By: Paul Sperry; nypost.com
ISIS is recruiting an army of AK-47-brandishing women from the West who are just as bloodthirsty as the men they are marrying. Calling themselves “lionesses of Allah,” they are thought to now number more than 600, and they’re bearing the next generation of terrorists, whom they call “cubs of the caliphate.”
Many of these women are true believers who trust that even with horrific gore and bloodshed, they are helping carry out the holy work of Allah in restoring the ancient Islamic caliphate, and that once it’s reestablished, all believers will live in peace and harmony under Islamic rule.
Some of these ISIS brides living in Syria and Iraq have made the terrorist watchlist. Arguably the most dangerous is Sally Jones, 49, a British Muslim convert who goes by the nom de guerre Umm Hussain al-Britani. She is reportedly now on a British special-forces “kill list” after threatening Queen Elizabeth II.
Jones, who in her youth was a guitarist for an all-girl rock band, Krunch,
has also been implicated in two foiled plots to kill Americans and is training her young son to follow in her footsteps.
She and other Western women are actively recruiting like-minded “si
sters” to their twisted cause. Their primary duty is “to raise the next generation of lions in Islamic State,” as Jone
s’ good friend, Umm Muthanna al-Britani, another young British woman, put it in a tweet.
And ISIS pays them a generous stipend for each “cub” they deliver
($25 for each child per month, plus a $400 maternity bonus, and a $500 marriage bonus). This is a strategic m
ove. With more of its men killed in battle, the terror group has to ensure its longevity.
But these moms celebrate death more than life. In fact, they incite their “brothers” to suicidal violence, even reminding them of the supposed heavenly rewards for achieving martyrdom while killing infidels. As Umm Osama, an online friend of Muthanna, once tweeted: “when you get so excited hoping for 7ooris” — the famous “72 virgins” — “remember this n say ‘Marhrah adDugma’ (u can do it).”
They don’t shed a tear if they lose a husband. If he dies in battle, they are “instantly transformed into a hero — the wife of a martyr,” or “shaheed,” Center for Terrorism and Security Studies fellow Mia Bloom said.
ISIS rewards such widows well. “U dnt hav 2 pay 4 ANYTHING if u r wife of a shaheed,” one Western woman in Syria wrote.
Increasingly, the women cadres in ISIS are seeking to enter and die on the battlefield themselves, following in the path of their idol, Tashfeen Malik, who pledged allegiance to ISIS before helping her husband massacre 14 innocent people gathered at a 2015 Christmas office party in San Bernardino, Calif.
They routinely tweet and message out of Syria and Iraq their fervent desire to be “martyred in the cause of Allah.” This is the overriding ambition of Muthanna, for instance. As she stated in a recent tweet, “I came here to die. I will not leave till I get what I came here for: shahadah [martyrdom].”
In a more recent tweet, she made reference to obtaining a suicide belt to make her death wish come true. “Everyone around me is getting shahadah,” she complained in frustration. “When will it be my turn?”
ISIS women, who are known to watch and share gruesome videos of beheadings, appear to have the stomach for it.
Muthanna, for one, cheered the massacre the group carried out in Paris: “Wish I could have seen the hostages being slaughtered last night with my own eyes. Would have been beautiful.”
“Burn Paris burn,” she gushed in another tweet, adding, “LOL HOW SCARED ARE THESE KUFFAR [nonbelievers].”
More and more ISIS brides are being trained to kill. Last month, ISIS reportedly began deploying a deadly new all-female sniper squad to help fighters in Mosul, Iraq, hold off US and Iraqi forces.
More chilling, ISIS has issued a new marriage certificate allowing brides to carry out suicide missions. Under “condition of wife,” it reads: “If the Prince of believers [ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] consents to her carrying out a suicide mission, then her husband should not prohibit her.”
“This may suggest that the group is looking ahead to a similar transition in using female cadres for suicide missions,” International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism Director Anne Speckhard said.
Women pose a more daunting security threat to the West, because authorities in general do not expect violence from them. So they can pass security more easily, sneaking into public places carrying weapons or wearing bombs without raising suspicions, even strapping explosives around their waists to appear pregnant.
With ISIS now losing territory in Iraq and Syria, America and Europe could see not just more battle-hardened ISIS jihadists returning home, but also young women trained for suicide missions.
More than 45 American women are said to have joined or tried to join ISIS in Syria. Many have been busted marrying or attempting to wed ISIS fighters.
Shannon Maureen Conley was one of the first cases in the US of a female ISIS wannabe. Because the Denver woman seemed to be the quintessential “girl next door,” it shocked terrorism experts.
“I was horrified that she openly admitted to FBI agents that she seriously considered launching a VIP attack right inside the United States,” said Speckhard, who is also a Georgetown University psychology professor.
ISIS is known for sex slavery, mass rape and other brutally misogynistic practices. So what in the world would attract Western women to its fold?
“It seems unfathomable to most of us that a female would want to join ISIS, but their online propaganda has a major focus on twisting the concept of women’s rights,” said Ryan Mauro, a national-security analyst at the Clarion Project. “You’ll see pictures of fully covered women with guns, as if they are treated as equals in jihad.”
Still, Mauro doesn’t buy the conventional wisdom that most of the young female recruits are lonely or angst-ridden and easily seduced into joining ISIS by charismatic male recruiters, who “groom” them much like online child predators.
“It’s not as simple as a girl having a crush on a man. That’s the easy, politically correct answer,” he said. “There’s obviously another critical ideological element involved, because those are issues facing all teenagers.”
