Moner Abu-Salha: Before Becoming a Jihadi Suicide Bomber, He Was a South Florida Bro

Categories: News

Photos via Casey Hamilton and Moner Abu-Salha's Facebook page
A middle school yearbook photo of Abu-Salha (left) and a Facebook profile picture uploaded in 2012.
If you had stumbled across Moner Abu-Salha's Facebook profile a year ago, you would have found a recently updated page fitting for any suburban South Florida bro. On June 24, he updated his profile pic to a selfie flexing his biceps in the bathroom mirror and his cover photo to a Miami Heat logo. He listened to Jay Z and Mac Miller and watched Family Guy and Man vs. Food.

Today, his family and U.S. intelligence agencies are wrestling with how the same guy became radicalized so quickly that less than 12 months later, he blew up a suicide truck bomb in Syria, becoming the first known American jihadi killed in that conflict.

See also: A Florida Man Carried Out A Suicide Bombing In Syria This Week

Here's what we know about the South Florida jihadi so far.

via Moner Abu-Salha's Facebook
Moner Abu-Salha's profile page
He really liked basketball.
Few of Abu-Salha's neighbors recall speaking with him much in the suburban Vero Beach development where he grew up, but everyone seems to remember how much he loved playing hoops.

"He'd play basketball with any hoop anywhere he could find one," neighbor Mark Hill tells the New York Times. "He was out there playing all the time."

When he was in eighth or ninth grade, he earned a place on a traveling team called the Indian River Warriors, where teammates tell the Times he wasn't the best player but brought enthusiasm to the court. And he was evidently a big enough Heat fan to plaster his Facebook page with the team logo shortly after Miami won a second consecutive championship last year.


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22 comments
swissonbrownrye
swissonbrownrye

Well, his life's over. What did he do? Write a beautiful symphony? Work with orphans or some charity feeding hungry people? Get a college degree and maybe help humanity? Settle down and raise a family and give something back to the community? Uhm, no, he blew himself up along with a truck. Now he'll be forgotten in a few weeks. Faithful jihadi, following Muhammad's teaching.

Dean Os
Dean Os

If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything....

Vince Witty
Vince Witty

Maybe he was tricked, forced into it.

Carlos Iglesia
Carlos Iglesia

Nothing "typical" about that kid. Just look at his name, his eyes, his jihad, the beard, that religion.. easy to spot at any airport, sorry to say.

Ken Arg├╝elles
Ken Arg├╝elles

My guess, no midnight basketball to keep him away from extremists.

Nicole Mars
Nicole Mars

I fail to see why speculation of the origins of his extremist idealogy is useful at this point. Is the intention of this article suppose to tell its audience "Oh he used to be "normal" and then became the first American jihadist--it could happen to YOU"? Seems to flirt with sensationalism.

Jayan Bertrand
Jayan Bertrand

Or maybe he had a malleable brain like most americans

Brent Acosta
Brent Acosta

from suicide doors to suicide cause Kyle Awon

Jul Farinha
Jul Farinha

Depression realizing life sucks being poor or average.

Chgo Dave
Chgo Dave

let me guess Muslim parents?

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