Belfast Telegraph

Islam saved me, claims Syria rebel from Derry

By Michelle Smyth

A man from Northern Ireland who joined a Syrian rebel group has said that Islam saved him from destroying his life with drugs.

Eamon Bradley from the Creggan area of Londonderry told his family he was going on holiday to Turkey a few months ago.

However, he travelled to Syria instead to join militants fighting in a civil war against the regime of President Bashar Assad.

Pictures have emerged of Bradley with an AK-47 assault rifle and dressed in combat gear.

He has been in contact with his family via text and has told them he has completed his guerrilla training and is prepared to die in war if he has to.

Bradley wrote about his drink, drug and crime-fuelled past in a post on an Islamic blog last year.

He said drugs had driven him to attempt to overdose before he discovered Islam.

The 25-year-old, who converted to Islam four years ago, wrote: "I with another friend once stole fireworks from a shop and went up to the church and caused a couple of thousand points worth of damage. We got caught for it.

"I used to run around with people much older than myself so I was into heavy drugs very early. LSD in primary school for example. As I got into secondary school things seemed to get worse. I would skip school and get high a lot.

"By this stage I was just drinking and smoking to die. I would try to overdose on prescription drugs. It was around this time Allah Most Great showed me the way."

Bradley also claimed the September 11 attack on the Twin Towers "wasn't what it seemed to be".

"I then started to read the Quran from the internet every night and I knew it was truthful. I ended up saying the Shahada and confirming my belief," he added.

The Shahada is a Muslim statement of faith in Allah.

"I'm a Muslim now for around three years and I think I have only spoken to one Muslim on the street," he wrote.

"That was in a kebab shop in the town where I finally got some Halal food. I thank Allah for showing me the way and I pray he saves those who believe and are true to themselves."

The PSNI has confirmed that it is investigating Bradley and officers are believed to have called at his family home in Derry.

Derry family distraught as son joins Syria's rebels

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