Two former north Texas college students were recently discovered to be ISIS fighters through secret documents obtained from an Islamic State defector and given to an NBC news reporter. Talmeezur Rahman, a previous student that attended Collin College for 2 years in McKinney, and Omar Kattan, a biology major that previously attended the University of North Texas in Denton.
Omar Kattan was recounted by peers as someone who “seemed like a good guy” and a person who was “very mild mannered.” On the other hand, he was also described in the secret documents as an ISIS suicide fighter. In 2011, Kattan graduated from UNT with a Biology degree. In 2012, he worked as a lifeguard and exercise instructor at Texas Women’s University. However, just a year after that, he left the U.S. and joined ISIS in Syria as a suicide bomber. Kattan was once quoted in a post online as saying he hopes his country, Syria, will be free.
Nobody would have ever predicted what would have become of him after those words were spoken. Shortly thereafter, Kattan left the U.S. for Syria at the young age of 23. According to a former law enforcement official, Kattan has been killed, but is unsure if his death was a result of a suicide death or during combat.
Talmeezur Rahman is the other North Texas student linked to ISIS and was a former student at Collin College in McKinney. Rahman is originally from India, but was raised in Kuwait. He later decided to move to Frisco, TX where he stayed with relatives.
He then attended Collin College from 2012 to 2014 to pursue a science degree that would allow him to work with computers. Although Rahman was stated as having good grades his first year of college, he never completed his associates of science degree before he pursued ISIS. He had also planned to attend University of North Texas before joining ISIS. Former neighbors of Rahman stated that Rahman “did not raise any suspicions.” Rahman’s relatives described him as a “very normal kid” and “a very level-headed kid, very street smart.”
Rahman was only 22 years old when he disappeared to Syria in 2014. Rahman’s father is said to be saddened and shocked when he learned of the unexpected news that his son may have joined ISIS. His father has also been searching for him for 2 years now and is unclear of his current whereabouts.
According to the Islamic State documents, Rahman is still active in ISIS and the document claims that he is proficient with computers. The Islamic State files were released to NBC news reporter, Richard Engel, in March by a man who called himself Abu Mohammed. Mohammed claims to be a defector from the terrorist group. The Islamic State documents include forms that recruits have filled out detailing personal information such as their names, nationalities, and their specialized skills. So far, the documents have proven to be genuine and have also been analyzed by experts at West Point to establish its authenticity, in which they’ve concluded that the documents appear to be genuine.