How a Jewish French Girl Joined ISIS

Center against Islamic cults reveals how girl from religious Jewish family turned to anti-Semitic Islamic extremist bent on jihad in Syria.

Ari Yashar,

(Illustration)
(Illustration)
Thinkstock

After it was revealed last Friday that a Jewish girl was among 100 French women and girls joining the brutal Islamic State (ISIS) terror group in Syria and Iraq, another Jewish girl has been revealed as having joined ISIS - and trying to blow up her parents' shop for jihad.

The girl, a 17-year-old identified only as A who grew up in a religious family and today covers her face with a traditional Muslim face veil, was set to leave for Syria but was caught before take off.

Anthropologist Dounia Bouzar, founder of the Center for the Prevention of Islamic Related Sects (CPDSI) that works to rescue French youth from radical Islamic brainwashing, told the Hebrew-language Channel 2 about the details of the case which she has been working on.

The girl referred to as A tried to leave for Syria, but at the last minute the Center succeeded in keeping her with her parents "so that the family connection won't be broken - that's important to prevent even more serious extremism," said Bouzar.

According to the anthropologist, A's case is unusual because she was not brainwashed from a recruiter, but rather "is a victim of brainwashing that she did to herself. Today her face is totally covered, she is an extreme anti-Semite and claims she is the victim of a conspiracy. It's a hard case and we still have a long way to go."

Understanding how A reached the point she arrived at is difficult, as she "grew up in a Jewish home that was religious but open with loving parents," said Bouzar.

The parents contacted Bouzar in March, and are "pretty affluent merchants who are trying to rescue A from this trap. Imagine the shock of the parents when they found out that their daughter intended to blow up their store!"

A was an outstanding student in a good high school in Paris, reports the anthropologist, but signs of a problem first were raised when her parents found their daughter's grades had dropped "from 90 to 10, and she started to refuse to leave home."

The Jewish girl turned ISIS fanatic doesn't fit the mold Bouzar reports seeing, in that "the overwhelming majority come from atheistic homes. It can be assumed that the lack of spiritual elements in education is one of the causes of extremism." However, Bouzar stresses A's parents "are also believers and also open."

One point about A's case that is similar to the trend is that she - like 70% of others trying to join jihad in Syria - is not Muslim.

ISIS recruiting networks - not only online

While A presumably began her descent into Muslim extremism from ISIS's numerous French recruitment sources online, Bouzar warns "there are worse things that the virtual enemy and more dangerous - there are actual networks to recruit candidates for Syria planted in France and the Paris region. She made contact with them and they won't leave her alone."

A's parents have been forced to move to a new apartment out of fear of the extremist jihadist recruiters, but report worrying signs that their daughter is still under the influence of her ISIS handlers.

"When they take away her iPhone they find a new iPhone on her a few days later," notes Bouzar. "The same thing regarding propaganda books that keep popping up in her room despite her parents' alertness."

A French official on Monday revealed that the Jewish girl who left for Syria last week was not the only Jew to have joined ISIS, apparently hinting at A, and added that over 1,000 French citizens have so far joined ISIS.

Meyer Habib, a member of French parliament, told Channel 2 that if the French Jewish teenager had indeed joined ISIS "it really is the end of the world."

For those women who make it to Syria and Iraq and join the jihadist group, they generally serve as wives, concubines, babysitters and housekeepers for the terrorists, positions they can never leave in most cases.




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