How a Queens Kid Became an al-Qaeda Fighter

'Impressionable' punk fan radicalized himself in search for structure
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2009 3:34 PM CDT
How a Queens Kid Became an al-Qaeda Fighter
The cover of the book 'Inside the Jihad,' which was found amongst Bryant Neal Vinas' possessions.

(Newser) – Just before he left to become an al-Qaeda fighter 2 years ago, Long Island native Bryant Neal Vinas left a box of mementos. Inside were all-American keepsakes like Yankee caps, alongside dog tags and a copy of Inside the Jihad, a book by a spy who infiltrated al-Qaeda. That was when friend Victor Kuilan knew Vinas, a shy, straightedge punk kid, was serious about going to Pakistan to “defend Islam.”

Kuilan thinks Vinas had been searching for structure since his parents’ divorce. Another friend described him as "looking for something" and "very, very impressionable." Kuilan introduced him to Islam, and soon Vinas was delving into extremist literature. But when he told fellow worshipers he wanted to join the jihad against America, “another guy at the mosque slapped him and asked him why he would want to do that.” But Vinas was undeterred. He tried other mosques and eventually set out for Pakistan. (Read more Bryant Neal Vinas stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.

X