of murdered American soldiers. Last year, Khan left the United States for Yemen. He is not believed to be the editor of Al Qaeda’s online English-language magazine.