The threat of the Islamic State has permeated the Bay Area.
The Obama administration says the terrorist group – often referred to as ISIS – is still recruiting American citizens. Two local men have joined the jihadists, according to NBC News.
One of the men, identified as Alberto Rentoria, of Gilroy, allied himself with ISIS in Syria in 2014.
A former neighbor, who said that her name was Vivian, said, “It’s very surprising. It's very scary. There are small kids here and teenagers.”
Rentoria’s family says the 24-year-old was raised Catholic and got a tech job in San Jose. However, at some point, he stopped going to church and converted to Islam.
He attended services at the South Valley Islamic Center in San Martin. The center’s leader said he was very quiet and never socialized.
About two years ago, Rentoria stopped showing up.
Documents also show that 24-year-old Jaffrey Khan from Palo Alto enlisted in ISIS in July two years ago.
He grew up on a quiet cul-de-sac and attended Gunn High School.
In a written statement, his family said, “Jaffrey’s actions and decisions have been heartbreaking and we do not support his personal choices.”
Khan’s cousin Ahmed told us as a teenager Khan was into marijuana, rap music and surfing the Internet – that is, until he started watching propaganda videos.
“He was getting angry and he said we were surrounded by sinners and said we should move to a Muslim country,” Ahmed recalled.
He also said he noticed a distinct change in his cousin as he became “more hateful toward America.”
At the council on American Islamic Relations in Santa Clara, the executive director said she fears the news of two Bay Area men joining ISIS will spark a backlash against the entire Muslim community.
“There no reason to hold the family guilty, just like there is no reason to hold the mosque guilty because this person was associated with them,” Zahra Billoo said.