In fact, tweet after tweet from ISIS brides reveal they are less victims than willing participants. They show they plainly know their religion and see living under an Islamic theocracy as superior to the secular democracies of the West.
“NO SISTER leaves the comfort of their homes just to marry some man,” suspected American ISIS recruiter Umm Waqqas wrote. “Muslims from all ages are leaving to live in a REAL Muslim country & live under the shades of Sharia,” or Islamic law.
Consider the teen daughter of the Khan family of Chicago. The FBI caught her trying to join ISIS as a minor. Records show she was convinced she had to pack up and join the jihad, even if it meant giving up her comfortable suburban life.
The daughter was well-grounded in Islam — having even earned at a young age the honor of “hafiz,” for memorizing the entire Quran — long before she watched ISIS videos and decided to forsake America. She left a note explaining she could no longer bear to live in “the land who’s [sic] people mock my Allah, my beloved prophet (saw), the commandments of Allah (swt), his law. The ones who are using my money to kill my brothers and sisters.”
Both “saw” and “swt” are abbreviations for traditional Muslim phrases.
Her tweets indicated she supported ISIS’s violence and even intended to participate in it. Like many female ISIS recruits, she had reasoned through her decision theologically, with little emotion, in spite of the atrocities done in the name of that theology.
Mauro, who is also a counterterrorism professor at Liberty University, points out that female recruits are convinced ISIS is “reflective of Allah’s will,” and that it’s their duty to join its caliphate. Part of that is because ISIS makes a convincing case, scripturally.
“When you look at ISIS propaganda, it’s not just well-produced but well-referenced, with tons of references to Islamic verses and scholars,” he said. “The propaganda presents researched arguments that enable ISIS recruiters to withstand scrutiny from a prospective recruit.”
Plus, the terror group paints an attractive picture of Islamic utopia.
“The ISIS caliphate is portrayed as an ideal society on earth where things are great, with women valued, morals upheld, social services minimize insecurity and newcomers are welcomed into the family,” Mauro added. “And you get to earn a ticket to paradise if you die standing against the infidel to preserve it.”
Jaelyn Delshaun Young, of Vicksburg, Miss., is serving 12 years in federal prison for conspiring to provide
material support to ISIS. In 2015, the 19-year-old former honors student and cheerleader was arrested trying to travel to Syria and join ISIS. A Muslim convert, she sent messages to FBI agents she thought were ISIS members, saying, “I cannot wait to get to Dawlah [ISIS territory] so I can be amongst my brothers and sisters under the protection of Allah swt to raise little Dawlah cubs in sha Allah [God willing].” Young expressed a hatred for US soldiers. The FBI’s criminal complaint said she applauded the 2015 Islamic terrorist attack on military sites in Chattanooga, Tenn., saying in a message: “What make me feel bettee [sic] after just watching the news is that an akhi [brother] carried out an attack against US marines in TN! Alhamdulillah [praise Allah], the numbers of supporters are growing.” The
FBI complaint also revealed that she tried to help ISIS target small, regional US airports. “When we get to Dawlah In sha Allah I can tell you about it,” she wrote.
Hoda Muthana, a Birmingham, Ala., college student, fled to Syria to join ISIS and is now suspected of acting as a recruiter for the group. In recent online messages, Muthana has encouraged other American Muslims to attack their own country. “Terrorize the kuffar at home,” she tweeted, using a derogatory Arabic term for non-Muslims. “Wake up!” “You have much to do while you live under our greatest enemy, enough of your sleeping!” Muthana added. “Go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them. Veterans, Patriot, Memorial etc Day parades.” The devout 21-year-old Muslim reportedly married an ISIS fighter from Australia less than a month after arriving in Syria, but he died only a few months later in an airstrike.
Shannon Maureen Conley is a Denver woman serving a four-year prison sentence for attempting to join ISIS in Syria, where she planned to marry a Tunisian fighter she met online. A Muslim convert, Conley was arrested at age 19 for providing material support to a terrorist group. In interviews with FBI agents, she “repeatedly referred to US military bases as ‘targets,’ ” a criminal complaint says. She said she sought to “wage jihad” and viewed even women and children as “legitimate” targets if they were visiting a military base. “It is OK to harm innocents if they are part of a target,” she said. Conley, who practiced firing rifles at a local shooting range, mentioned attacking a government “motorcade” inside the US. “Conley said she needed to go overseas to be trained in jihad, but did not need to be overseas to wage jihad,” the government’s complaint said. Before her arrest, the hijab-wearing Conley had been on the FBI’s radar for nearly a year, thanks to a complaint filed by a local pastor who feared she was casing his church building for a terrorist attack. She was seen walking the grounds wearing a backpack and taking notes. Asked why she appeared to be targeting the mega church, Conley said, “I hate those people.”
Daniela Greene was an FBI translator in Detroit who secretly married an ISIS leader after converting to Islam. She was supposed to be investigating the federally designated terrorist Denis Cuspert, but instead sneaked off to Syria, married Cuspert and warned him that “the FBI had an open investigation into his activities,” recently unsealed court records show. The 38-year-old Greene, who held top-secret security clearance, is also suspected of sharing intelligence with the high-value target. The Clemson University alumna lived with Cuspert for 30 days before authorities arrested her. Cuspert, a native of Berlin, is a known ISIS recruiter who has appeared in ISIS propaganda videos, including one in which he appears to be holding a severed head that he claims belonged to a man executed for opposing the ISIS “caliphate.” Greene served just two years in prison for her traitorous actions and is now out on supervised release.
Paul Sperry is a former Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”