Ex-jihadist bride says racism in the UK pushed her to join ISIS
A British woman who was married to the highest-ranking American in the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) revealed how racism in the UK radicalized her. Tania Georgelas said her years as a teenager in Harrow, northwest London, spurred her to become a jihadist.
Georgelas, 33, who is of Bangladeshi descent, told The Atlantic in an interview published Friday: “We had bad neighbours, they used to smash our windows. But generally, I just felt like an outsider.”
She added: “I was looking for a way to retaliate, and I wanted honor again.”
She claimed the turning point came after the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001.
“I was 17, I saw the towers being crashed into and I went to school the next day,” the former jihadist bride said.
“I said to my friend: ‘Oh, isn’t it dreadful what happened?’ and she looked at me and said: ‘Is it really?’”
“At that point I became really jihadi hardcore.”
It was during a protest against the Iraq War that she met a group of women giving out leaflets promoting Muslim dating websites.
There she met John Georgelas, a Christian convert from Texas who was the son of US military doctor Colonel Timothy Georgelas and his wife, Martha. Georgelas married her in England in 2004 just a month after their meeting, and she flew back to the US with him.
When she was pregnant with her fourth child, her husband pleaded with her to join IS in Syria.
“John wanted to go to Syria, and I said I wasn’t ready, not while the kids are small,” she said.
“I wanted the rebels to win, but I didn’t need to be inside Syria.”
The 33-year-old said she had given birth to her children for the sole reason that they could “serve god as Muslims, as mujahideen.”
Adding she wanted her children to become soldiers of the caliphate, she said: “We trained them as assassins and dressed them up as jihadis.”
After just a couple of months in Syria, however, Georgelas found the conditions unbearable and after pushing her children in a buggy through a minefield, she returned to the US. She divorced her husband, who she had left behind in Syria.
Georgelas’ children are now being looked after by their grandparents, although she is still entitled to see them.
She said she attends the Unionist Church with her new boyfriend, Craig, an IT worker, and that her objective is to take part in de-radicalization programs for former terrorists.