ISTANBUL—On the CCTV footage released by Turkish police, the widow of one for the Islamic fanatics in charge of last week’s terror rampage in Paris comes across as prim, even drab, as she goes through passport control during the airport here.
Hayat Boumeddiene’s tightly drawn headscarf that is white hooded coat is a cultural world away from the scanty bikini she was wearing in a photograph that showed her on a beach fondly clutching future assassin Amedy Coulibaly. The vacation snap was taken before 2009, when she began to cover herself up with scarves and veils.
The transfer is startling from sun-worshipper and eager holidaymaker into the buttoned-up moll of an Islamic assassin.
The 26-year-old looks giddily in love cuddling Coulibaly—a display of public affection hardly in keeping with the puritanical strictures of Salafi jihadis.
Her partner that is now-dead also to pursue a lifestyle that clashed with the teachings of Islamic militants. Neither were paragons of religious rectitude. French police arrested Coulibaly on a string of theft and drug offenses before he embarked in the path of jihad and ended up gunning down four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris week that is last. In the caliphate of this self-styled Islamic State, where, relating to Turkish authorities, Boumeddiene has found sanctuary and to whom Coulibaly apparently aligned himself, theft and drug use incur far worse punishments than those meted out by the unenlightened West—including flogging, amputation, and execution.
Then again Boumeddiene and Coulibaly aren’t unique in having exited rowdy alternative lifestyles totally at variance with Islamic puritanism, embracing instead the simplicity of jihad. Although Coulibaly, it seems, observed the conservative demands just a little less than his consort. During a 2010 interview with police investigators, Boumeddienne admitted Coulibaly “wasn’t really religious” and liked to “have fun.”
Some Westerners do indeed seem to have been devout before traveling to Syria or aligning themselves with jihadis—although how knowledgeable the ones that are really young the obviously disturbed are about their religion remains questionable. A number of the devotion that is frantic the ring of hollow religiosity, ritual without content, more cult-like than other things.
Even so, Melanie Smith, a researcher using the International Centre for the research of Radicalization, has argued that many of the estimated 200 or more Western girls and ladies who have gone to Syria to join the militants “tend to be extremely pious and have now been IS fan-girls for the duration of the Syrian conflict.”
Aqsa Mahmood, a 20-year-old who was simply raised in a Glasgow that is well-heeled suburb attended a special Scottish girls’ school, fits into that profile. She led an orderly life as a teenager—wasn’t involved with boys, drugs or petty crimes. She seemed normal generally in most ways until she was lured and groomed online. And, according to her parents, she became more “concerned and upset” by reports regarding the Syrian conflict. “Aqsa, like many young adults in our community, was naturally angry and frustrated in the loss of innocent life in the Middle East,” the parents said at a press conference last summer after their daughter ran off to Syria in order to become a jihadi bride.
Other recruits towards the jihadist cause, though, may actually have experienced a more that is“secular path, swapping what they see while the rootlessness and chaos of the lives when it comes to false clarity and fake simplicity provided by al Qaeda or perhaps the Islamic State (also well regarded as ISIS).
That are more the explanation for the recruitment of Britain’s Sally Jones—an much more Salafi that is unlikely candidate the bikini-wearing Boumeddiene. Jones was 45 yrs old when recruited and wasn’t even born into a Muslim or a minority immigrant family.
Now calling herself Sakinah Hussain or Umm Hussain al-Britani, Jones, a mom-of-two through the rural county of Kent in southeast England, sneaked into Syria in late 2013 after an romance that is online Junaid Hussain, a young hacker-turned-militant from the English city of Birmingham. This woman is thought to be living in the city of Raqqa, the de facto capital in northern Syria associated with the Islamic State. In online exchanges with potential Western recruits, she claims to be enjoying the Sharia law that is strict of caliphate, from whence she tweets blood-chilling threats.
Her most vicious micro-missive was in the wake for the mass decapitations of 50 Syrian soldiers, for which she declared: “You Christians all need beheading with an excellent blunt knife and stuck on the railings at Raqqa. Come here I’ll get it done for you personally!” She posts photos of herself posing with an AK-47 assault rifle and dressed up in black niqab, which covers all the face and the body except the eyes. She and Hussain—he’s 25 years her junior—are now married.
But back in the 1990s she was an associate of a smalltime girl punk rock band called Krunch and ended up being wielding a guitar in place of an rifle that is automatic.
She was in and out of relationships and dead-end jobs. One video clip shows her wearing a low-cut top and tight leather mini-skirt. Neighbors in the town of Chatham have described her to British tabloids as a “nightmare”—an aggressive, anarchic woman who dabbled in witchcraft and drugs and threatened to put spells to them.
A purposeless, ungrounded life stands apart with Boumeddiene, too. Born in the Paris suburb of Villiers-sur-Marne, she was raised in a rundown an element of the town. Her mother was devout and died when Hayat was 6. Her father was struggling to cope after his wife’s death and Hayat and some of her six siblings had to be taken into foster care. Her father visited her rarely and then seemingly have broken along with her after remarrying, although recently they truly are said to have reconciled. In care, she had to frequently be moved between foster homes because she proved troublesome and violent. She met Coulibaly in Juvisy-sur-Orge, southeast of Paris, while working as a cashier, a working job she later lost as a result of her insistence on wearing the niqab.
One neighbor told French media that Coulibaly was the driving force in their partnership: “She left here with that man. He did everything after which it all came down on her. He was the mastermind.”
Maybe so, perhaps not. The masterminds that are real to be their jihadi mentors, who knew just how to channel the purposelessness and direct the anger. Of her religion, she told detectives this year, “It’s something that calms me down. I’ve had a difficult life and this religion has answered all my questions.”