This Miss. Honor Student Allegedly Tried to Join ISIS

Jaelyn Delshaun Young was arrested at Golden Triangle airport with 22-year-old
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 11, 2015 11:37 AM CDT
This Miss. Honor Student Allegedly Tried to Join ISIS
In this Oct. 5, 2012 photo, Jaelyn Young, an honor student at Warren Central High School, poses for a photo in Vicksburg, Miss.   (Melanie Thortis/The Vicksburg Evening Post via the AP)

Jaelyn Delshaun Young, 19, graduated from her Mississippi high school in 2013 with honors; Muhammad Oda Dakhlalla, 22, graduated from Mississippi State University in May with a degree in psychology. Today the two are in court, having been arrested on Saturday on charges that they were trying to travel to Syria to join ISIS. Criminal charges filed Saturday say Young and Dakhlalla were arrested that morning at a regional airport near Columbus, Miss. Both are charged with attempting and conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist group. A hearing on their detention began yesterday in US District Court in Oxford and is to continue today. An affidavit by an FBI agent says both confessed their plans after their arrest Saturday. A timeline:

  • The charges indicate that undercover FBI agents interacted online with Young beginning in May. The charge states that her Twitter page said the only thing keeping her from traveling to Syria was her need to earn money. "I just want to be there," she is quoted as saying.
  • In later conversations peppered with Arabic phrases, she said she planned a "nikkah," or Islamic marriage to Dakhlalla, so they could travel without a chaperone under Islamic law.
  • In June, the first FBI agent passed Young off to a second FBI agent posing as an Islamic State facilitator. The charge says Young asked the second agent for help crossing from Turkey to Syria, saying, "We don't know Turkey at all very well (I haven't even travelled outside US before.)"
  • Young later told the FBI that she and Dakhlalla had gotten married June 6 and they planned to claim they were traveling on their honeymoon as a cover story. She also expressed a desire to "raise little Dawlah [ISIS' internal name] cubs."
  • The FBI said Dakhlalla and Young both expressed impatience with how long it was taking for them to be issued passports and the charges say Dakhlalla paid $340 to expedite passport processing on July 1.
  • The couple later bought tickets on Delta Air Lines leaving Golden Triangle Regional Airport bound for Atlanta, Amsterdam, and ultimately Istanbul. Young expressed confidence that security at the small airport would not detect them.
(More ISIS stories.)

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