He looked at me. Judging by the English writing on some of the pictures posted online, the group is targeting potential western brides — something they have had success with in the past.
The most famous case of late was that of two Austrian teenagers who fled to join the group and are believed to have been killed in November after trying to flee. But as indicated by report by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation at a London University, the reasons for western women to be attracted to such extremist groups are varied and complex.
CNN is currently reporting on "Jihotties".
I love seeing what hip lingo reporters find on Google. You cannot be serious! Ugh, I'm going back to bed. I would later learn that he had spent the past 15 years waging jihad all over the world. But for the moment, I knew nothing of the bellicose man on my screen, proudly unveiling the contents of his SUV glove box: He removed his reflective Ray-Bans, revealing darkly lined, black eyes. I knew that Afghan soldiers wore kohl around their eyes. Still, seeing a terrorist with eyes made up like my own was surprising.
He spoke perfect French, with what to me sounded like a very slight Algerian accent. He smiled broadly as he beckoned viewers and called for hijrah: I usually kept a low profile on my account. My profile picture was a cartoon image of Princess Jasmine from the Disney movie Aladdin. I tended to change my profile location depending on what story I was working on. Now I claimed to be in Toulouse. I shared the video. Anyway, it depends on the person. I deliberately included spelling mistakes, and tried to use teen vocabulary. I waited for his reply with a knot in my stomach.
This seemed too big to be true. I had interviewed mujahideen before, but never anyone over 20, and never anyone who expressed anything beyond the official propaganda. Do you have any questions about the video you shared? I can tell you about everything going on in Syria — the only real truth: We should talk over Skype.
Skype was out of the question. I suggested we talk another time. Bilel knew nothing about this girl and already he was asking her to join him. I wanted to understand how European children were falling for this propaganda, and to grasp the mindset of soldiers who spent their days torturing, stealing, raping, killing, and their nights staring into their computers and bragging.
Skyping with the enemy: I went undercover as a jihadi girlfriend | World news | The Guardian
Perhaps this man would give me an insight. For now, however, it was getting late, and my boyfriend, Milan, was due to come round. I called to tell him I wanted to spend the night at his apartment instead. That Monday, I rushed to the magazine where I often do freelance work, eager to discuss my lead with one of the editors.
I had forwarded him the video of Bilel showing off the contents of his car. He was stunned by how easily contact had been established.
- free profile search dating.
- My ISIS boyfriend: A reporter’s undercover life with a terrorist?
- 50 plus dating club.
- dating a girl with no female friends.
- Jihadists Using Matchmaking Sites to Find Partners;
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He agreed that this was an opportunity, but reminded me that pursuing this could be dangerous. I needed to look 10 years younger, find a veil, and somehow slip into the skin of a year-old woman. Another editor, a former reporter who would also be supervising my investigation, lent me a hijab and a black dress — a kind of djellaba. I was glad to wear the veil.
CNN roasted for ‘jihotties’ segment detailing online push to promote ISIS bachelors
It was one hour later in Syria. That gave us time to prepare before Bilel came online. We looked for the best angle from which to take pictures of the computer screen and keep me as indistinct as possible. We had strict orders to prioritise our safety above all else.
He helped me readjust the hijab so it covered every strand of hair and showed only the oval of the face. I removed my rings and covered the tattoo on my wrist with foundation. I sat cross-legged on my sofa. It had a high back, which hid most of my apartment and any distinctive features from the camera. He positioned himself in a blind spot behind the sofa. The Skype ringtone sounded like a church bell. I took a moment to breathe, then I clicked the button, and there he was.
His eyes were still accentuated with dark liner.
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He appeared to be Skyping from his car, using a smartphone. He looked clean, even well-groomed. He was a proud man, his shoulders pulled back and his chin thrust forward, but I sensed he was nervous. After what felt like an eternity, he finally broke the silence: I share the computer with my sister, and my mum takes it away from us a lot. Even your phone is newer than mine. Here the enemy is the devil. You have no idea. The enemy steals from and kills poor Syrians.
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He rapes women, too. You have a beautiful soul.
She asked him to show her his surroundings. He claimed to be near Aleppo. In reality, he was probably several miles from the Isis stronghold of Raqqa. He got out of his car and his smartphone showed images of a devastated Syria. Not a person in sight. It was about 9pm there, and it was absolutely silent. I listened to the conversation.
I was able to distinguish the voices of two other men. They greeted each other in Arabic, then French, which sounded like their mother tongue. This area is all cleared out. The dried blood I could see on the concrete was evidence of a recent attack. The other men were quick to congratulate Bilel. The exchange was short, but their way of addressing him suggested he was higher in the ranks than they were.
And just as beautiful. I quizzed him about where he was and what he had done. I was dying for a cigarette. Bilel assumed that everything had been decided. You can trust me. I logged off Skype as a kind of survival reflex. We stared at each other. How was I to respond? Bilel was calling again. I disabled the video connection.
Here, women are supposed to get married when they turn My mum is getting home. I received more from him than from my boyfriend.