Excerpt:

Randall Royer grew up in the Midwest, a suburban St. Louis kid. By the time he was 21, he had converted to Islam and changed his name to Ismail Royer, fighting in Bosnia alongside fellow Muslims against Serbian ethnic cleansing.

By the time he was 31, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for helping friends who wanted to join the Taliban after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Now age 44 and out of prison, he remembers Bosnia as both a highlight of his life and the place that launched him on a disastrous path.

"There was so much meaning and purpose in what I was doing," he said of the Bosnian war. "I spent so much time trying to recapture that feeling of Bosnia. It never came back."


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