Hammami has become one of the few public faces of Al Shabab. He has appeared on YouTube videos explaining Al Shabab's aims, has been featured on an al-Jazeera documentary, and even recorded a rap song that was released on the internet. He is wanted by the FBI, and has been indicted in the Southern District of Alabama on terrorism violations, including for leaving the US to join Al Shabab.
Hammami’s father is a respected civil engineer who came to Alabama as a teenager from Syria, and his mother is a “typical Southern protestant girl” descended from Irish immigrants.
“I think having the IRA on one side of my family tree and Al Qaeda on the other might have given me a bit of a bad temperament,” he writes.
His father, a Muslim, was not religious. His mother would take Hammami and his sister, with whom he was very close, to church each Sunday, and he was baptized at the Perdido Baptist Church, where he says he was “the best student in Bible school.” As a young teenager, he would visit his maternal grandfather and “spend time deer hunting like good old boys.”
“My accuracy with the shot gun those days was not as good as my accuracy with the AK though,” he writes. “Let’s just say I missed my good share of deer.”