From NBC News:
Just a few weeks ago a Catholic-born, American man –- a former military school student, special forces aspirant, law enforcement officer and bodybuilder – set off on a path far from any he’d envisioned for himself as a kid in North Carolina: on the other side of the world, in Lebanon, he was trying to figure out how to get into Syria and join ISIS, the most radical, bloodthirsty terrorist group of our times.
Don Morgan, 44, said he was answering a higher calling.
“It was months and months and months of asking Allah to guide me or to give me the answers I needed,” he told NBC News in an exclusive interview this summer in Beirut.
Morgan answered our questions on camera as asked by a freelance journalist. Morgan believed U.S. and other law enforcement agencies were already on his trail. He said he knew his desire to join ISIS would likely get him into trouble with American authorities.
This is a really long article, but it is a pretty worthwhile read as it does a pretty good job helping explain the mindset of people who decide to leave the US to become jihadis.
One revealing quote from later on in the piece was here:
But Morgan does not view himself as a terrorist. “I would not classify myself as a radical, but by western definition I would be classified as a radical,” he said. “I just consider myself to be a practicing Muslim.”
As I’ve said before, I am not trying to assert that his understanding of Islam is the “orthodox” view of Islam (I don’t know enough about Islam to say one way or another). But we are fooling ourselves if we don’t acknowledge that there are a subset of Muslims who hold this view.