NEW DELHI: Around 680 jihadi brides and 5,400 female propagandists of terror outfit ISIS armed with smartphones are tasked to exploit social media platforms to radicalise, recruit and facilitate their targets’ entry into ISIS controlled territory in Syria and Iraq. In the intelligence community, they are known as ‘ISIS cheer girls’, spreading the message of hate, violence and terror by targeting vulnerable youths.
Areeb Majeed, the ISIS deserter from Mumbai, told interrogators that he was radicalised and recruited by two girls. Salman Moinuddin, the Hyderabad resident who was apprehended at Hyderabad Airport, was radicalised by Afsha Jabeen using her Internet avtaar Nicky Joseph. Umm_1337 is the terror outfit’s top propagandist and recruiter. Her real name is Sally Jones, a British-born blonde who claims to have radicalised and recruited several youths. Hyperactive on Twitter while changing her handle frequently, Jones is wanted in several countries.
The Sunday Standard had unmasked Ayisha Begum earlier this week, suspected to be an Indian or Bangladeshi living in Britain. Intelligence agencies have launched an operation against her. On Saturday, her profile was scanned. By the evening it was removed by the agencies, but she reappeared in a new avtaar within a few hours. She is suspected to have motivated some Christian girls to convert to Islam. Her monitoring—that started on November 2—provided valuable intelligence inputs on suspected Indian ‘cheer girls’ abroad.
Umm Ghurabaa is a Nigerian post-graduate student and ISIS recruiter. Her hunting ground is Europe and South Africa. Nusaybah, a propagandist and radical preacher, operates from the Netherlands. ‘cheer girls’ are aged 20-30 years.
The role of propagandist and recruiter is clearly defined. Once they realise that target is ready, he or she is introduced to the recruiter. Sometimes three-four ‘cheer girls’ are involved in the operation The first process is to lure girls and boys and radicalise them.
Although a number of ‘cheer girls’ are believed to be operating from Turkey and Saudi Arabia, investigators believe they are also in Europe. Scottish Muslim converts and ‘cheer girls’ Anisah and Khadijah were tracked down for radicalising youths and spreading ISIS propaganda material in cyberspace. Sources say 350-400 girls from western countries may have travelled to Syria to become jihadi brides and use social media platforms as a weapon.
“Most of them become widows within a month of marriage. The ISIS marriage bureau in Raqqa arranges for remarriage as soon as mourning is over. They are provided with Internet and smartphones to continue radicalisation,” sources said.