“I know how much this ruined my life. The last thing I want is for someone to go down the same road.” That is why Asher Khan agreed to this interview, during which he lays bare his soul. His is a cautionary tale for anyone in search of purpose and a sense of belonging, especially a young person still in the formative years, who can easily be guided down a road from which there might be no return.
As a teenaged Asher tried to navigate between two cultures, his sense of isolation and longing for true connection made him a perfect target for those espousing extremist ideology. He stopped thinking for himself, acted impulsively and ended up behind bars. His life is forever changed — his purpose now to salvage what he can of the life he still dreams of living, and helping others learn from his mistakes.
At the time of this interview in November of 2019, Asher was in the midst of finals at the University of Houston, one semester shy of completing his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and Technology. He is facing the prospect of additional prison time. He is 25 years old. If you or someone you know is feeling isolated, depressed and in search of purpose and community, please — listen to Asher’s story — and then reach out for help.
UPDATE: On December 13, 2019, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes re-sentenced Asher to a term of 18 months, which he had already served. He will not serve additional prison time. He was also given five years of supervised release for providing material support to the terrorist group, ISIS.