A self-confessed 'American jihadist' has released an online autobiography chronicling his journey from what he called his 'privileged' childhood in Alabama to the top of America's most wanted list as an al-Qaeda terrorist in Somalia. Omar Hammami, whose jihadist nom de guerre is Abu Mansur al-Amriki, said he was releasing the first part of his memoir, "The Story of an American Jihaadi, Part One," because of the "unpredictable nature" of his chosen life. Indeed, Hammami faces danger from both the United States, with unmanned aerial drones constantly buzzing overhead hunting for men just like him, as well as from his fellow jihadists, who he says want to kill him over "differences regarding matters of Sharia and strategy."
The publication of the memoir ends widespread speculation which began in April when unconfirmed reports from mainstream media outlets such as Fox News claimed that Hammami was beheaded by rival factions of al-Shaabab, the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group which the American joined shortly after entering the East African country in 2006. Hammami had helped fuel speculation of his demise when he released a video in March in which he said his life had been threatened by some of his comrades. "I record this message today because I feel my life may be endangered by Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahadeen due to some differences that occurred between us regarding matters of Shariah and matters of strategy," he declares in the video, which was produced at an unknown location, presumably in Somalia. In his memoir, the 28-year-old Daphne, Alabama native fondly recalls that he was "brought up like most of the children in America," celebrating Christmas and birthdays and hunting with family like one of "the good old boys" of the South. The son of a Syrian father (just like Steve Jobs, he writes) and a Southern Baptist mother, Hammami recounts the religious awakening he experienced as a teenager that led him to to Islam. In 2002, in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Hammami dropped out of college and moved to Toronto, Canada to study "blacklisted" Islamic books. While there, he married a Somali woman and the couple gave birth to a baby girl. But jihad called, and soon the family relocated to Egypt where Hammami met Daniel Maldonado, a fellow American jihadist. Maldonado helped him travel to Somalia, a journey his wife was not willing to make. "She refused to come to Somalia and insisted that I should simply come back to Canada and live happily ever after (fat chance!)," he writes in his memoir. Hammami struck out on his own, joining al-Shabaab shortly after arriving in Somalia. The publication of his autobiography, which is dated May 16, 2012 and signed "still alive and well," was met with relief by Debra Hammami, Omar's mother.
"The silence has been devastating," she told ABC News at her home in Daphne, Alabama on Thursday. "I don't agree with the ideology of any of that, but I do love my son and I do have that motherly love." "If I could touch him for five minutes, I would be thrilled," she added. Omar Hammami has given just one media interview in recent months. After viewing Current TV's 2010 documentary "American Jihadi," he contacted Vanguard correspondent Christof Putzel, who asked him if he would ever consider surrendering to the U.S.
"Of course not! I didn't leave America for a thrill ride with the hopes of finding a get out of jail free card at the end of the boardwalk," he told Current TV's Putzel from an undisclosed location, referring to the popular board game "Monopoly.""This is a struggle of creed, culture and civilization that won't end until Islam is supreme," he added. "My life is just one drop in the bucket... I wouldn't trade the blessing of martyrdom in this cause for anything in this world or even all of it ten times over."
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