Allison Fluke-Ekren, the first American to be prosecuted as an ex-leader of an Islamic State battalion

It is the story of an American who grew up in a Midwestern village near Topeka, the capital of Kansas. Daughter and granddaughter of veterans, she lived an ordinary childhood, before studying biology at the University of Kansas and discovering the Muslim religion at the Islamic School of Kansas City. The young woman continued her studies with a master’s degree in teaching in Indiana, another rather peaceful state. After a first marriage which does not last but from which two children are born, the young woman marries a Turkish student with whom she will have five other children. In 2008, the couple moved to Egypt, to Cairo. Allison Fluke-Ekren is fluent in Arabic.

In 2011, the family moved to Benghazi, Libya. The following year, during the attack on a United States building, the young woman allegedly retrieved documents from the premises of the American diplomatic mission, before transmitting them to the terrorist organization Ansar al-Shariah . The couple then travel to Syria where the husband oversees Islamic State snipers. After a stay in Mosul in Iraq, the family returns to Syria. Allison Fluke-Ekren’s husband is killed by an airstrike while conducting reconnaissance for a terrorist attack.

After successively marrying two other jihadists – both killed fighting for the Islamic State – Allison Fluke-Ekren continues to be involved in the organization. According to the prosecution, she admits having imagined attacks in the United States, projects that did not materialize and which would have received the consent of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of the terrorist group. US prosecutors also say that the young woman provided military training to around 100 women in Syria, many of them very young. Sometimes they were girls of about ten years old, enlisted by force. She reportedly taught them how to use assault rifles and explosive belts. A know-how that would have earned her to be appointed by the Islamic State in 2017 at the head of a women’s battalion, a position rarely granted.

After separating from her fifth husband, Allison Fluke-Ekren reportedly turned herself in to local police in Syria near Aleppo as the Islamic State group was routed. Detained in the region, she tries to make believe in her own death to escape legal proceedings in the United States. But American justice finally caught up with her and repatriated her last January. Tried in June in Alexandria, near Washington, she pleaded guilty to “support for a terrorist enterprise”. She is the first American to be prosecuted for assuming a leadership role in the Islamic State.

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