A South Korean teen and known ISIS sympathizer is believed to have defected from his country to join the Islamic militant group after being declared missing in Turkey and following several postings on social media expressing his interest in joining the terrorist organization. If “Kim” has, in fact, joined ISIS, he will be the first person from South Korea to have done so.
The news of Kim’s possible defection to join ISIS militants comes on the heels of a November announcement from a Singapore official with the United Nations Security Council that over 350 Southeast Asians are believed to be in Iraq and Syria fighting with ISIS. North and South Korea are part of Northeast Asia. Over 300 Chinese citizens have also joined ISIS since December of 2014.
Kim’s Twitter profile reportedly donned a picture of an ISIS flag, and he frequently tweeted, “I want to join,” asking to meet “brothers,” according to CNN. The term “brother” is often used in Islam to address and pay reference to a fellow Muslim. In October, Kim had started asking his mother if he could visit Turkey, saying he would be more astute in his school work in exchange for a trip there.
That same month, he tweeted, “I hate feminist” [sic] and “So I like the isis” in English, not Korean. He also frequently retweeted the group’s Arabic posts and lamented that “male [sic] are being discriminated against,” CNN notes.
Police say Kim had established a relationship with someone he met on Twitter and continued communicating with the person over an encrypted messaging service. British Prime Minister David Cameron has recently made efforts to ban encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp and SnapChat in an attempt to thwart ISIS terrorists from recruiting more European citizens online.
Kim reportedly arrived in Turkey with a Korean guardian on January 8, but he went missing two days later from a hotel in Kilis, a city near the country’s Syrian border.
ISIS has declared the areas it has captured in Iraq and Syria in the name of jihad to be the capital of the Islamic Caliphate. The terrorist group now reportedly has its sights set on what is largely seen by the Muslim population as the holiest city in the world, Mecca. They are also targeting the city of Medina, which is the second-holiest city in Islam and also the burial place of Muhammad. The two cities are approximately 210 miles apart.
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