Jihadi mum: British woman handed 6yr jail sentence for joining ISIS

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A British woman who took her 18-month old son to Syria has been sentenced to six years in prison for joining Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

Tareena Shakil, 26, traveled to the IS stronghold of Raqqa in October 2014 after telling her family she was going on vacation to Turkey. 

While in Syria, Shakil posted pictures of her toddler next to an AK-47, as well as wearing a balaclava emblazoned with IS imagery. When she first returned to the UK, Shakil told investigators she had been kidnapped by IS militants while on vacation.

The Burton-on-Trent native was detained in Heathrow after returning to the UK in February 2015. She told police she realized she had made a terrible mistake by traveling to Syria and escaped by running across the Turkish border.

Shakil’s sentence includes four years for joining IS and two for encouraging acts of terror through social media.

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Speaking outside Birmingham Crown Court on Monday as Shakil was sentenced, her father, Mohammed Shakil, called her conviction the result of Islamophobia.

“This is Islamophobia, you know, the West, they’re killing us. It is a farce. A big farce, yes it is.

“This is a stitch up by MI5 and MI6 because she did not help them, she could not help them. This is a fix up between the prosecution, the defense lawyers, this is all that.

“She’ll devote herself even more to God, that’s what she’ll do.”

Sentencing Shakil, Judge Melbourne Imname said: “You told lie after lie to the police and in court between February and November 2015, including that you were kidnapped, were not responsible for any tweets and any incriminating photographs were staged against your will.”

Shakil is believed to be the first British woman to stand trial accused of joining IS, though approximately 60 other British women have gone to Syria to join IS. Shakil spent over two months living in a mansion with other single women, waiting to be matched up with a jihadist husband. 

The judge said: “You were well aware that the future to which you had subjected your son was very likely to be indoctrination and thereafter life as a terrorist fighter.”