Two Somali – Australian girls flee to Syria to become IS brides
Sydney ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – A Somali – Australian teenager and her 20-year-old friend have become the first Somali – Australian women to “go it alone” to join terrorists in Syria and offer themselves as potential jihadi brides, intelligence agencies believe.
The girls, Hodan, 18 and Hafsa, 20, who are believed to have links with the Somali community, flew out of Sydney in the past fortnight to go overseas and are believed to have lied to their families about why they were travelling. The Sunday Telegraph has chosen not to publish their last names.
While there have been numerous cases of young Australian men being radicalised by Islamic State recruiters and women joining their husbands or boyfriends in the Syrian war zone, this is the first case of young women travelling independently to travel to the war zone.
If they travel to Islamic State’s stronghold in northern Syria, the province of al-Raqqa, the pair will face a jail term of up to 10 years if they ever return to Australia.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said fresh reports of teenagers travelling to the region was of great concern.
“It’s a deeply disturbing phenomenon,’’ she said. “We are now seeing examples of young women being radicalised and travelling to Syria and Iraq to take part in fighting for listed terrorists organisations.”
Ms Bishop recently declared the area a “no-go zone” under foreign fighters laws, making it a criminal offence to travel to the region without a good reason.
Islamic State has issued a worldwide recruitment drive to secure brides for jihadists fighters.
Murdered Australian woman Amira Karroum, who grew up in Brisbane, died after she travelled to Syria with her husband.
Austrian teenagers Sabina Selimovic, 15, and Samra Kesinovic, 17, previously gained worldwide attention after fleeing their families to marry jihadists. In April, they left a note for their parents which read: “Don’t look for us. We will serve Allah — and we will die for him.”
Attorney General George Brandis would not comment on any individual cases but said families were now on the frontline of authorities’ hopes of stopping young Australians from travelling to the region.
“Families should tell any family members or friends over there not to engage in any fighting and to leave Syria or Iraq as soon as possible. Leaving the region is the best way to reduce the potential dangers to themselves and others,’’ he said.
“Our security and law enforcement agencies are very active in working with the community to counter violent extremism.
“Where necessary, one of the key ways to prevent people leaving the country to travel to the conflict zone is to cancel their passports. However, appropriately, a high threshold must be satisfied to take such action, such as a threat to security.
“It will usually be families, friends and local communities who are the first to see changes in a person who is radicalising or thinking about travelling to participate in a foreign conflict.
“We encourage all families to talk to their children about the dangers posed by ISIL and travelling to conflict zones. These terrorist organisations are taking advantage of vulnerable youths and luring them on false pretences. In reality, ISIL is a brutal death cult that rapes and murders innocent civilians, whether Muslim or non-Muslim.For more news and stories, join us on Facebook,Twitter , or contact us through our Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com