The widow of one of the Islamic fanatics responsible for last week’s terror rampage in Paris comes across as prim, even drab, as she goes through passport control at the airport here ISTANBUL—On the CCTV footage released by Turkish police.
Hayat Boumeddiene’s tightly drawn white headscarf and hooded coat is a cultural world out of the scanty bikini she was wearing in a photograph that showed her on a beach fondly clutching future assassin Amedy Coulibaly. The vacation snap was taken before 2009, when she started initially to cover herself up with scarves and veils.
The transfer is startling from sun-worshipper and eager holidaymaker into the buttoned-up moll of an Islamic assassin.
The 26-year-old looks giddily in love cuddling Coulibaly—a display of public affection hardly in keeping with the puritanical strictures of Salafi jihadis.
Her partner that is now-dead also to pursue a lifestyle that clashed with the teachings of Islamic militants. Neither were paragons of religious rectitude. French police arrested Coulibaly on a string of theft and drug offenses before he embarked from the path of jihad and finished up gunning down four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris week that is last. When you look at the caliphate for the Islamic that is self-styled State where, based on Turkish ukrainian brides authorities, Boumeddiene has found sanctuary and to whom Coulibaly apparently aligned himself, theft and drug use incur far worse punishments compared to those meted out because of the unenlightened West—including flogging, amputation, and execution.
But then Boumeddiene and Coulibaly aren’t unique in having exited rowdy alternative lifestyles totally at variance with Islamic puritanism, embracing instead the simplicity of jihad. A little less than his consort although Coulibaly, it seems, observed the conservative demands. During a 2010 interview with police investigators, Boumeddienne admitted Coulibaly “wasn’t really religious” and liked to “have fun.”
Some Westerners do indeed appear to have been devout before traveling to Syria or aligning themselves with jihadis—although how knowledgeable the really young ones or the obviously disturbed are about their religion remains questionable. A few of the devotion that is frantic the ring of hollow religiosity, ritual without content, more cult-like than whatever else.
Even so, Melanie Smith, a researcher using the International Centre for the analysis of Radicalization, has argued that lots of of the estimated 200 or more Western girls and ladies who have gone to Syria to participate the militants “tend to be extremely pious and also been IS fan-girls through the duration of the Syrian conflict.”
Aqsa Mahmood, a 20-year-old who was raised in a well-heeled Glasgow suburb and attended an exclusive Scottish girls’ school, fits into that profile. She led an orderly life as a teenager—wasn’t involved in boys, drugs or petty crimes. She seemed normal in most ways until she was groomed and lured online. And, relating to her parents, she became more “concerned and upset” by reports regarding the Syrian conflict. “Aqsa, like many young adults in our community, was naturally angry and frustrated at the loss in innocent life in the Middle East,” the parents said at a press conference last summer after their daughter ran off to Syria to become a jihadi bride.
Other recruits into the jihadist cause, though, may actually have had a more “secular” glide path, swapping whatever they see due to the fact rootlessness and chaos of the lives for the false clarity and fake simplicity made available from al Qaeda or the Islamic State (also well regarded as ISIS).
That are more the real reason for the recruitment of Britain’s Sally Jones—an much more Salafi that is unlikely candidate the bikini-wearing Boumeddiene. Jones was 45 years old when recruited and wasn’t even born into a Muslim or a minority immigrant family.
Now calling herself Sakinah Hussain or Umm Hussain al-Britani, Jones, a mom-of-two from the rural county of Kent in southeast England, sneaked into Syria in late 2013 after an online romance with Junaid Hussain, a young hacker-turned-militant through the English city of Birmingham. She is regarded as staying in the city of Raqqa, the de facto capital in northern Syria for the Islamic State. In online exchanges with potential Western recruits, she claims to be experiencing the strict Sharia law of this caliphate, from whence she tweets blood-chilling threats.
Her most micro-missive that is vicious within the wake of the mass decapitations of 50 Syrian soldiers, for which she declared: “You Christians all need beheading with a fantastic blunt knife and stuck regarding the railings at Raqqa. Come here I’ll do so for you!” She posts photos of herself posing with an assault that is AK-47 and dressed up in black niqab, which covers most of the face and body except the eyes. She and Hussain—he’s 25 years her junior—are now married.
But back within the 1990s she was a part of a smalltime girl punk rock band called Krunch and was then wielding a guitar rather than an automatic rifle.
She was in and out of relationships and dead-end jobs. One online video shows her wearing a low-cut top and tight leather mini-skirt. Neighbors when you look at the town of Chatham have described her to British tabloids as a “nightmare”—an aggressive, anarchic woman who dabbled in witchcraft and drugs and threatened to put spells on them.
A purposeless, ungrounded life stands out with Boumeddiene, too. Born when you look at the Paris suburb of Villiers-sur-Marne, she spent my youth in a rundown part of the town. Her mother was devout and died when Hayat was 6. Her father was unable to cope after his wife’s death and Hayat and some of her six siblings needed to be taken into foster care. Her father visited her rarely and then appears to have broken along with her after remarrying, although recently they truly are thought to have reconciled. In care, she needed to be moved frequently between foster homes because she proved troublesome and violent. She met Coulibaly in Juvisy-sur-Orge, southeast of Paris, while working as a cashier, a working job she later lost because of her insistence on wearing the niqab.
One neighbor told French media that Coulibaly was the force that is driving their partnership: “She left here with this man. He did everything after which it all came down on her behalf. He had been the mastermind.”
Maybe so, maybe not. The masterminds that are real to be their jihadi mentors, who knew how exactly to channel the purposelessness and direct the anger. Of her religion, she told detectives this year, “It’s something that calms me down. I’ve had a life that is difficult this religion has answered all my questions.”