News / USA

FBI: Colorado Woman Had Plan to Aid ISIL, Wage Jihad

FILE - Demonstrators chant pro-al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) statements as they wave al-Qaida flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, Iraq.
FILE - Demonstrators chant pro-al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) statements as they wave al-Qaida flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, Iraq.
VOA News

A 19-year-old Colorado woman, arrested in April and accused of providing material support to Islamic insurgents, told FBI agents several times that she wanted to take part in holy war overseas, even though she knew it was illegal, recently released federal court records show.

FBI agents tried more than once to discourage Shannon Maureen Conley, who said she was intent on waging jihad in the Middle East before arresting her as she prepared to board a flight that she hoped would ultimately get her to Syria.

Conley, of Arvada, Colorado, is accused of providing material support to Islamist insurgents fighting the governments of Syria and Iraq, and of conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, officials said Wednesday.

According to a criminal complaint filed with U.S. District Court in Colorado, Conley, a Muslim convert, is a certified nurse's aide and underwent training at the U.S. Army Explorers (USAE) in Texas in February.

Met suitor online

She was arrested April 8 at Denver's airport, telling federal agents she planned to live with a suitor she met online, apparently a Tunisian man identified only as Y.M., who claimed to be fighting for an al-Qaida splinter group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The militant group also known as ISIL or ISIS has recently overrun parts of Iraq and Syria.

The Sunni Muslim militant group is an al-Qaida offshoot that wants to re-create a medieval-style caliphate from the Mediterranean to the Gulf and deems Shi'ite Muslims to be heretics deserving death.

Conley and Y.M. met online last year.

Her case had been sealed until June 27 when a federal judge ordered most of the records made public.

Court documents said Conley and Y.M. shared a view of Islam "as requiring participation in violent jihad against any non-believers," and said they decided to get engaged.

Her “legitimate targets of attack” included military facilities, government employees and public officials, court documents stated.

Before traveling to Syria, the court papers said, Conley was to obtain additional skills and training to provide support to the insurgents, and to fight herself if deemed necessary.

Conley told investigators she planned to fly to Turkey and then travel to Syria to become a housewife and a nurse at Y.M.'s camp, providing medical services and training.

Extremist views

FBI agents became aware of Conley's growing interest in extremism in November 2013 after she started talking about terrorism with employees of a suburban Denver church who found her wandering around and taking notes on the layout of the campus, according to the court documents.

The church, Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, was the scene of a 2007 shooting in which a man killed two missionary workers.

In a second interview in December 2013, she told FBI agents she joined USAE to be trained in military tactics and firearms, and that she "intended to use that training to go overseas to wage Jihad," the affidavit said.

"When asked if she still wanted to carry out the plans, knowing they are illegal, Conley said that she does," it said.

She spoke with agents several times, telling them of her desire for jihad, the records state.

The agents said they tried openly to dissuade her, urging her instead to support Muslims through humanitarian efforts, which she told them was not an option.

Agents encouraged Conley's parents to get her to meet with elders at her mosque to find more moderate options. Her parents knew she had converted to Islam but were apparently unaware of her extremism, authorities said.

Her father told an agent in March that Conley and her suitor had asked for his blessing to marry and were surprised when he declined. Her father later found a one-way plane ticket to Turkey.

Four days before her arrest, she told agents “there was nothing they could do to change her mind and that she was still going," according to court documents.

If convicted, Conley faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.

British case

Also Thursday, British media reported an ominous message delivered via Twitter.

An image of sealed containers, believed to be homemade bombs, was posted with the message: “So the UK is afraid I come back with the skills I gained.”

Reuters reported that the Twitter account belongs to 20-year-old Nasser Muthana, a purported British recruit to ISIL.

In a recruiting video for the Sunni militant group, Muthana goes by the name “Abu Muthanna Al Yemeni,” and calls on others to join: “Oh, you who believe, answer the call of Allah and his messenger when he calls you to what gives you life. [inaudible] says that what gives you life is jihad, and know by Allah that this is the land of jihad and the land of [inaudible]; the land of living. We have brothers from Bangladesh, from Iraq, from Cambodia, Australia, UK, we've nothing has gathered us accept to make Allah [inaudible]'s word the highest. That's all we've came for.”

The message is raising security concerns in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, and comes after a three week push by ISIL, now called the Islamic State, to takeover cities across Iraq and Syria.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid