How does a 25-year old elementary school teacher become a fighter for the Islamic State? How does one get out of such a mistake?
How does a 25-year old college-educated elementary school teacher become a fighter for the Islamic State — part of the feared, all-female Khansa Brigade, no less?
“Khadija” (not her real name), a Syrian woman from a “not overly conservative” family, recently told her story to CNN. Only Khadija’s story ends differently than most of those who become radicalized: She eventually woke up to the reality of the brutal organization.
At first she says she was happy patrolling the streets of Raqqa, carrying her weapon and terrorizing women who were not dressed properly according to the Islamic State requirements. Then, she says, “I started to get scared, scared of my situation. I even started to be afraid of myself.”
Doubts began to set in. Images of brutality – like the one of a 16-year old boy crucified after being accused of rape and the one of the beheading she witnessed – began to torment her. “I am not like this. I have a degree in education. I shouldn’t be like this. What happened to me? What happened in my mind that brought me here?” she began thinking.