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 to your buttoned-up moll of an assassin that is islamic.
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 in the path of jihad and ended up gunning down four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris last week. Within the caliphate associated with Islamic that is self-styled State where, according to Turkish authorities, Boumeddiene has found sanctuary and also 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.
Then again Boumeddiene and Coulibaly aren’t unique in having exited rowdy alternative lifestyles totally at variance with Islamic puritanism, embracing instead the simplicity of jihad. Although Coulibaly, it seems, observed the conservative demands a little not as much as his consort. During a 2010 interview with police investigators, Boumeddienne admitted Coulibaly “wasn’t really religious” and liked to “have fun.”
Some Westerners do indeed may actually 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 number of the frantic devotion has the ring of hollow religiosity, ritual without content, more cult-like than whatever else.
Even so, Melanie Smith, a researcher with all the International Centre for the research of Radicalization, has argued that many of the estimated 200 or more Western girls and ladies who have gone to Syria to join the militants “tend to be extremely pious while having been IS fan-girls through the duration of the Syrian conflict.”
Aqsa Mahmood, a 20-year-old who was simply 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 with boys, drugs or petty crimes. She seemed normal in most ways until she was groomed and lured online. And, according to her parents, she became more “concerned and upset” by reports associated with the Syrian conflict. “Aqsa, like many young people inside our community, was naturally angry and frustrated at the lack of innocent life in the centre East,” the parents said at a press conference last summer after their daughter ran off to Syria in order to become a jihadi bride.
Other recruits towards the jihadist cause, though, may actually have had a more “secular” glide path, swapping what they see due to the fact rootlessness and chaos of these lives when it comes to false clarity and fake simplicity provided by al Qaeda or the Islamic State (also well regarded as ISIS).
That appears to be more the explanation for the recruitment of Britain’s Sally Jones—an much more Salafi that is unlikely candidate the bikini-wearing Boumeddiene. Jones was 45 yrs old when recruited and wasn’t even born into a Muslim or a minority family that is immigrant.
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 new hacker-turned-militant through the English city of Birmingham. She is regarded as surviving in the town of Raqqa, the de facto capital in northern Syria of the Islamic State. In online exchanges with potential Western recruits, she claims to be experiencing the strict Sharia law regarding the caliphate, from whence she tweets blood-chilling threats.
Her most micro-missive that is vicious when you look at the wake of this mass decapitations of 50 Syrian soldiers, in which she declared: “You Christians all need beheading with a pleasant blunt knife and stuck on the railings at Raqqa Continue. Come here I’ll get it done for you!” She posts photos of herself posing with an AK-47 assault rifle and dressed in black niqab, which covers all the face and the body except the eyes. She and Hussain—he’s 25 years her junior—are now married.
But back when you look at the 1990s she was a part of a smalltime girl punk rock band called Krunch and ended up being wielding a guitar in place of an automatic rifle.
She was at and out of relationships and dead-end jobs. One video clip shows her wearing a low-cut top and leather mini-skirt that is tight. Neighbors in 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 to them.
A purposeless, ungrounded life stands out with Boumeddiene, too. Born within the Paris suburb of Villiers-sur-Marne, she was raised in a rundown an element of the town. Her mother was devout and died when Hayat was 6. Her father was not able to cope after his wife’s death and Hayat plus some of her six siblings must be taken into foster care. Her father visited her rarely after which seemingly have broken along with her after remarrying, although recently they truly are thought to have reconciled. In care, she had to frequently be moved between foster homes because she proved troublesome and violent. She met Coulibaly in Juvisy-sur-Orge, southeast of Paris, while being employed as a cashier, a job she later lost because of her insistence on wearing the niqab.
One neighbor told French media that Coulibaly was the driving force in their partnership: “She left here with this man. He did everything after which it all came down on her. He was the mastermind.”
Maybe so, maybe not. The masterminds that are real to be their jihadi mentors, who knew just how to channel the purposelessness and direct the anger. Of her religion, she told detectives this season, “It’s something that calms me down. I’ve had a life that is difficult this religion has answered all my questions.”