Escaping ISIS

by ARIANA GOMEZ

Staff Writer

A 15-year-old French girl who is going by the fake name of Joanna has recently been trying to use the internet as a source of tracking down a fake passport and a way to Syria. She eventually found herself in direct contact with one of the women involved in the Paris attacks. Joanna says the woman was looking for someone to travel to Syria with her, and was trying to control everything Joanna did. Joanna was brought up Catholic, just like almost every other child in France, but in her teens, she made the decision to convert to Islam. Her mother says, As a baby she was the first one to learn how to speak, to learn her colors. She was very active, and got bored very quickly,” she remembers. “When she was six or seven she was very curious about religion, and decided she wanted to work in a church”. When Joanna converted to Islam, her mother just figured it was a teenage rebellion phase. Joanna’s mother soon found her daughter almost brainwashed by people who were working with ISIS. “They are sneaky because they know exactly how your family is going to react to the situation,” she says. “When you are not from a Muslim family, they know that your parents won’t accept the hijab, or halal food, they know that [your parents] are going to forbid you from going to the mosque”. They want their recruits to be indebted to them and feel as if their family is rejecting their lifestyle so they will make the decision to have no communication with them. Joanna luckily escaped ISIS before she entered their territory, another girl, Hanane, was not as lucky. She was imprisoned by ISIS after being accused of being a spy because she did not want to marry an ISIS fighter. Both Joanna and Hanane are now in a program that works to bring deradicalization to people taken in by ISIS.

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