Inspired by an unlikely source
But Fundamentalist Islam was more than a phase. The transformation happened in 2000, during Tarek’s senior year in high school. And it was sparked by an unlikely source: Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of The United States. His anthropology teacher assigned the book. Zinn’s radical take on U.S. history inspired Tarek to learn more about his faith. “Because before that, we were kids, we didn’t think about the world,” says Tamer. “And neither of us had given much thought to our identity as Muslims here in America.” Soon, Tarek grew his beard and began hanging out with a close-knit group of devout Muslim men.
Tarek lived with his parents in a plush suburban home until he was taken into custody two years ago.