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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid