Australia: “Ordinary Everyday Teenager” Converts To Islam, Joins The Islamic State

From Courier Mail:
Oliver Bridgeman loved rugby league, the beach and dreamed of being a doctor or lawyer.

Then he found religion.

Stunned friends of the former school captain yesterday revealed the talented teen’s disturbing transformation from talented student to terrorist.

The Courier-Mail’s revelation that Bridgeman has fled to the Middle East to fight for al-Quaida-linked terrorist group the Al-Nusra Front, under the name Yusuf Oli, has shocked family and friends.

“Oh my God! Oh my God!’’ one stunned friend said yesterday.

“We knew he had gone a bit strange but never imagined he would do anything like this. He was just a kid who loved school, football and music.’’

Another friend said: “He’s a really good guy and smart too but obviously the wrong people have been in his ear and he’s been led down the wrong path.”

Bridgeman grew up on the Gold Coast and attended Coombabah State High, where he was named school captain last year. He was living with his aunt on the northern Coast.

But it is believed he was pulled out of the school last year by worried parents and moved back to his family’s home in Toowoomba, where he transferred to Harristown High.

Facebook pictures show him posing happily with classmates at the school graduation ceremony last November.

The Courier-Mail has been told Bridgeman converted to Islam after becoming friends with several Muslims at school. “They weren’t radical Muslims but he may have been influenced by older men,” a friend said.

“Everyone was becoming more and more worried about him but no-one thought he would do this (join the jihad).”

A woman whose son played junior club football on the Gold Coast with Bridgeman said the school became concerned at his growing interest in Islam and contacted her. “They were worried he could be groomed,” the woman, who did not want to be named, said.

The woman said she believed Bridgeman was worshipping at the local mosque at Arundel but Gold Coast Islamic Society president Hussin Goss said he did not know the teen.

“He was a smart kid who liked to discuss politics,’’ the woman said....

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