Inside The Chilling Online World Of The Women Of ISIS

Conversations between young women who claim to be ISIS members living in Syria provide a disturbing insight into the everyday lives of female militants.

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The Facebook profiles embedded in the original version of this story have been deactivated and replaced with screenshots of the pages. "All of those pages have been removed as they violate our standards, which don’t permit terrorist groups to use our site," Facebook communications manager Andrew Souvall confirmed.

Twenty-year-old Aqsa Mahmood recently made headlines around the world when her parents revealed that she had run away from her home in Scotland and traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and marry a militant.

A look at her blog's archive reveals her intense interest in Islam and apparent desire to become a jihadi. It also shows communications with other like-minded women, such as the one below, which was posted before Mahmood left her home in November 2013.

Mahmood's first Twitter account, @UmmLayth_, has been deactivated, but since November 18, 2013, she has been tagged in images and posts by other young men and women who claim to be living in Syria.

My sisters @UmmLayth_ Umm Haritha & Umm Ubaydiah ♡ (@Al_Khanssaa) May Allah unite us soon

ام وقاص@_UmmWaqqas

My sisters @UmmLayth_ Umm Haritha & Umm Ubaydiah ♡ (@Al_Khanssaa)

May Allah unite us soon

3:36 PM - 22 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The women refer to immigrating to the "Islamic state" as “hijrah,” or pilgrimage. Posts on Twitter indicate that she planned the journey with other young women she met online.

My sisters. We made hijrah together, May Allāh grant us shahada together & unite us in Jannah @UmmLayth_ @bintladen1

أم عبيدة@Al_Khanssaa

My sisters. We made hijrah together, May Allāh grant us shahada together & unite us in Jannah @UmmLayth_ @bintladen1

1:42 PM - 04 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Tumblr posts and tweets indicate that Mahmood has married a "mujahid", the word ISIS fighters use for themselves.

Only after becoming the wife of a Mujahid do you realise why there is so much reward in this action.

.@AlBrittaniyah

Only after becoming the wife of a Mujahid do you realise why there is so much reward in this action.

6:40 AM - 01 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

(Mahmood's parents have confirmed that she is now married.)

Once you make Hijrah feesabeelilah then your Husband is your only family, and to be able to sacrifice that is always easier said than done.

.@AlBrittaniyah

Once you make Hijrah feesabeelilah then your Husband is your only family, and to be able to sacrifice that is always easier said than done.

1:42 AM - 01 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

An examination of the accounts followed by Mahmood's purported pages reveal communications with many other young women who claim to be ISIS members living in Syria.

Next to one of the street art with @AlBrittaniyah and umm haritha.

أم عبيدة@Al_Khanssaa

Next to one of the street art with @AlBrittaniyah and umm haritha.

11:29 PM - 28 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

A Facebook search of the usernames followed by Mahmood's account yields similar results. The women of ISIS appear to have established networks across social media platforms, which they use to connect with one another and recruit other women.

The instant messaging app KiK is how these women communicate with those seriously considering making the journey.

Wallah one of the things most loved to me is when a sister sincerely kiks me because she wants me to help her make hijrah.

أم عبيدة@Al_Khanssaa

Wallah one of the things most loved to me is when a sister sincerely kiks me because she wants me to help her make hijrah.

6:39 PM - 17 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

On multiple platforms, the women of ISIS offer advice and encouragement to those debating joining the group.

sisters who are coming dont take your eyes of ur luggage or u'll never see it again. keep it with u so I don't have to tell u #itoldyouso

Jihadi Jane@bintladen1

sisters who are coming dont take your eyes of ur luggage or u'll never see it again. keep it with u so I don't have to tell u #itoldyouso

7:43 AM - 04 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

This online support is necessary, since some women make the journey without their family's permission. In a blog post, Mahmood explains how to deal with familial pressure.

The first phone call you make once you cross the borders is one of the most difficult things you will ever have to do. Your parents are already worried enough over where you are, wether you are okay and what's happened. How does a parent who has little Islamic knowledge and understanding comprehend why their son or daughter has left their well off life, education and a bright future behind to go live in a war torn country. Most likely they will blame themselves, they will think they have done something. But until they truly understand from the bottom of their heart that you have done this action sincerely for Allah's sake they will live in hope that you will return. They might assume this is a 'phase' you are going through or a huge mistake you have made. I know of people who have been here in Shaam for over 2 years and their parents still try to persuade them to come back and live in false hope. Make Duaa that Allaah makes it easy for your parents to understand and accept your Hijrah feesabeelilah.

