Some girls dream of going to college, having a career, and becoming productive citizens. Others dream of martyrdom and recruiting women to join a violent and radical terrorist group. The teen who fled Scotland in 2013 to join ISIS is now suspected of luring and recruiting three young girls from the United Kingdom.
Aqsa Mahmood left home on what seemed to be an ordinary day in the fall of 2013. She hugged her father goodbye and then hopped a plane to Syria.
One of the common assumptions about people — especially young people — who join terrorist groups is that they come from broken or abusive dysfunctional homes. This isn’t true for Aqsa Mahmood. Think Progress reports that her parents loved her, she had three siblings, lived in an affluent neighborhood, and attended college. She listened to Coldplay and read books like “Harry Potter” and “The Hunger Games.”
Reading usually serves as a way to help teens see that all people have problems in their lives, and in some cases can help them find solutions to the problems that they face. So how does a teen with a preference for YA fiction and is a pretty ordinary teenager come to leave her life to become an ISIS bride and start recruiting others?
The short answer is the internet. According to FOX News, Asqa Mahmood watched sermons and met people online who encouraged her to join ISIS. And this is precisely how investigators suspect she is luring other teenage girls.
Last week, 15-year-old Shamima Begum, 16-year-old Kadiza Sultana and 15-year-old Amira Abase were seen walking through a London airport before getting on a flight to Istanbul. London Metropolitan Police now suspect that the three girls have crossed into Syria.
Aqsa Mahmood’s father believes that she contacted the three girls via Twitter and communicated with at least one of them directly. The investigation is ongoing.