Religious and Militant Activities
Hicks began studying the Koran during his time in the Northern Territory. In 1999, Hicks travelled to Albania, joining the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a militant organisation of ethnic Albanians fighting against Serbian forces in the Kosovo War, for two months. Hicks states in his autobiography that during this period he did not engage in any actual hostilities nor enter Kosovan territory. Upon return to Australia, Hicks applied to join the Australian Army but was rejected due to his low level of formal education. Hicks then converted to Islam, and began studying Wahhabism at a mosque in Gilles Plains, a suburb north of Adelaide. The president of the Islamic society of South Australia, Wali Hanifi, described Hicks as having "some interest in military things", and that "after personal experience and research, that Islam was the answer". In 2010, Hicks explained his motivation to convert to Islam:
My motivation was not a religious search for spirituality; it was more a search for somewhere to belong and to be with people who shared my interest in world affairs. In my youth I was impulsive. Unfortunately, many of my decisions of that time are a reflection of that trait.
He renounced his faith during the earlier years of his detention at Guantánamo. In June 2006, Moazzam Begg, a British man who had also been held at Guantanamo Bay but was released in 2005, claimed in his book Enemy Combatant: A British Muslim's Journey to Guantanamo and Back that Hicks had abandoned his Islamic beliefs, and had been denounced by a fellow inmate, Uthman al-Harbi, for his lack of observance. This has also been confirmed by his military lawyer, Major Michael Mori. However, he declined to say why Hicks was no longer a Muslim, saying it was a personal issue for David Hicks.
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