A teacher from Texas could be facing 20 years behind bars and a fine of up to $250,000 for attempting to help the terrorist group ISIS in Syria.
Warren Christopher Clark was captured in the Middle Eastern country by Kurdish militia along with a group of ISIS militants early in January, reports NBC News. Following his capture, he was turned over to the U.S. forces, and given a military escort back to Houston where he will face the charges for his involvement with the group.
He appeared in court on Thursday in front of federal Judge Peter McBray.
The particular charge he faces is “providing material support to ISIS,” in the form of himself. Court documents after his initial appearance show that he explained he is a Muslim convert, and offered to use his experience as a substitute teacher to help the group learn English. He denies ever getting involved in the military aspect of ISIS.
Clark was kept by the Kurdish forces for a number of weeks, but he wasn’t the only expat discovered with ISIS. Another American, who has yet to be publicly identified, was also captured.
Despite the heinous acts of the group, Clark has stated he has no regrets about his decision to get involved with them, even going so far as to excuse the ruthless slaughter of innocent people by ISIS with a bizarre explanation.
“I wanted to go see exactly what the group was about, and what they were doing,” Clark said. “Of course I saw the videos. I think with the beheadings, that’s execution. I’m from the United States, from Texas. They like to execute people, too. So I really don’t see any difference. They might do it off camera, but it’s the same.”
Researchers in the George Washington University Program on Extremism were the first to realize that Clark had joined ISIS’s cause, when they discovered his resume in a house in Iraq.
In the letter, he explained that he has a degree from the University of Houston, and has been working as a teacher. Aside from his job as a substitute, he had also worked in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and wanted to “get a position teaching English to students in the Islamic State.”
“The FBI continues to aggressively pursue individuals who attempt to join the ranks of ISIS’s foreign fighters or try to provide support for other terrorist organizations. This fight against terrorism is not one we can combat alone,” said Perrye Turner, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Houston.