Once again, terrorism has appeared on our doorstep. Over the last week, news broke that a graduate of Atlantic City High School – literally the boy next door – is now a senior ISIS commander. Zulfi Hoxha, the son of Margate pizza shop owners, has become a rising star for the international terrorist group. Hoxha, who now goes by the nom de guerre Abu Hamza al-Amriki (“the American”), was featured in a 2017 propaganda video in which he urged Muslims in the United States to attack non-Muslim infidels – and was, reportedly, the masked figure who beheaded a captive Kurdish soldier in another video, too.
As journalists and academics work to better understand this 25-year-old’s path to joining ISIS and how he rose through their ranks, we’re left wondering what threat Hoxha poses. Moreover, how can we prevent other young Americans from being recruited to fight for jihadist groups like the Islamic State?