US jihadi woman lures Irish schoolgirls to join ISIS
Published 14/03/2016 | 19:33
An American jihadi is attempting to recruit schoolgirls from Northern Ireland to join ISIS.
After a six month-long investigation, it can be revealed today how the terror group is trying to lure young local girls to Syria.
Posing as a 17-year-old student from Belfast, our reporter used social networking site Twitter to contact a woman connected to the militant group.
Within weeks the self-proclaimed jihadi ‘media co-ordinator’ had allocated our reporter ‘a husband’ and was asking for passport details to book flights to the ISIS stronghold.
Conversations began slowly, with communication made only through private messages on Twitter before the woman, who calls herself Maria, asked our reporter to add her on an encrypted messaging app.
Encrypted messaging apps are popular among ISIS recruiters as numbers and locations are not exchanged, meaning users are difficult to trace. ‘Emojis’ and text-speech are also regularly used to appeal to a younger audience.
A series of messages sent by Maria — who targets British girls by writing mainly in English with a little Arabic — suggests that the Islamic State’s recruitment network is growing faster than ever before.
“We don’t bring people here because it is a fantasy, they come here because they have a cause and a purpose to serve,” said Maria who claims to “know loads of brothers and sisters in London”.
“Allah’s faithful people are everywhere, inshallah [God-willing].”
Before giving our reporter any more information, Maria interrogated our reporter after suspecting she may be a journalist.
After a video conversation via Skype and weeks of questioning at the request of her jihadi commander, she was satisfied — and gave a disturbing insight into how ISIS are recruiting jihadi brides here in the UK.
“Most of the planning and facilitation is done by English speaking people,” she said.
“I am the media co-ordinator and I match people, talent, language, background and so forth.
“I am responsible for all who reach out with faithful heart and try to get the help needed.
“Like if there is a need for you in one area or the other, I will see how you can better benefit the cause.
“At the same time if you have a certain need, I will match you with the right resources.
“The more I know about you the better fit.”
ISIS is regarded as the world’s most dangerous terrorist organisation, after expanding its rule in Syria and Iraq.
Formed in 2013, after growing out of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS is led by Baghdad-born terror boss Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and has already lured around 60 young British women to Syria.
The former Al-Qaeda leader is regarded by political analysts around the globe as a tactical mastermind, with his attention to detail and long-term vision an attraction for many potential recruits.
While the majority of Brits usually travel alone, three London teens, Khadiza Sultana, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum, made the journey to Syria together last February. Two of the girls were just 15 years old.
Last week Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said evidence proves that ISIS are “trying to build bigger attacks” globally, and the UK is among its targets.
“Trust me, hundreds want to come (to Syria) every day, but only dozens qualify through our channel,” said Maria in a shocking admission.
According to recent figures published by the United Nations, recruiters can earn around £7,000 for each person they convert to jihadis.
More money is given if the person recruited has a particularly desirable skill or profession, such as a doctor or an IT specialist, a question Maria asked.
She then sent a link to a YouTube video which explained how to take the Islamic testimony, ‘shahada’, adding “then record a video of you wearing hijab and reciting the shahada.
“Once it’s seen and witnessed by the Iman here (Iman is the high religious authority) I then will move forward.”
After satisfying this request, Maria finally showed her face for the first time in a Skype chat earlier this month.
“My Amir was very happy with your reply,” said Maria, who claims to be in Aleppo now following heavy bombing by “the Russians and coalition forces” which forced her and her sisters to leave the ISIS Syrian capital of Raqqa.
“I pray you stay on the path that Allah had designed for us.
“Now that we are closer to getting everything ready, when do you want to leave? I am hoping and praying for early summer. When does school year end?
“Do you need someone meeting you in London or you can do it on your own once the ticket is secured?”
Just six days ago Scotland Yard released alarming new figures which show a 57pc increase in terrorism-related arrests in the last three years, compared with the previous three.
Metropolitan Police now believe that ISIS is planning “spectacular” attacks, similar to the November 2015 Paris attacks. 130 people died in a series of shootings and suicide bombs across the French capital.
In March 2013, ISIS took over Raqqa — the first provincial capital to fall under rebel control.
Since then, the threat level posed by the organisation has been raised across Europe. Parts of central London have already been bomb-proofed, with many bollards now designed to withstand lorry bombs, and 24-hour surveillance in operation. Daily patrols are also carried out in a bid to prevent terrorist attacks in the UK’s capital.
With a rising number of young British Muslims, a number of whom are converts, interacting with ISIS’ growing network, tighter controls are being enforced by authorities. But despite Europe and America’s clampdown on terrorism, ISIS do not seem deterred about recruiting more members.
“It’s not what you do to qualify, it’s more staying the course,” said Maria.
“It’s a very hard but fulfilling life, your reason for being in the world is in front of your eyes every day.”
And worringly, an American-born terror queen is confident that 2016 will be one to remember for Islamic State.
“It will be a year of success and achievements.”
All of our evidence has now been handed over to police.
JIHADI BRIDE CHECKLIST
Scottish jihadi bride Aqsa Mahmood recently wrote a checklist for new British recruits and posted it on her blog.
Here’s a selection of her suitcase essentials:
First aid kit
Cold and flu tablets
Android phone (Apple products are banned)
Chargers (as the Syrian ones are all ‘fake’)
Dark winter coat
Clothes to wear around your husband if you plan to marry