Islamic State terrorists are recruiting women from Western countries to fly to the Middle East, marry jihadists and bear their children in a “cash-for-babies” scheme.
The depravity of ISIS Muslims already has been well-documented, with their torture and murder of children in Iraq, their crucifixions of adults and their use of women as sex slaves. But observers are saying the latest report, how ISIS is luring American women by promising money in return for bearing children for militants, takes the jihadist group to a whole new level.
Some Western women are recruited through a magazine called al-Shamikha, known as the “Jihad Cosmo.” At least three women left Minnesota in recent weeks to join ISIS militants.
“They are selling them this mystical sisterhood of going to the caliphate and being able to be a Muslim in this idealized, utopian society,” warned Mia Bloom, a professor at the center for terrorism and security studies at the University of Massachusetts. “They are targeting these young girls in a very predatory way – the way child sex abusers target young children.”
Colorado woman Shannon Conley, 19, pleaded guilty to trying to help ISIS
Bloom said female recruits are promised moving expenses and cash for each baby they produce with an ISIS jihadi. But the women are banned from fighting and typically serve the militants, cooking and cleaning for them.
Bloom also expressed concern that ISIS will use the women as suicide bombers.
She said, while most women would stand out on a military installation, in most other public places, people wouldn’t expect a woman to carry out a suicide attack.
“If you change your tactics and target mosques or schools, that’s when women are really quite ideal,” she explained.
The Times reported an estimated 130 women have been recruited by ISIS, mostly through the “Jihadi Cosmo” and social media.
Female members of at least three Somali families in Minneapolis have gone missing in the past six weeks. A 19-year-old from the area is known to have flown to Turkey in secret before crossing the border into Syria.
Also, a 19-year-old American woman from the Denver area, identified as Shannon Conley, only recently pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support for ISIS. She had been arrested while trying to fly out of Denver to meet a Tunisian ISIS fighter whom she had met online. The man proposed marriage and asked Conley to join him in fighting with ISIS.
The Times reported one of the missing Somalians from Minneapolis “left home saying she was attending a bridal shower [but] instead flew to Turkey.”
Another report, by the New York Post, quoted a European source saying that two teenagers who fled the Europe to join jihadists in Syria had contacted friends to report they were alive and pregnant.
The two were identified as Samra Kesinovic, 16, and Sabina Selimovic, 15.
“The duo, previously seen in photos brandishing AK47s, are believed to have married a pair of Chechen fighters in Syria,” the report said. “The two vanished earlier this year and were parading their involvement with ISIS on social media – leading Austrian media to dub them the new face of jihad.”
Austrian police said in the report they were skeptical.
“We have no independent confirmation that either of them are dead or alive, or that either of them are pregnant, although we suspect both are married,” a police official in Austria said in the report.
Austrian teens Samra Kesinovic and Sabina Selimovic in a photo they posted online
In May, British sisters Salma and Zahra Halane left their home in Manchester and went to Syria to wed jihadis. The girls called their parents and reportedly told them, “We’re not coming back.”
Salma Halane, right, and her sister Zahra are also believed to be in Syria with Isis fighters. (Photo: Cavendish Press)
In July, several media reports indicated ISIS launched a marriage bureau and even began offering honeymoon bus tours through the war-torn streets of Iraq and Syria. The buses fly the black ISIS flag, play jihadist songs and visit destroyed Shiite mosques.
Britain’s Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said ISIS is operating a “women’s office” in the Syrian city of Al-Bab so women may marry ISIS fighters.
Tweets and blogs recruiting the would-be “sisters” are believed to be written by Western women married to ISIS jihadis.
The ISIS propaganda emphasizes the “honor” and rewards of raising fighters for Islam.
Umm Layth, who is believed to be a British woman married to a jihadi in Syria, tweeted: “I will never be able to do justice with words as to how this place makes me feel.”
She added, “Allahu Akbar, there’s no way to describe the feeling of sitting with the Akhawat [sisters] waiting on news of whose Husband has attained Shahadah [martyrdom].”