Sometimes it would be easier for you to accept your parents disowning you and wanting nothing to do with you.

However when you hear them sob and beg like crazy on the phone for you to come back it's so hard. Wallahi it's so hard to hear this and I can never do justice to how cold hearted you feel. But as long as you are firm and you know that this is all for the sake of Allah then nothing can shake you inshaAllaah.

The posts by these women — many of whom claim to have traveled to ISIS-occupied Syria from Western countries — provide a chilling look into the everyday lives of these female militants.

Proud of Mujahideen I love Mujahideen because They Are our Protector....... <3 #IS #Khilafah

Mina Mina@MinaMiinaaa

Proud of Mujahideen I love Mujahideen because
They Are our Protector....... <3
#IS #Khilafah

1:06 PM - 03 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Under ISIS' rule, women are required to cover themselves in public. The niqab, a head covering that only reveals a woman's eyes, is mandatory.

Every woman in #Raqqa wears hijab shar'i. #ISIS #Syria. Dawlatul Islam Baqiyah!

Sharia law is strictly enforced, according to the women.

Drove passed the body of the man who was crucified in manbij for raping a 70 year old. Perks of living under the shade of Shariah :p

أم عبيدة@Al_Khanssaa

Drove passed the body of the man who was crucified in manbij for raping a 70 year old. Perks of living under the shade of Shariah :p

5:15 AM - 12 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

(Islamic law dictates that the punishment for stealing is the loss of a hand.)

Alhumdulilaah there were 4 hand cuttings in Mimbej yesterday. & 1 was a man who was nearly a part of Doula (he was doing a Shareeah course)

.@AlBrittaniyah

Alhumdulilaah there were 4 hand cuttings in Mimbej yesterday. & 1 was a man who was nearly a part of Doula (he was doing a Shareeah course)

9:49 PM - 02 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

All work ceases for the daily prayers.

Written on the van Forbidding the evil & enjoining in the good,that goes around town telling shops to close for salah

أم عبيدة@Al_Khanssaa

Written on the van Forbidding the evil & enjoining in the good,that goes around town telling shops to close for salah

8:56 AM - 29 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Polygamy is practiced, they say.

Being in a place where my 22 year old bro casually has three wives & not having to worry is beautiful

LIONESS!!!@SistersHayaa

Being in a place where my 22 year old bro casually has three wives & not having to worry is beautiful

7:40 AM - 27 Jan 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

And it appears from the women's posts as if some non-Muslim women are kept as slaves.

Walked into a room, gave salam to everyone in the room to find out there was a yazidi slave girl there as well.. she replied to my salam :/

Umm Anwar@UmmAnwar_

Walked into a room, gave salam to everyone in the room to find out there was a yazidi slave girl there as well.. she replied to my salam :/

3:53 PM - 28 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

These posts and images from ISIS women are at times surprisingly familiar, such as this Instagram-like sunset photo.

As the sunsets in a part of shaam with @ukhtiB

Umm Anwar@UmmAnwar_

As the sunsets in a part of shaam with @ukhtiB

4:24 PM - 06 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Or this food picture by "Umm Musab," whose Twitter profile reads: "american [sic] muhajira living in the blessed land of Sham (Syria)."

dinner the sisters cooked..fish cought from the Furat river (:

UmmMusab@aishasara4

dinner the sisters cooked..fish cought from the Furat river (:

8:41 AM - 28 Jun 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The selfie culture merges with the culture of jihad.

Chilling with the jihaadi twins hehe and @UmmKhattab__ visits us frequently! LOOL blessing from Allah....Khattab! Come upstairs you clothes

Al Maghrebiyah@ummkhalid__

Chilling with the jihaadi twins hehe and @UmmKhattab__ visits us frequently! LOOL blessing from Allah....Khattab! Come upstairs you clothes

5:41 PM - 08 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Weapons are featured prominently.

My kalash :') not really it belongs to someone else but it's very nice lol

Umm Anwar@UmmAnwar_

My kalash :') not really it belongs to someone else but it's very nice lol

3:41 PM - 13 Mar 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Many of the most active women of ISIS on social media claim to be UK citizens.

Best thing ive done in my 18 years in this world is come to the blessed land of shaam and leave Britain the land of kuffar

Al jazraweeya@UmmKhattab__

Best thing ive done in my 18 years in this world is come to the blessed land of shaam and leave Britain the land of kuffar

5:18 AM - 14 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Although they don't claim to have any loyalty to their homelands.

