Terrorists are among us, and sometimes they come in unlikely packages. America is becoming its own breeding ground for homegrown terror, and not even all-American girls are safe from being brainwashed. One such girl next door had horrific plans, but luckily they’ve just been thwarted.
America’s youth are transforming into dedicated ISIS followers, and it’s happening probably more than we think. How does the perfect girl next door, brought up by accomplished parents, get sucked into a world of death and terror? A homecoming princess turned into a Jihadi Jane, and the scary happenings turned one bright all-American girl toward terrorism.
One look at Jaelyn Young, 20, and you think you’re looking at the perfect American girl. She was a cheerleader, a homecoming princess, and an honor student, who was only praised by her teachers. She had it all growing up as the daughter of a retired police officer and school administrator. She left high school for Mississippi State University, where she studied chemistry. Now, she is facing over 20 years in prison.
Young’s transformation from model high school student to wannabe terrorist began in March 2015, when she announced her conversion to Islam. Little did her loved ones know that, behind the outward trappings of her new-found piety, Young’s thinking was being influenced by terrorist propaganda videos, aimed at poisoning the minds of impressionable youths.
Prosecutors say that Young began to view the fighters as liberators, even going so far as to condone a video showing ISIS troops throwing a gay man off the roof of a building to his death. [via Daily Mail]
Jaelyn met and fell in love with fellow Muslim, Muhammad Dakhlalla, 22, and the two became engaged. She started writing to what she thought were Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists, but she was writing to undercover FBI agents. She wrote of her desire to move to Syria and join the jihad.
Jaelyn got in deeper, talking to FBI agents. She outlined her plan to marry Dakhlalla and obtain tickets to Istanbul. She said she would need help getting into Syria.
“Young specified her skills with math and chemistry and said she and Dakhlalla would like to be medics treating the injured. Later, the charge says, she told the second FBI agent that Dakhlalla could help with the Islamic State’s Internet media, saying he ‘really wants to correct the falsehoods heard here’ and the ‘U.S. media is all lies when regarding’ the group, which she called by its preferred internal name, Dawlah.” [via Daily Mail]
Finally, Young talked her fiancé into becoming a fighter for ISIS. She wanted to ‘raise little Dawlah cubs’ and help ISIS defeat America. The FBI arrested Jaelyn and Dakhlalla right before they obtained the needed cash to pay for their trip. Yesterday, Young pleaded guilty to terrorist charges, and she is facing over 20 years in prison with a lifetime on probation. Dakhlalla pleaded guilty and is awaiting his sentencing.
What causes a presumably nice young American teen to turn toward the horrendous realities of Islamic State terrorism? Romanticizing a cause, being part of a movement? Still, we may never know how anyone turns their back on their own country. This is one story everyone needs to know about. Stay vigilante with those kids in your life, and make sure they know there is nothing cool about becoming a terrorist.
[h/t Allen B. West]