Shannon “Halima” Conley during US Army Explorer training (Facebook)
via KYTX CBS 19.
Shannon Maureen Conley’s plan to join ISIS and serve as a nurse at a jihadist camp ended Wednesday with a guilty plea to a terror charge in a Colorado federal court.
Conley, 19, was arrested at Denver International Airport in April as she was about to embark on a journey to Germany and eventually to an ISIS camp near the Turkish border. She told investigators that she was going to Turkey to await word from her suitor, identified in court documents as Yousr Mouelhi, an ISIS member she met on the Internet, whom she planned to marry.
Conley, a convert to Islam who wore a blue and white striped jail uniform and a traditional Muslim headscarf, appeared before a federal judge Wednesday and pleaded guilty to charge of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
A certified nurse aide, Conley faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore set sentencing for January 23 and ordered that she have a psychiatric evaluation.
As part of the plea agreement, Conley must provide law enforcement agencies with information about others looking to help terrorist organizations abroad.
In a statement after the plea, Conley’s federal defender Robert Pepin referred to his client as Halima Shannon Conley.
“She’s also a 19-year-old woman of faith who was pursuing her faith and, unfortunately, as she pursued it she was led terribly astray,” the statement said. “That, in turn, led her to make some poor choices and she is now paying the price of those choices.”
She insisted on keeping her Muslim name, wearing a head covering and remaining a Muslim. The only remorse she has is getting caught.
Since her arrest, Pepin said, “the news out of the part of the world to which she was headed has been just awful.”
“Like all of us, Halima has been horrified to learn of the slaughter and oppression at the hands of the people controlling ISIS,” Pepin said in the statement.
Slick statement. The “people controlling ISIS”? So it’s not ISIS’ fault it’s whoever controls ISIS?
“It was never her vision to have any role in any of that. She would like everyone to know that her heart … and her prayers go out to … the families of those who have been killed, and to anyone who has been oppressed by those forces. Finally, Halima is fully aware that the fact that she was arrested may have very well saved her.”
What about the kafirs she cursed? No apology to them?
In Colorado, Conley allegedly told FBI agents that she was going to be with a member of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, that she had met online.
She told federal agents she had read a book called “Al-Qaida’s Doctrine for Insurgency” and intended to wage jihad against the United States, according to the criminal complaint.
When she was arrested, Conley had in her possession certification papers for first aid and nursing, the U.S. Army Explorers and the National Rifle Association, according to court documents.
“It’s a difficult time for us,” her mother, Ana Conley, told CNN last month, when court documents in the case were unsealed.
According to court papers, Conley’s parents were aware she had converted to Islam, but did not know about her interest in violent jihad. Her father, John, reportedly caught Shannon talking to her suitor, described as a 32-year-old Tunisian man, on Skype.
The couple asked for the father’s blessing and he refused, the court papers said. On April 1, John called FBI to report he had found plane ticket for later that month to Turkey.
Her daughter was arrested on a jetway while trying to board a flight to Germany on April 8, according to a criminal complaint.
Conley first came to the attention of authorities after the pastor and the security director at a church in Arvada, Colorado, called police and said she was acting suspiciously. Authorities interviewed her seven times over the course of five months before arresting her at the airport.
“I think she realizes she made a terrible mistake,” her mother told CNN. “She was clueless. She’s just a teenager, young, with a big mouth.”
Her mistake was converting to Islam, and she has not fixed that mistake so clearly she hasn’t realized a thing. More:
During interviews with FBI agents in November, Conley, who had received military training in a Texas camp run by the US Army Explorer, said she hated members of the Faith Bible Chapel and disliked their support for Israel and Israel itself.
In her war against “kafir” (a derogatory term for non-Muslims), she felt it was acceptable to harm innocents if they are part of a target. Despite repeated FBI warnings, the woman refused to back down and was arrested on 8 April as she attempted to board a Turkey-bound plane to join and marry a 32-year-old Tunisian man who was waging jihad in Syria. She met the man on Skype.
In her house, agents found several DVDs of a senior al-Qaida leader named Anwar al-Awlaki, who acted also as recruiter for the Islamist group. He was killed in Yemen by a Cia-led US drone.
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