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'IS Widow' Advises Wannabe Jihadi Brides: The Food Is 'Yummy,' 'Womanly Supplies' Plentiful


Umm Abdullatif, who has been identified in the Australian media as Zehra Dumann from Melbourne

Umm Abdullatif, who has been identified in the Australian media as Zehra Dumann from Melbourne

An Australian woman who has joined the Islamic State (IS) group is using social media to advise other women who want to follow in her footsteps and join the militants in Syria or Iraq.

Umm Abdullatif, who has been identified in the Australian media as Zehra Dumann from Melbourne, told potential female IS recruits via her Ask.fm page that the "lifestyle" for women in IS controlled lands is "amazing."

"its [sic] something you need to see for yourself," Umm Abdullatif said.

The food in Syria is "yummy," the Australian militant said in another response, although "the tap water makes you sick."

The women who asked Umm Abdullatif questions about what to expect in IS-controlled Syria and Iraq wanted to know whether Internet connections are good ("it depends on where you are and what internet you use," was the answer) and whether "all the womanly supplies" are available ("yes, alhamdullilah [praise God]," Umm Abdullatif replied).

Other wannabe female IS recruits were more interested in marriage opportunities.

"Can you look for a husband for me. Help me please," one Ask.fm questioner asked.

"I am more than happy to inshaAllah [God willing]," Umm Abdullatif responded, asking the woman to contact her privately via the Surespot messenger service.

Umm Abdullatif also explains that women cannot fight.

Nor does IS currently allow women to carry out suicide operations, although she wishes they could.

"The day will maybe come soon that we could," Umm Abdullatif adds.

Umm Abdullatif says that Australian women should ideally undertake "hijra" (migration to IS-controlled lands) with a mahram, an Islamic term meaning a male relative with whom marriage would be considered incestuous, such as her father, brother, or uncle. The new IS female recruit would then be able to live with her male relative in IS-controlled lands.

If the woman comes alone, IS will give her a place to stay with a group of other women.

"But it gets hard there," Umm Abdullatif warns.

Umm Abdullatif says that she came to Syria alone, and like other lone wannabe IS brides was appointed a "wali" -- a person with authority or guardianship over her.

However, her parents were upset when they found out that their daughter had gone to join the militants in Syria, she relates.

"They were shocked, as I never have been public with my Jihadi views. But also heartbroken, as my mum was very close to me... and she knows she will never see me again. Till Jannah (paradise), inshaAllah," Umm Abdullatif wrote.

In Syria, Umm Abdullatif says she has made friends, all of whom are English speakers.

"Thats [sic] all I know over here... Sham [Syria] is filled with english speakers!" she wrote.

A major theme of Umm Abdullatif's comments on social media is the concept of becoming a shahid (martyr), a term used by IS and other Islamist militants to refer to a person who is killed in battle.

Umm Abdullatif has lauded those militants who have become "martyrs" including her own husband, Mahmoud Abdullatif to whom she was married for just five weeks before he was reported killing in battle.

"I was married to him for 5 weeks. We got married in December and he got Shahada (martyrdom) in January.

"Alhamdulliah (praise God)," Umm Abdullatif wrote.

Umm Abdullatif says that "of course" she misses her husband.

"Every day, there's not a minute i [sic] don't think of him. He was the perfect husband, alhamdulliah (praise God). Had such a beautiful heart, and character," Umm Abdullatif wrote.

According to Australian media reports, Umm Abdullatif's husband, Mahmoud Abdullatif, was a 23-year-old Melbourne man who left home in late 2014 to join IS. Umm Abdullatif, or Zehra Dumann, had followed him and his close friend Suhan Rahman to Syria and the couple married there. Umm Abdullatif's marriage dowry reportedly included a gun, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Prior to his radicalization and departure for Syria, Mahmoud Abdullatif had reportedly boasted on social media about his love for attractive women, parties, nightclubs, and fast food.

Adbullatif was reported killed on January 20.

His close friend from Melbourne, Rahman, who went under the name Abu Jihad al-Australi, was reported killed in March.

On March 24, Umm Abdullatif posted two photographs of Abdullatif on Twitter, calling him "My love." ​

Australia is concerned about the high number of its citizens who have radicalized and joined the IS group in Syria and Iraq.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organization (Asio) warned in December that Australia is a significant source country for foreign fighters. Asio has identified around 70 Australians fighting in Syria and Iraq, from a total of about 3,000 Western militants.

Another Australian man, teenager Jake Bilardi, who ran away from home to join IS in Iraq, is thought to have been killed this month in a suicide car bombing in Ramadi, Iraq.

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

About This Blog

"Under The Black Flag" provides news, opinion, and analysis about the impact of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. It focuses not only on the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, but also on the implications for the region and the world. The blog's primary author, James Miller, closely covered the first three years of the Arab Spring, with a focus on Syria, and is now the managing editor of The Interpreter, where he covers Russia's foreign and domestic policy and the Kremlin's wars in Syria and Ukraine. Follow him on Twitter: @Millermena

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