So there's a threat by David Cameron to revoke our passports. If I could I would burn my passport and send the ashes right to your door step

أم عبيدة@Al_Khanssaa

So there's a threat by David Cameron to revoke our passports. If I could I would burn my passport and send the ashes right to your door step

12:19 AM - 10 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

. @Al_Khanssaa is it healthy for me to do an hourly countdown can't wait lool

Jihadi Jane @bintladen1

. @Al_Khanssaa is it healthy for me to do an hourly countdown can't wait lool

11:47 AM - 10 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

And we sacrificed all of that for the best in akriah were not stupid young brainwashed females weve come here to syria for ALLAH alone

Al Britaniyaa@UmmKhattab__

And we sacrificed all of that for the best in akriah were not stupid young brainwashed females weve come here to syria for ALLAH alone

11:49 AM - 08 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

I might be only 18 but I know coming to shaam the best decision staying in the UK completely diminishes your islam

Al Britaniyaa@UmmKhattab__

I might be only 18 but I know coming to shaam the best decision staying in the UK completely diminishes your islam

11:54 AM - 08 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

In an update to her blog on Thursday, Mahmood echoed this sentiment, vowing that she and her fellow insurgents would only return to their homelands "to raise our flag."

All of us disassociated ourselves from our families, friends and societies. We make it known to the world that never has our allegiance been to the Scottish, British, Swedish, American, Canadian etc…. government. Wallahi we are free of those living in the West who know and proclaim the Shahadah while being beneath the feet of the Kuffar. Ittaqullah.

Know this Cameron/Obama, you and your countries will be beneath our feet and your Kufr will be destroyed, this is a promise from Allah swt that we have no doubt over. If not you then your grandchildren or their grandchildren. But worry not, somewhere along the line your blood will be spilled by our cubs in Dawlah. We have conquered these lands once Beithnillah we will do it again. Read up on your History, and know that it will repeat itself, you will pay Jizyah to us just like you did in the past. This Islamic Empire shall be known and feared world wide and we will follow none other than the Law of the one and the only ilah!

So our answer to our passports being confiscated? Wow wallahiil Adheeem biggest joke of this week. The only time we will ever, ever return to those lands beithnillah is to raise our flag.

The Facebook page Diary of a Muhajirah provides a fascinating look into this society and the ISIS way of life. The blogger is a Western woman who originally travelled to Syria to work as a doctor.

In one post, the woman, who calls herself Bird of Jannah, describes her arranged marriage to her militant husband two months after she arrived in Syria. They met and were married on the same day.

Marriage to a fighter is essentially a requirement for all women who join ISIS. Since they are forbidden from engaging in armed combat, their primary role appears to be taking care of their husbands, and, eventually, children.

Unmarried women live in a group home called a "maqar" until their marriages are arranged and approved.

Single Sisters who wish to come here you get married, if not yous will be staying in a maqar #IS

Umm Anwar@UmmAnwar_

Single Sisters who wish to come here you get married, if not yous will be staying in a maqar #IS

4:15 PM - 26 Jul 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Mahmood explains this to female would-be jihadis on her blog. "It's most appropriate and better for the sisters to get married sooner."

I have stressed this before on twitter but I really need sisters to stop dreaming about coming to Shaam and not getting married. Wallahi life here is very difficult for the Muhajirat and we depend heavily on the brothers for a lot of support. It is not like the west where you can casually walk out and go to Asda/Walmart and drive back home… even till now we have to stay safe outside and must always be accompanied by a Mahram.

Even though we are living in land which is under the control of Doula, there are still a lot of munafiqeen roaming the streets openly. Unless of course if you have family here, if your father or brother is here then it is a different situation. Regardless, it's most appropriate and better for the sisters to get married sooner.

The constant fighting leaves many new wives alone for lengths of time. "Nothing beats the palpitation that a Mujahid's wife has whilst checking list names of the Martyrs," one wife explained.

Although the men do the fighting, the women of ISIS use social media to glorify the group's horrific "victories". Many women, including this self-proclaimed UK citizen, posted graphic images of journalist James Foley being beheaded by an insurgent.

One ISIS woman (whose Facebook profile claims that she went to a Chicago high school) complained about not being able to post graphic decapitation images on her page.

These are women who "LOL" about beheadings as they defend them.

