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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More