A former Melbourne accounting student who fled Australia eight years ago to reportedly join the terrorist group Islamic State wants to return home and insists he poses no danger.
Mahir Absar Alam, 29, has spent the last three years behind bars when Kurdish forces captured him just outside Baghouz in eastern Syria, the last piece of territory held by the terrorist group.
He was the first Australian caught during ISIS’ final military stand and is one of about a dozen Australian men who have been detained without charge.
Alam says he’s had no contact with the outside world since a visit from ASIO officers shortly after he was captured in 2019.
He refused to confirm whether he was or had been an ISIS member, citing legal and intelligence reasons but denied he’d ever been a fighter for the terrorist group.
He also insists he posed no threat and wouldn’t do anything to hurt his birthplace Australia.
Mahir Absar Alam (pictutred) wants to return home to Australia, eight years after he fled his birth country for Syria
‘I don’t have any problem with the Australian government or my country. I love Australia, and I didn’t do anything wrong in Australia. I want to come back,’ Alam told The Australian.
He has no issue or problem with facing court and possible jail time if he returns to Australia and pleaded for forgiveness from his family back in Australia.
‘I hope they can forgive me. I miss them so much. And I hope one day we will meet again,’ he said.
Born to Bangladeshi migrant parents, Alam grew up in Loxton, in South Australia and does not hold citizenship in any other country.
He moved to Melbourne to study accounting and was an aspiring DJ when he decided to head to Syria as he wanted to help Islamic State.
Alam confirmed he left Australia in 2014 with three other Melbourne men and headed to Syria via Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Greece and Turkey just four weeks after ISIS launched its caliphate.
He was 21 at the time.
‘They were showing a program on the situation in Syria and how people were suffering. I was watching the show, and they were calling for people to come to help the Islamic country,’ Alam recalled.
Mahir Absar Alam (pictured) was studying accounting in Melbourne when he went to Syria
The other three men he left Australia with have since been killed.
He travelled to Raqqa, the IS caliphate’s Syrian capital and worked as a nurse in the surgical ward at the Islamic State hospital.
Alam claims he was badly injured when the international coalition fighting ISIS bombed the hospital while he was working there and was injured again in 2018 when Syrian regime forces attacked the car he was driving.
Alam later married but hasn’t had any contact with his Syrian wife or two sons in more than three years.
In 2019, Alam’s father Jahangir recalled for his son to be returned home and dealt with under Australian law.
He told the ABC his son had barely shown any interest in Islam until shortly before he left Australia.
Mahir Absar Alam (pictured) has spent the last three years behind bars after he was captured by Kurdish forces. He says he’s been detained without being charged
‘I would ask him, ‘I am going to prayer, do you want to go with me?’, and he’d say, ‘Dad I am sleeping, don’t disturb me.’ He has no understanding of the religion at all,’ his father said.
‘From my son’s perspective, [he] is not as bad as everyone thinks.’
Alam previously told the ABC ISIS pushed really hard for him to fight but he refused.
‘They asked me to fight, yeah. They normally force people to fight but I really pushed it — I couldn’t fight,’ he said in 2019.
‘People need to understand that we didn’t rape, we didn’t kill, I didn’t set anyone on fire.’
Mahir Absar Alam (pictured at school) was born and grew up in Australia
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