COLUMBUS (WCMH)–Mounir Lynch watched the video, filmed during a school project, on YouTube. He is still in shock.
“Just hearing his voice and seeing him alive and happy, it just really makes you feel the sad end of this whole thing,” he said.
Lynch went to middle school with Rasel Raihan, the central Ohio teenager who moved to Syria to join ISIS according to an NBC News Report.
Lynch said the two were friends, and they were also two of the only Muslim students enrolled at Dominion Middle School.
While they rarely discussed religion, he said they did share a connection.
“Other than my sister, I didn’t really know many others,” he said. “We had that to bond over.”
According to NBC News, something changed in Raihan. Friends say he dropped off the radar. The report stating he would later emerge overseas.
“I’m just shocked,” Lynch said. “It’s a confusing situation.”
Lynch, in denouncing Raihan’s supposed actions, is adamant about his thoughts regarding Islamic extremists.
“I just want people to know that our religion has nothing to do with this violence that’s going on and, in general, the groups that do this violence and commit terrorist attacks make all of us feel betrayed,” he said. “It makes life really difficult for us.”
Lynch explained that he wants to remember Raihan as the bright, intelligent student so many remember.
The questions, however, remain.
NBC reports Raihan was killed in Syria, although specific details of his death remain unclear.
“We don’t know how he made this decision, but at some point he joined this extremist group and it cost him his life,” Lynch said.
The NBC investigation states Raihan joined ISIS with his sister and brother-in-law, both of whom still live in Syria.
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