“She intended to use that [U.S. military] training to go overseas to wage Jihad.”
via 19-year-old Colorado woman, Shannon Maureen Conley, charged with aiding terrorist group, FBI says – TheDenverChannel.com.
DENVER – The FBI says a 19-year-old Colorado woman has been arrested while trying to board a flight at Denver International Airport with the goal of meeting with a terrorist group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS.
A federal criminal complaint states that between Sept. 7, 2013 and April 8, 2014, Shannon Maureen Conley, together with others, tried to provide material support and resources, including personnel and expert advice, to a foreign terrorist organization.
ISIS insurgents have been fighting to topple the governments of Iraq and Syria.
Authorities began investigating Conley on Nov. 5, 2013, when the pastor at Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada called local police and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to report a teen had been spotted suspiciously taking notes at the church’s main campus at 6120 Ward Road on several Sundays at October, according to a federal affidavit supporting the criminal complaint.
Church officials have a heightened awareness about security because Faith Bible Chapel was the scene of a shooting in December 2007 when a man named Matthew Murray opened fire at the church’s Youth with a Mission Training Center, killing two missionaries. A few hours later, Murray went on a shooting spree at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, killing two more people. He was shot by a church security guard and eventually took his own life.
So Faith Bible Chapel staff reacted quickly when they believed Conley was taking notes on various locations and the layout of the campus, the affidavit said.
Church staff approached Conley and asked to see her notes, but she refused.
Conley then became confrontational with FBC staff, citing her own Islamic religious views, church officials told federal investigators.
“Conley made spontaneous statements to church staff to the effect of: ‘Why is the church worried about a terrorist attack?’ and, that terrorists are: ‘… not allowed to kill aging adults and little children,’” the complaint said.
Church officials told Conley not to return to the church campus.
On Nov. 7, 2013, an Arvada police detective and an FBI agent interviewed Conley, asking her why she has been visiting Faith Bible Chapel.
Conley said, “I hate those people.” She added that she initially started attending Sunday services and taking classes at FBC because she wanted to meet people of other faiths and learn about them.
But Conley said she did not share her Islamic religious views or wear her hijab, a head covering worn in public by Muslim woman.
Conley told the investigators she does not like Israel or FBC’s active and vocal support for Israel.
Conley said she noticed she was being followed by church staff on the campus and felt they treated her like a terrorist. Conley told the investigators that she reasoned that, “If they think I’m a terrorist, I’ll give them something to think I am,” according to the affidavit.
She started keeping a notebook and acted like she was diagramming the church to alarm them. Conley soon got into an argument with the pastor and was asked to leave.
Conley said that Jihad to her is war against “kafir” (which the affidavit describes as a derogatory Arabic term for non-Muslims) to protect Muslim lands.
The investigators asked her opinion about harming innocent people while waging Jihad and Conley stated that it depended on the circumstances.
“To Conley, it is okay to harm innocents if they are part of a target. She felt that if wives, children, and chaplains visiting a military base are killed during an attack, it is acceptable because they should not have been at a legitimate target. She repeatedly referred to US military bases as ‘targets,’” an FBI agent wrote in the affidavit.
On Dec. 6, 2013, Conley was again interviewed by FBI Special Agent Karim Khomssi and another agent.
Conley told the FBI she joined the U.S Army Explorers to be trained in U.S. military tactics and in firearms. She said she intended to use that training to go overseas to wage Jihad, according to the affidavit.
Conley said she previously wanted to serve in the U.S. military but no longer wanted to because she felt the military would not accept her because of her religious beliefs and her wearing of a hijab and niqab.
Conley said she previously wanted to serve in the U.S. military but no longer wanted to because she felt the military would not accept her due to her religious beliefs and her wearing of a hijab and niqab.
“Conley stated she wanted to wage Jihad and would like to go overseas to fight,” the affidavit said. She added that if she’s not allowed to fight because she’s a woman, she would use her medical training, as a licensed nurse’s aide, to help Jihadi fighters.
“According to Conley, it is acceptable to attack westerners when engaged in ‘defensive Jihad.’ Conley stated that legitimate targets of attack include military facilities and personnel, government facilities and personnel, and public officials,” the affidavit stated.
When agents asked if her notion of legitimate targets includes law enforcement, Conley replied that it does, the affidavit said. Conley said, “Law enforcement is included because police enforce man-made laws that are not grounded in God’s law. Conley stated targets to be avoided include women, children, and the elderly,” the affidavit said.
Over the next five months, the FBI repeatedly interviewed Conley as she underwent U.S. Army Explorers training in Texas in early February.
During a March 27 interview, two FBI agents made an “overt attempt to dissuade Conley from violent criminal activity and give her the opportunity to turn away from her intention to participate in supporting terrorist activities.”
Special Agent Khomssi “admonished Conley twice in the conversation that travel with intent to wage Jihad may be illegal and result in her arrest. Conley told SA Khomssi said she would rather be in prison than do nothing” to help the Jihadi cause, the affidavit said.
Conley earlier showed the agents a book called “Al-Qaida’s Doctrine for Insurgency: Abd Al-Aziz Al-Muqrin’s A Practical Course for Guerilla War.”
“The book had several passages underlined by Conley, including motorcade attacks and waging guerilla warfare. Conley stated that attacking a motorcade in the US was not viable because security in the US is too good. Conley thought she could plan such an attack, but not carry it out,” the affidavit said. “Conley liked the idea of guerilla warfare because she could do it alone.”
“When asked if she still wanted to carry out the plans, knowing they are illegal, Conley said that she does,” the affidavit said. Continue reading
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