A 19-year-old Irish American nurse was arrested at Denver airport on terrorism charges for allegedly plotting to travel to Syria to join Islamist extremists, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and marry a militant she met online.
Shannon Maureen Conley, from Arvada, Colorado, was arrested in April as she tried to board a plane to Turkey. Her luggage contained literature about Al-Qaeda and CD’s labelled “Anwar Al-Awlaki”, an Islamic militant and recruiter for the terrorist group.
The young nurse’s aide described herself to investigators as a Muslim convert who was interested in guerilla warfare. Conley was allegedly planning to travel to Syria to marry a 32-year-old Tunisian man, known only by his initials “Y.M.”. It is believed that the suspected ISIS fighter had asked for Conley’s father’s blessing on the marriage over Skype. Although her father had not agreed she planned to travel to Syria to be marry.
The criminal complaint filed against her with the US District Court for the District of Colorado states that Conley conspired to commit an offense against the US. CBS Denver reported that Conley admitted she wanted to use her American military training, from the U.S. Army Explorers, to wage jihad on the United States.
She told the Joint Terrorism Task Force she liked “guerrilla warfare because she could do it alone.”
According to court paper released on Wednesday (July 6 2014) she said “If they think I'm a terrorist, I'll give them something to think I am.”
The documents state that “Y.M.”, the ISIS fighter she had met online, had planned to marry her and help her rise through the ranks of the Islamist extremists in Syria.
The FBI had become aware of Conley's communications in with the ISIS fighter and had reached out to the teen and her parents, John and Ana, to urge her not to travel to Syria. Conley could not be dissuaded. The Federal Bureau investigator added that Conley suffers with mental illness.
John Conley, the accused’s father, told agents that his daughter saw jihad as a struggle to help the poor and downtrodden. He added that she had been plagued with doubts about what was expected of her as a Muslim woman.
When John found out that his daughter had booked a one-way ticket to Turkey for April 8 he contacted the FBI.
Her mother Ana, said “It’s a difficult time for us.”
Shannon Maureen is the youngest of four sisters. Neighbors told the press that over the past six months she had undergone a drastic transformation.
Brenda Herrera told Fox news “I would see her in shorts and then all the sudden she started wearing those [Islamic] clothes maybe six months after they moved here.”