Alleged English-speaking narrator of ISIS propaganda videos facing federal charges

A man who is accused of being the English-speaking narrator on multiple recruitment videos for the Islamic State (ISIS) is facing federal charges, federal prosecutors announced Saturday.

Mohammed Khalifa, 38, is a Saudi-born Canadian citizen who spearheaded ISIS’ English media and served as an ISIS fighter, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Khalifa has been charged with conspiring to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, resulting in death. He faces up to life in prison if convicted. 

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“As alleged, Mohammed Khalifa not only fought for ISIS on the battlefield in Syria, but he was also the voice behind the violence,” Raj Parekh, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement.

Khalifa, who also goes by “Abu Ridwan Al-Kanadi” and “Abu Muthanna Al-Muhajir,” traveled to Syria to join ISIS in November 2013. He was recruited to join ISIS’s media bureau in 2014 because he was fluent in both English and Arabic, the agency said.  

The Justice Department said that much of Khalifa’s work was “aimed at enticing ISIS supporters to travel to ISIS-controlled areas to join ISIS or to conduct attacks in the West,” including the United States.

The agency alleges that Khalifa assisted in translating and narrating approximately 15 videos distributed by ISIS. He narrated the infamous movie trailer-style video “Flames of War: Fighting Has Just Begun” released in 2014, as well as its 2017 sequel “Flames of War II: Until the Final Hour.”

Khalifa’s unit also publicized videos depicting the murders of American reporters James Foley and Steven Sotloff, an FBI affidavit stated. The unit also publicized the murders of American aid worker Peter Kassig and two Japanese citizens.

Syrian Democratic Forces captured Khalifa in January 2019 after a firefight between ISIS fighters and the SDF. He was recently transferred to FBI custody in Virginia.