ISIS' New Recruiting Targets: American Women?

Meanwhile, Arab countries agree to help with US airstrikes
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2014 4:01 PM CDT
ISIS' New Recruiting Targets: American Women?
The home of Ana Maria and John Conley, pictured in Arvada, Colo., on July 3, 2014, is where their daughter Shannon Maureen Conley, 19, lived until her arrest by the FBI in April.   (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

America may now be at war with ISIS, but a handful of Americans are joining up with the Islamic extremist group—and not all of them are men. US law enforcement is looking into a recent spate of women allegedly seeking to join the jihad, Reuters reports. In the past six weeks, three families in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area have reported missing female family members they suspect may be enlisting, one local Muslim community leader says. On Aug. 25, another 19-year-old from the area ran away from home, hopped a flight to Turkey, and joined ISIS in Syria.

"The nature of the recruitment of these crazy organizations is how they use the element of surprise. Now they have surprised us again by going for the girls," the community leader says. The Twin Cities are a hotbed for such recruiting because they boast America's largest Somalian population, but the problem isn't entirely localized: In July, a 19-year-old Colorado woman was arrested for allegedly trying to join up. In other ISIS news:

  • State Department officials tell the New York Times that several Arab countries have agreed to help with the US airstrike campaign against ISIS—though some will only be providing supplies rather than running strikes of their own.
  • Iraqi officials say that France has agreed to carry out airstrikes of its own, and Australia has announced that it will be as well. Australia will also be sending 200 troops to Iraq to serve as military advisers.
  • Meanwhile, ISIS has been enjoying a PR boon of sorts among extremists online thanks to its string of grisly beheading videos, the Guardian reports. "The wannabe foreign fighters are excited by these killings," the director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization explains. "People in Tunisia and Libya are particularly interested in the prospect of fighting American and now British enemies. This is turning on people who were radicalized before this conflict started but weren't particularly excited by the Sunni-Shia battle."
(More jihad stories.)

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