CO Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Support IS

US native who tried to join IS strikes deal to help intelligence agencies combat terrorism; sentencing upcoming.

Tova Dvorin,

ISIS fighter in Raqqa, Syria
ISIS fighter in Raqqa, Syria
Reuters

A Colorado woman plead guilty to conspiracy to support Islamic State (IS; formerly known as ISIS) on Wednesday, according to the US Department of Justice.

Shannon Conley, 19, was arrested in April as she tried to board a flight to Turkey to join the Islamists. 

Conley joined the US Army Explorers to gain training in armed combat, according to the Department of Justice, and even ignored warnings from federal agents to steer clear of a US-based terrorist organization. 

The warnings surfaced after she was found in possession of a number of CDs and DVDs labeled “Anwar Al-Awlaki." Al-Awlaki was the Colorado educated terror suspect assassinated by a U.S. drone missile in Yemen, according to the report.

Conley’s parents told the FBI they failed to talk their daughter out of her plans. Conley was living with her parents in their Arvada home.

The Arvada, CO native, who calls herself "Halima" after converting to Islam, later confessed to making contact online with a self-professed member of IS. According to the plea agreement, she committed to marry a terrorist in Syria, to provide tactical support to the organization, and to engage in combat herself if necessary.

In court Wednesday, Conley - clad in a prison jumpsuit and Islamic headscarf - said very little, according to the Huffington Post, merely stating that she understood the plea agreement and its ramifications. 

The agreement stipulates that she must cooperate with intelligence and law enforcement agencies and provide information on other US nationals joining terror organizations abroad.

In exchange, her sentence - now a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000 - could be reduced. She will stand for sentencing on January 23, 2015. 

Conley's case has made headlines during a worldwide focus on foreign nationals fleeing to Syria.

Exact data on foreign nationals globally is uncertain; while some estimates claim that up to 75,000 foreign nationals may now have joined Syrian rebel groups, the US State Department placed this number closer to 12,000 on Friday; only 100 of them are estimated to be US citizens.

Conley also made headlines for attempting to join IS from the US, despite having enjoyed full rights and freedoms in the West. 

Women have gained greater prominence in media coverage of IS - both their oppression and their participation in the brutal terror regime.

Days ago, researchers told British media that over sixty women had joined the IS's "modesty police" in Raqqa; last month, 22 year-old London native Khadijah Dare, made headlines after tweeting for 'equal rights' to kill terrorists for IS. 

Women's decision to leave Western culture for IS has made headlines for the oddity of the choice, as well, as international media has widely covered the terror group's brutality to women under its reign, where women have largely been ordered to cover up completely and stay at home, and forcible rape in the early days of IS was - and may still be - a common occurrence. 




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