Layth also provided advice to female recruits: “Biggest tip to sisters: don’t take detours, take the quickest route, don’t play around with your Hijrah [religious migration] by staying longer than 1 day for safety and get in touch with your contacts as soon as you reach your destination.”
She explained that a woman’s role is to “give birth to the mujahideen [warriors] and they are the ones who raise and teach them.”
Yes another report recently indicated British female jihadis are running brothels for ISIS, where women – such as kidnapped Yazidi girls – are forced into sex slavery.
Reporter Ellie Hall of Buzzfeed published an in-depth story on social media conversations between young Western women who now claim to be members of ISIS. In a radio interview, Hall said, “I found – quite disturbingly – teenage girls and girls in their early 20s who have left their families and gone to the Middle East. Not just to marry, but to actively be involved, as best they can, in this fight against the Western world.”
Hall said one woman, who says she’s a former citizen of the U.K., calls herself Jihadi Jane on Twitter and “posted a picture of the beheading of journalist Jim Foley with the caption, ‘If this doesn’t bring a bit of comfort and ease to your heart, then check yourself.’”
She added, “These aren’t women from the Middle East, necessarily. You are seeing women from the United States, the United Kingdom and from all over the world.”
Hall said ISIS’ recruiters remind Western women that they will not be fighting.
“One woman tweeted to remind her followers that ‘there is not a single woman fighting in ISIS. The women’s place is in her home looking after her kids and fulfilling her duty to her husband,’” she explained. “What was weirdest to me, as a young woman, is that these women went to the Middle East knowing that they would immediately be married to men they had never met before. And that’s part of the recruitment speech.”
The women leave their homes and join ISIS for the “the sole purpose of being housewives, eventually having children, and raising their children to be fighters. And the pictures posted completely echo this mentality,” she said.
One blogging recruiter explained to young men and women who join ISIS how to respond to their families’ concerns after they run away from home.
“The first phone call you make once you cross the borders is one of the most difficult things you will ever have to do. Your parents are already worried enough over where you are, wether (sic) you are okay and what’s happened. How does a parent who has little Islamic knowledge and understanding comprehend why their son or daughter has left their well off life, education and a bright future behind to go live in a war torn country. Most likely they will blame themselves, they will think they have done something. But until they truly understand from the bottom of their heart that you have done this action sincerely for Allah’s sake they will live in hope that you will return,” said the blogger.
“Sometimes it would be easier for you to accept your parents disowning you and wanting nothing to do with you. However when you hear them sob and beg like crazy on the phone for you to come back it’s so hard. … But as long as you are firm and you know that this is all for the sake of Allah then nothing can shake you inshaAllaah.”
Another recruiter explained how male and female recruits can get into ISIS territory and even trick Turkey customs agents. A blog provided several tips and even a checklist for the journey:
It was the Australian version of International Business Times that reported children as young as 10 were being trained to be “jihadists.”
The report quoted London Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Stephen Greenhalgh and said officials had confirmed that “young children were exposed to ‘extremist ideology’ by their families.”
A video published by the Middle East Media Research Institute shows young children appearing to be just 5 or 6 chanting, “The Islamic State is here to stay.”
To Americans, they say, “Your grave will be in Syria.”
Buzzfeed reports have documented a number of cases in which women and children have been recruited by ISIS.
Said a new report: “Twenty-year-old Aqsa Mahmood recently made headlines around the world when her parents revealed that she had run away from her home in Scotland and traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State or Iraq and Syria and marry a militant. … Like many young women, Mahmood has several social media profiles, including a Tumblr page (which she has been updating regularly from Syria) under the name Umm Layth.”
Significantly, the report noted her apparent communications with “other like-minded women.”
“An examination of the accounts followed by Mahmood’s purported pages reveal communications with many other young women who claim to be ISIS members living in Syria,” the report said. “A Facebook search of the usernames followed by Mahmood’s account yields similar results. The women of ISIS appear to have established networks across social media platforms, which they use to connect with one another and recruit other women.”
The report added, “It appears from the women’s posts as if some non-Muslim women are kept as slaves.”