Irish former deputy director of military intelligence Lieutenant Colonel Michael Murphy said Ireland has “no choice” about allowing the return of Irish ISIS widow Lisa Smith.
But Murphy raised vital questions that should be answered by 37-year-old Smith, from Dundalk, Co. Louth, a former member of the Irish Defence Forces before she became an ISIS bride.
Smith, now in a refugee holding center in Syria with her two-year-old daughter, told the Irish Mail on Sunday that she had not taken part in military activities and she had rejected offers from her British-born Islamic State husband to buy her a gun.
She said her husband, Sajid Aslam, died in the past three months.
Smith, once a corporal who was a flight attendant on the Irish government jet, told the newspaper in an appeal to return to Ireland that she was easily led and would never travel to such a place again.
“I just ran, ran with the crowd like I always do…I didn’t listen to anyone, I didn’t take any advice, I just ran. And I wish I didn’t. I wish I had just took my time,” she said.
Smith added that she didn’t believe she should face trial as she was not guilty of any crime and she had nothing to hide if put under investigation in Ireland.
Murphy told RTÉ that Smith never said what happened to her Irish passport.
He added, “As far as I believe when you went to an ISIS territory, you handed over your passport. You took out citizenship of the caliphate. Did she hand over citizenship to the caliphate? There are a lot of questions here.”
He wondered about “the crowd” she claimed to have followed.
Smith, who was interviewed in the Al-Hawl refugee camp on the Iraqi-Syrian border, said struggles with depression converted her to Islam.
Her journey to the caliphate began after she met her first husband, a Tunisian, in Istanbul.
He refused to travel to the caliphate with her and they were divorced before she married again, to Sajid Aslam, the father of her daughter. They lived for a time in Raqqa, which became the final Isis enclave.
The Mail on Sunday described Smith as being circumspect when asked directly if Aslam had been involved in fighting. She would only admit that he had taken a sniper’s course and that he had spent a number of periods of time away from her.
Sajid Aslam was married before, to math teacher Lorna Moore from Omagh, Co. Tyrone. She served two and a half years in Britain for failing to advise the authorities of her husband’s plan to leave for Syria. The judge said Moore knew perfectly well of her husband’s “dedication to terrorism.”
The government has said Ireland has a responsibility to Smith and her daughter and will attempt to bring them home.
But Murphy said he does not think the government should waste taxpayers’ money bringing Smith home from Syria. He said she got there by her own volition and should make her own way back.
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