In its quest to replace soldiers who are dying on the battlefield, ISIS has begun to recruit women from the West — including from America — in order to bear the group offspring. The organization refers to these children as “cubs of the Caliphate,” who it hopes will one day carry on the fight against the United States and its allies. These Western “lionesses of Allah” are thought to now amount to more than 600, and American intelligence agencies have warned that their numbers are rising.
Many of these women show no signs of being outraged or disgusted by the violent acts that the terrorist group is known for — in fact, in many cases, just the opposite is true. Most worrisome is that in a number of the known cases so far, the women appear to have been ordinary Americans or Britons who some residents would consider “the girl next door.”
In Vicksburg, Virginia, Jaelyn Delshaun Young, a 19-year-old ex-cheerleader and honors student was arrested when she attempted to travel to Syria to join ISIS as a potential bride. “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],” she wrote to FBI agents she believed to be members of ISIS. (The abbreviation “swt” is a shortening of a traditional Muslim phrase.) Young had recently converted to Islam and had applauded the 2015 terror attack on U.S. soldiers in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“What makes me feel better after just watching the news is that an akhi [brother] carried out an attack against U.S. Marines in TN! Alhamdulillah [praise Allah], the numbers of supporters are growing,” she wrote. The FBI was able to prove in court that Young had tried to help terrorists target regional U.S. airports, leading to a 12-year federal prison sentence for the young woman.
In suburban Arvada, Colorado, Shannon Maureen Conley was a 19-year-old trained nurse’s aide who wanted to travel to Syria to meet an ISIS suitor who she’d been in online contact with. Conley, who had converted to Islam, had taken to wearing a headscarf around her suburban neighborhood and had aroused suspicions of her neighbors and her parents, who discovered a one-way plane ticket to Turkey with their daughter’s name on it.
Conley had also been spotted firing rifles at a nearby shooting range and walking the grounds of a local “mega-church” taking notes and wearing a backpack. The church’s pastor alerted the FBI, which later questioned the teen. Conley “repeatedly referred to U.S. military bases as ‘targets,'” read the criminal complaint against her. “Conley said she needed to go overseas to be trained in jihad, but she did not need to be overseas to wage jihad.”
Conley had told the FBI that even children and women were “legitimate” targets if they happened to be visiting military bases. “It is OK to harm innocents if they are part of a target,” Conley said. The teen had also referred to attacking a government “motorcade” within the United States.
Conley was arrested at Denver International Airport trying to board a flight to Turkey and was charged with attempting to assist a terrorist organization. She later made a plea deal with the FBI that gave her a four-year reduced prison sentence in exchange for helping the bureau hunt for other Americans with similar intentions.
Former FBI chief James Comey has said that stopping homegrown radicalization via the Internet of Americans is a top priority for the bureau. He said that Syria is both a safe haven and a training ground for recruited Westerners, who often get involved in “the worst kind of relationships and [receive] the worst kind of training.”
In Britain, Sally Jones, a 49-year-old blond-haired former guitarist for the all-girl rock band Krunch is on a special-forces “kill list” for threatening the life of her country’s Queen Elizabeth II. The failed plot was to have taken place on an anniversary of World War II V-J Day in London. In addition, Jones was accused of two further plots, including a plan for a mass shooting at a concert in North Carolina and an attempt to livestream the murder of a U.S. soldier.
Jones had married an ISIS computer hacker named Junaid Hussain, who originally hailed from Birmingham, England. The pair traveled to Raqqa, Syria, where Hussain was killed by a U.S. military drone in 2015. Before his death, the two had become semi-celebrities in the world of ISIS, with both actively recruiting new members from the West. They had been nicknamed “Mr. and Mrs. Terror” by the organization.
Jones and Hussain had two children, one of whom is an 11-year-old boy thought to have been seen in a video in which ISIS youngsters executed captured Kurdish soldiers. Jones is currently believed to be hiding somewhere in Syria or Iraq.
For widows such as Jones, ISIS pays a lifelong stipend, labeling the women “shaheed,” or “wives of martyrs.” “U dnt have 2 pay 4 ANYTHING if u r shaheed,” wrote one Western convert in Syria. ISIS also pays the women to have children. For each “cub of the Caliphate” they deliver, they receive a $25-per-month award, in addition to a $400 maternity bonus and $500 marriage bonus.
But even more sickening is that the terrorist organization is recruiting the women to be suicide bombers or killers like Tashfeen Malik, the wife who helped her Muslim husband slaughter 14 of his innocent co-workers in San Bernardino, California in 2015.
A friend of Sally Jones named Umm Muthanna al-Britani tweeted that she wished to be “martyred in the cause of Allah,” stating, “I came [to Syria] to die. I will not leave till I get what I came here for: shahadah [martyrdom]… Everyone around me is getting shahadah. When will it be my turn?”
When the horrific terror attacks of November 2015 happened in Paris, Muthanna tweeted, “Wish I could have seen the hostages being slaughtered last night with my own eyes. Would have been beautiful… Burn, Paris, burn. LOL, HOW SCARED ARE THESE KUFFAR [non-believers].”
ISIS now incorporates into its marriage certificates language that states, “If the Prince of believers [ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] consents to [a wife] carrying out a suicide mission, then her husband should not prohibit her.” Terrorism experts say that women pose more of a security threat to Western targets because they arouse less suspicion. They can carry bombs or explosives strapped to their waists while appearing to be pregnant.
“The group is looking ahead to using female cadres for suicide missions,” said Anne Speckhard, the director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism in Washington, D.C.
For the FBI and other law enforcement sources, these are worrying trends that mean more may need to be done online to catch recruits before they act. “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,” noted Ryan Mauro, national security analyst with the Clarion Project and a professor of counterterrorism at Liberty University.
“You’ll see pictures of fully covered women with guns, as if they’re treated as equals in jihad.” The reality, however, is much different, said Mauro, as ISIS is known for mass rape, sex slavery and other apocryphal offenses against women.
“NO SISTER leaves the comfort of their homes just to marry some man,” American ISIS convert Umm Waqqas wrote. “Muslims from all ages are leaving to live in a REAL Muslim country & live under the shades of Sharia [Islamic law].”
Mauro says that the theological angle is the real draw for Western women. “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 says.
“The propaganda presents researched arguments that enable ISIS recruiters to withstand scrutiny from a prospective recruit. The ISIS caliphate is portrayed as an ideal society on earth where things are great, with women valued, morals upheld, social services that minimize insecurity and newcomers that are welcomed into the family,” he added. “And you get to earn a ticket to paradise if you die standing against the infidel to preserve it.”
~ American Liberty Report