A graduate known for blogging his support of al Qaeda and terrorism was killed on Sept. 30 in a drone strike in Yemen that also took the life of the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and two other men, according to the New York Times.
Samir Khan, 25, and a 2003 graduate of Clarke, became enthralled with radical thoughts of terrorism, and he took to the Internet to share them after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Khan believed the battle online was just as important as the battle on the ground, and that concerned his mother and father.
From the New York Times:
His parents — by all accounts a low-key, respected couple who had moved south from Queens in 2004 — were worried about the increasingly radical nature of their son’s philosophy and the increasing media reports that exposed it.
Despite his family's efforts, Khan left his Charlotte home in 2009 to head to Yemen, where he allegedly started Inspire Magazine, which recently drew worldwide attention for encouraging celebration of the Sept. 11 attacks. The magazine was discussed on TV shows throughout the country, including CNN's "The Situation Room" and Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report."
Khan's publication also featured political and how-to articles written in a comfortable American vernacular and continued to digitally dodge government and civilian efforts to stop his self-described “media jihad," according to the New York Times.
Samir Khan was proud to be a traitor. In a way, he was among the most dangerous of al Qaeda terrorists. By turning his back on the country he grew up in, he gained credibility and coupled that with his intimate knowledge of Western culture to become a driving force behind a powerful al Qaeda propaganda machine.
The Clarke graduate even wrote an article entitled "I Am Proud to Be a Traitor to America" in Inspire Magazine, explaining his journey from Charlotte to Yemen.
From Inspire Magazine:
"I decided to take up the pen and write out my thoughts and feelings regarding America's cowboy behavior in the Islamic lands" wrote Khan. "I knew that I had to stay under the guidelines of the laws regarding freedom of speech, but at the same time, I knew the real truth wouldn't be able to reach the masses unless and until I was above the law."
In the W.T. Clarke High School class of 2003 yearbook, Khan shared the following quote:
"If you give satan an inch, he'll be a ruler."
Khan, who wrote for The Vanguard and played junior varsity football at Clarke, also had the word "Mujahid" standing alone in the yearbook under his name. "Mujahid" means "a Muslim engaged in what he considers to be a jihad," according to Dictionary.com. Khan also explained in the yearbook that he planned to go oversees in the future.
"I’m planning to teach philosophy in religion," Khan wrote. "During the learning process, I hope to go oversees and study Islamic law in other subjects that deal with Islam."
A.J. Voelpel contributed to this report.