A former model and DJ from Melbourne, Australia, has reportedly been killed fighting for ISIS militants in Syria.
The news of the death of Sharky Jama, 25, was sent via text message and a phone call to his parents, said Hussein Harakow, president of the Somali Australian Council of Victoria and family friend for more than 10 years.
"They're very shocked and very disappointed," said Harakow.
His parents were told he was killed by gunfire in Syria.
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They had been in contact with Jama, who was living in the Iraqi city of Falluja, which is held by ISIS militants.
Harakow said Jama disappeared along with another Somali-Australian, former business student Yusuf Yusuf, in August of 2014.
The family claims they did not know Jama had joined ISIS, even as he posted pro-ISIS messages to social media and amidst media reports on his activities.
"He never explained what's happening over there or what he's doing," Harakow told CNN. "The family lived a simple life. They never discussed these sorts of things."
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Why Jama went to Syria is unknown.
“They haven’t got any idea what is the reason,” Harakow said. “He was just a young man playing soccer and being at other activities and suddenly something happened and he went to Syria. [It’s] really shocking for the whole community and we are really confused.”
Australian Prime Minister Toby Abbott is urging Australians to not join ISIS, or the associated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), referring to it as a “death cult."
"I have a very simple message for those who might be thinking of going overseas to join these terrorist groups: don’t," Abbott said. "They are death cults. That’s what they are. They’re not about religion. They’re just about death. And it’s just as likely to be your death as anyone else’s death. If you go overseas for this kind of purpose, you are a danger to others, you are a danger to yourself. Don’t do it.”
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been unable to confirm Jama’s death due to limited political capability in Syria and Iraq.
"Due to the extremely dangerous security situation, consular assistance is no longer available within Syria," an agency spokesperson said in a statement.
Roughly 90 Australians have gone to the Middle East to fight for ISIL, reports The Telegraph. About 20 have been killed.
The Lowy Institute, an Australian foreign policy think tank, released a report last week stating that the number of Australians fighting for ISIS represents a “serious national security threat” and posed a risk of an attack on home soil.
Abbott plans to deploy 330 additional Australian troops this week to train the Iraqi army so they may hold and seize areas from ISIL.