Video courtesy of USA Today

(RNS) An American who lived in Minnesota and San Diego and had recently converted to Islam was killed in Syria, where he had gone to fight alongside terrorists, officials say.

A national security spokeswoman at the White House, Caitlin Hayden, confirmed the death of Douglas McCain, 33, and said U.S. officials had been aware of his presence in Syria.

McCain had traveled to Syria to join a militant group, believed to be the Islamic State, the Associated Press reported, citing a U.S. official who declined to be identified by name and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

A relative, Kenneth McCain, said the State Department had called his family to report that Douglas McCain had been killed in Syria, AP reported.

McCain lived in San Diego in recent years and was a 1999 graduate of Robbinsdale Cooper High School in Minnespota, the Star-Tribune reported.

Kenyata McCain, a cousin, said she was in touch with Douglas McCain as recently as Friday, and “he was telling all of us he was in Turkey.”

“I know that he had strong Muslim beliefs,” she said, “but I didn’t know that he was in support of ISIS. I didn’t think he would be.”

NBC cited an activist linked to the Free Syrian Army who saw the photos and said McCain was among three foreigners fighting with Islamic State who died in Syria.

Ken McCain told CNN the family was “devastated” and “just as surprised as the country” to learn of his nephew’s participation with IS. Ken McCain said his nephew converted from Christianity to Islam several years ago.

Islamic State, also called ISIS or ISIL, is waging a war aimed at building a Sunni state across a swath of Syria and Iraq. The group made global news last week with a video showing the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley.

President Obama urged Muslim nations to band together to stop the Islamic State.

McCain was born in Chicago and worked in San Diego for “Dawah — Calling to Allah,” which describes itself as a non-profit dedicated to spreading the word about Islam and inviting people to join the faith.

There are many posters on McCain’s own Facebook photo page with a Muslim theme, including an “I (heart) Allah.” Another is called “Soldiers of Allah” and shows what appear to be desert warriors striding toward the light under the headline “They are coming back.”

There are also playful entries on his Facebook page, noting that he is a fan of both the Chicago Bulls and comedian Dave Chapelle.

Much of the information on the Facebook page was stripped away sometime Wednesday.

(John Bacon and Doug Stanglin write for USA Today. Oren Dorell and William M. Welch contributed to this report.)

6 Comments

  1. Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    When you take up arms against your own country that is usually called treason. And the person who does that is usually called a traitor.
    Funny how neither word made its way into the USA Today story. Is this part of what some people claim is the mainstream media’s fanatic embrace of so-called “diversity” no matter the actions or the circumstances.

  2. “President Obama urged Muslim nations to band together to stop the Islamic State.”

    Yeah right, the Muslim nations are going to mobilize instantly and sacrifice THEIR soldiers and economic budgets in a war against fellow Muslims, merely to keep Barack Obama from getting embarrassed again. Why, SURE they will, baby!

    America, you’re gonna regret that you ever voted for that Barack Obama guy. He does NOT have a clue, and you know it. Soon you gonna eat a fresh plateful of disaster a la mode! Yum!

    • Doc,

      I don’t vote for any politician and never will..because I support God’s kingdom or heavenly government as the ONLY hope for meek persons of all nations.

      It is the ONLY government that will soon bring true peace and security, besides putting an end to all the terrible conditions on our home, planet earth, to an end!! :-D

      No politician or human government has a clue as how to fix things, and they never will. They will just remain a corrupt, selfish and greedy means of power that is abused! God’s kingdom will rule with righteousness, love and justice!!! Just imagine that!! :-D :-D :-D

  3. McCain missed the whole point of foreign jihad. Those things exist so Islamic dictatorships can send their hotheads to die in foreign countries. The point being that if they die in some foreign conflict, they can’t foment revolution at home.

    At least McCain had the good sense to die over there rather than come back and try to blow up fellow Americans. So the upside is, someone who could have ended up as a domestic terrorist, got himself killed in a conflict the US has washed its hands of.

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