Picture of Michigan Woman Killed in Syria Emerges
Nicole Mansfield converted to Islam after meeting Arab immigrant: family
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted May 31, 2013 4:03 AM CDT
This citizen journalism image shows Syrian rebels, right, standing near a damaged warplane, at Abu Dhour military airbase in the northern province of Idlib, Syria.   (AP Photo/The Syrian Revolution Against Bashar Assad)

(Newser) – The FBI has confirmed reports that a Michigan woman was killed fighting alongside anti-government forces in Syria, her family says. A number of years ago, Nicole Mansfield married an Arab immigrant; afterward, she converted to Islam, relatives tell the Detroit Free Press. After he got a green card to stay in the US, the two divorced, approximately three years ago. Around that time, Mansfield headed to Dubai, but she returned in accordance with her family's wishes. It's not clear what prompted her trip to Syria.

Syrian reports said Mansfield was killed with two Brits; the group was said to be carrying weapons and the flag of al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra. Mansfield's conversion and decision to wear a hijab "bothered me," says her aunt. As for her death, "I’m sick over it," the aunt says. "I didn’t think she was (a terrorist), but God only knows." Mansfield was raised Baptist and worked as a carer for elderly people for a decade. She "had a heart of gold, but she was weak-minded," her grandmother says. "I think she could have been brainwashed."