A veteran combatant with the Islamic State group says he’s been “scared straight” from terrorism by a recent National Rifle Association video featuring country music legend Charlie Daniels.
Mustafa Siddiqi told The Associated Press that he decided to swear off jihad after coming across on social media Daniels’ 1-minute message titled “You Haven’t Met America,” espousing the toughness of the American people.
“Even though Mr. Daniels said he was addressing ‘the Ayatollahs of Iran and every terrorist’ they enable, all of whom are Shia, and the Islamic State is a Sunni group, I felt like he was speaking directly to me,” Siddiqi recalled. “He really opened my eyes to how Americans really are a bunch of badasses.”
Siddiqi said Daniels’ description of President Barack Obama as a “fresh-faced flower child” arrested his attention.
“I’ve seen some crazy stuff in my three years with the Islamic State — drownings, beheadings, people burned alive — but that old man talking to the camera in a language I don’t speak scared the shit out of me.”
“Mr. Obama ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden, as well as countless people — both terrorists and innocent civilians — with drone strikes. If he is considered by his own people to be some sort of naive pacifist who despises violence, the American people must be absolute savages!” Siddiqi explained.
“I’ve seen some crazy stuff in my three years with the Islamic State — drownings, beheadings, people burned alive — but that old man talking to the camera in a language I don’t speak scared the shit out of me,” Siddiqi said. “When he started talking about people with ‘bloody, calloused, bare hands’ defending their country and ‘swamp folks in Cajun country who can wrestle a full-grown gator out of the water,’ I immediately said to myself, ‘Fuck the caliphate. I quit.'”
The video closes with Daniels saying, “No, you’ve never met America. And you oughta pray you never do. I’m the National Rifle Association of America, and I’m freedom’s safest place.” It’s a sentiment Siddiqi said resonated with him.
“When he said I should pray I never meet America,” Siddiqi stated, “I dropped to my knees right there and prayed to Allah and begged him to deliver me from ever coming across one of these real Americans.”
Siddiqi said he no longer prescribes to IS’ extremist doctrine, adding he plans on returning to his home in the United Arab Emirates, where he will resume his previous career as a dung peddler.