Samir Khan is an Arab member of Al Qaeda who was born in Saudi Arabia. That's perfectly normal. Saudis are very enthusiastic about Al Qaeda and Islam generally, and 14 out of 19
of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. What makes him unusual is that he acquired US citizenship at some point in his life, before going to Yemen to do online blogging for Al Qaeda. The best explanation of his status is in the recent news is the headline Samir Khan Saudi-Born US Citizen Behind Al Qaeda Magazine
, from Buzzyblog Other headlines are less useful:
- N. Carolina Man Appears to Be Top Editor of Al Qaeda Magazine, U.S. Officials Say,By Cristina Corbin,FoxNews.com,July 19, 2010
- Author of Al Qaeda Magazine Reportedly an American Citizen,New York Magazine,July 18, 2010
- US citizen behind Al Qaeda magazine, Yahoo News, July 18, 2010
- Radicalized U.S. Citizen Writing Al-Qaeda’s Inspire Mag From Yemen, July 19, 2010
These headlines don't make the basic point that Samir Khan is a Saudi by birth, owing allegiance to the King Of Saudi Arabia, and a Muslim, owing allegiance to the Islam, which frequently means making war on infidels. The last one is definitely a mistake—Khan isn't an American who was radicalized, he's a Saudi who never became Americanized. Ameircan Taliban John Walker Lindh
was an American who converted to Islam and became radicalized, Beltway Sniper
John Allan Muhammad was an American who joined the Nation of Islam, and became radicalized, but Samir Khan was a Saudi, and in Saudi Arabia, they're brought up
radical. Unlike Yaser Esam Hamdi
, a Saudi who happened to be born in America while his parents were working on visas, Samir Khan became a citizen as an adult, which means took the Oath of Allegiance.
”I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen.”
This language sounds old-fashioned to some Americans, but it's not—there are a lot of place ruled by princes and potentates. But the oath is not self-enforcing. When John Derbyshire
or Craig Ferguson
took the Oath of Allegiance, they meant it, and you can trust them not to run off and commit terrorism on behalf of the Queen Of England. When Samir Khan took it, he didn't mean it. In fact, a lot of modern naturalized citizens don't mean it.
We'll be writing more about this later.