A man who starred in a video released by al-Qaida’s deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri on Saturday, inviting Americans to convert to Islam, has been identified as Adam Yehiye Gadahn, an American with Jewish ancestry.
According to Wikipedia, he was born Adam Pearlman on September 1, 1978, the grandson of a prominent Jewish surgeon and the son of musician Phil Pearlman, who converted to Christianity and changed his named to Gadahn (apparently derived from the Biblical figure Gideon.) He grew up in Santa Ana, California, converted to Islam and, in 1995, posted an essay on the USC Web site describing his conversion. According to his parents, Gadahn moved to Pakistan in 1998, where he married an Afghani refugee.
The FBI believes he attended al-Qaida training camps in Pakistan and served as an al-Qaida translator and English spokesman.
It was the second time Gadahn has appeared in the same video with Zawahri. In a July 7 video marking the one-year anniversary of bombings against the London transit system, Gadahn said no Muslim should “shed tears” for Westerners killed by al-Qaida attacks.