We worship Allah and we do what is best for our deen even if that means beheading a kaffir. Fear Allah and strike fear in the kuffar's heart

Umm Anwar@UmmAnwar_

We worship Allah and we do what is best for our deen even if that means beheading a kaffir. Fear Allah and strike fear in the kuffar's heart

11:39 AM - 03 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Lol I have American journalists asking me questions about why muhajirahs like nutella while dawla is capturing and killing their colleagues

أم عبيدة@Al_Khanssaa

Lol I have American journalists asking me questions about why muhajirahs like nutella while dawla is capturing and killing their colleagues

5:59 AM - 02 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

They use Twitter to mock journalists who write about them.

Lool How the news speaks the opposite love my husband alhamdulillah ❤

Umm Ja'far@jafarbritaniya

Lool
How the news speaks the opposite 😂
love my husband alhamdulillah ❤

4:59 PM - 11 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

These journalist are so annoying no wonder they get kidnapped audibillah

Al Britaniyaa@UmmKhattab__

These journalist are so annoying no wonder they get kidnapped audibillah

11:34 PM - 01 Jul 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

And express the desire to fight and behead people themselves.

If we ever get hold of her I call dibs on cutting her head plz @UmmLayth_ @Al_Khanssaa https://t.co/K3VTQZ6feP

Jihadi Jane@bintladen1

If we ever get hold of her I call dibs on cutting her head plz @UmmLayth_ @Al_Khanssaa https://t.co/K3VTQZ6feP

9:38 AM - 21 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

In a chilling exchange, one woman jokes and laughs with a friend about the first time they saw a dead body.

@aishasara4 loool yes and seeing for the first time a dead body loooool hahahahahha that was so funny

ام يوسف@ummyusuf22

@aishasara4 loool yes and seeing for the first time a dead body loooool hahahahahha that was so funny

10:01 PM - 29 Jun 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

@ummyusufal__ hahahahaha omg I completely forgot about that hahaha subhanAllah ahhh..ahh there having a convoy here in Raqqah today #Khilafa

UmmMusab@aishasara4

@ummyusufal__ hahahahaha omg I completely forgot about that hahaha subhanAllah ahhh..ahh there having a convoy here in Raqqah today #Khilafa

6:07 AM - 30 Jun 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Happy #9/11 Happiest day of my life. Hopefully more to come InSha Allah #IS

Umm Ja'far@jafarbritaniya

Happy #9/11

Happiest day of my life.

Hopefully more to come InSha Allah

#IS

6:14 PM - 10 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The day Osama Bin Laden made America taste it's own medicine!! Its not nice to see your people die right 9/11

Al Britaniyaa@UmmKhattab__

The day Osama Bin Laden made America taste it's own medicine!! Its not nice to see your people die right 9/11

3:10 AM - 11 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Instead of being afraid of possible US action, they claim to be excited about the opportunity to kill more non-Muslims.

I am more then confident that no one in dawlah fears US invasion in fact we are all pretty excited more shuhadah and more slaying kuffar

Al Britaniyaa@UmmKhattab__

I am more then confident that no one in dawlah fears US invasion in fact we are all pretty excited more shuhadah and more slaying kuffar

5:27 AM - 08 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The women of ISIS, like the men, are confident of their eventual victory.

They have taken an oath of death whenever the enemy invades They seek the gardens of eternity, and they fulfill their oath

Jihadi Jane @bintladen1

They have taken an oath of death whenever the enemy invades
They seek the gardens of eternity, and they fulfill their oath

9:38 AM - 11 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

"Here in Iraq we welcome America with our weapons" - Abu Mus'ab Az Zarqawi rahimullāh

أم عبيدة@Al_Khanssaa

"Here in Iraq we welcome America with our weapons"
- Abu Mus'ab Az Zarqawi rahimullāh

8:33 AM - 11 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

"We have Allah [on our side]."

Seriously, when some people hear "America will airstrike Isis in Syria" they cower away and forget that we have Allah subhan Wa ta3alaa.

راية التوحيد@UkhtiB

Seriously, when some people hear "America will airstrike Isis in Syria" they cower away and forget that we have Allah subhan Wa ta3alaa.

7:44 AM - 10 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Under guise of "fighting terror" this bastard goes into our countries to kill more Muslims.Ya Allah! send your wrath upon him&those with him

Khansā | أم خطاب@Ukht_Muwaahida

Under guise of "fighting terror" this bastard goes into our countries to kill more Muslims.Ya Allah! send your wrath upon him&those with him

2:58 PM - 11 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite