John Walker Lindh is set to leave federal imprisonment this week after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence for providing support to foreign terrorists.
Known in the media as the “American Taliban,” Lindh was a major proponent in the early 2000s war against Islamic terrorist group, the Taliban. Lindh was captured during an invasion of Afganistan in 2001. He was part of the first casualty of war, where CIA officer Johnny Micheal Spann was killed in a prison uprising. Lindh was notable for being the first American caught actively aiding the Taliban.
The story of Lindh is a bit of a hard one to find reliable information on. He had lived in California, where he reportedly converted from Catholicism to Islam at the age of 16. He left his home at 17 and traveled to Yemen to study Arabic. Much of his story from here is a mystery until the 2000s, where he had traveled to Afghanistan to participate in Al Qaeda training camps as a Taliban volunteer.
Lindh had become a popular media topic at the time. The idea of a white American aiding a terrorist group in active disposition to America was surprising. Some used him as a pillar to claim that the Middle East was brainwashing people.
He remains a member of Islam, having participated in a legal battle to allow Muslum prisoners time to pray while incarcerated. While Lindh has expressed no intention to leave his current faith, he is on record of stating regret for his actions. He has stated that he now sees now Osama-Bin Laden’s actions were “completely against Islam.”
Lindh, his lawyer, and his family have declined to reveal any information about his post-prison plans.
What does this mean for us, the average American citizen? Absolutely nothing. Reports have shown Lindh to be quiet and studious while in prison, showing little to no sign that he would act out in the future. Even so, the odds of meeting him in your waking life are pretty slim.