Last week, the FBI announced it was launching a manhunt for 7 alleged terrorists – including one American citizen, Adam Yahiye Gadahn, who is the grandson of a prominent Jewish doctor from Orange County.
LA Times has the family's story:
“[Adam’s] grandfather, the late Carl K. Pearlman, was a prominent Jewish urologist in Orange County who worked with various charities to aid Jews after World War II, according to a 1998 obituary in the Idyllwild Town Crier.Gadahn converted in 1995 and began to hang out with a group of Muslims who were not allowed to meet on mosque property because they were so hard-line. According to the mosque’s former president, “those Muslims didn't like the mosque's moderate teachings and protested its outreach to Christians and Jews. He said they printed fliers calling the cleric "the Jew," among other things.”
“He was also a member of the board of directors of the Anti-Defamation League and longtime member of the Orange County Philharmonic Society. The couple also served on the board of directors of the Idyllwild Arts Foundation, in the city where they had a second home...
“Son Philip took a different path. He is a free spirit who wanted to get away from the creeping influence of technology. Shortly before he moved to a 40-acre goat ranch in Winchester in rural Riverside County in the 1970s, he said he changed his surname to Gadahn ‘for reasons that had nothing to do with religion’ — only because he wanted a "new start."...
“But in the late 1960s or early 1970s, he picked up a Bible left on a Southern California beach. “I read [the Bible] and said, 'There's something here,'” he said. ‘I came to believe in God. There is a God.’
“Because his beliefs came to embrace many faiths, Gadahn said, he called himself a "universalist." ‘I don't like labels for religions; they don't tell you anything.’ But the faith that came closest to his heart was Islam.
He said he made Muslim friends, who taught him how to slaughter his goats in accordance with Islamic dietary practices. He became a halal butcher — one who follows Islamic law — and supplied milk, cheese and meat for a Muslim market in Los Angeles....
“In 1995, at 17, Adam Gadahn moved out of the family's Winchester home, his father said, because ‘he wanted out of the country and wanted to be in the city,’ where he lived with relatives in Garden Grove.
“It was then that the youth turned to Christian radio for spiritual answers. He wrote that the Christian fundamentalists' rhetoric held a ‘strange fascination’ for him because it was filling the ‘void I had created for myself.’
“But he ultimately rejected the faith because of his inability to accept basic Christian concepts such as original sin and the infallibility of God's world.
"'I began to look for something else to hold onto,' he wrote.
“Gadahn began using a computer, visiting Islamic websites and Internet discussion groups. He said he found the faith ‘fit my personal theology and intellect, as well as basic human logic.’”
He is now wanted by the FBI for allegedly attending a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan and working as a translator for Al Qaeda.