(Caroline Zielinski) A YOUNG student from Seattle has been revealed as a senior female ISIS agent responsible for recruiting women to join the terror group.
On Twitter, she is known as @_UmmWaqqas, and is pictured shrouded head-to-toe in black; an inscrutable and high-ranking officer of ISIS who boasts more than 8000 followers online, and is in close contact with the British, Americans and the jihadi brides in Syria.
Channel 4 News has since revealed her identity as a woman in her 20s who went to school in the US, and by her friends’ accounts grew up as a regular teenager in a Western world.
The news site discovered the woman’s identity by closely reading Tweets pertaining to her “offline” world, and matching the pictures she posted on Twitter to popular locations in Seattle. Eventually, they were able to identify @_UmmWaqqas’s movements, based on a timeline of her events and her activities, as well as tracking her name on Facebook.
Although it is not possible to confirm that she was the sole operator of the account for the three years it existed, @_UmmWaqqas is thought to have played a significant role in persuading young women to join ISIS, often posting “inspirations” quotes, practical advice about leaving for ISIS-occupied regions and a willingness to convert people to Islam.
According to Channel 4 News, the Twitter account has had multiple user names attached to it — such as @Rawdah_Abdi and @Rodaa27 — and identical images uploaded to multiple social networks in a short space of time, which gave away @_UmmWaqqas real name on a Facebook profile, also under one of the usernames.
News Corp Australia has chosen not to use the woman’s name.
Her posts on Twitter include quotes such as: “5 things that cure the heart: 1. The company of good people 2. Koran 3. Re-evaluating yourself 4. Qiyyam 5. Crying at Dawn — Ibn Qayyim” and:
“The greatest thing that a man can do for a women is to bring her closer to Allah”.
Her account has been one of the most popular among ISIS supporters — particularly women — and has publicly supported the horrific murder of Jordanian pilot (who was locked in a cage and burnt alive) tweeting: “an eye for an eye if you ask me!”, and: “I now get why they caged the man & then poured concrete on him … Whenever the Muslims are bombed in their homes they have nowhere to run”.
Other tweets shared ISIS documents guiding people on how to emigrate, and is reportedly listed as a contact for recruits in a travel document explaining the best methods for reaching territories held by Isis in Syria.
However, some of @_UmmWaqqas’ tweets also reflected distinctly westernised values such as a fondness for the Super Bowl, eating pizza and going to the gym with her friends.
“I’m actually lost for words”, one school friend, who wished to stay anonymous, told Channel 4 News.
“The [girl] you are referring to is a childhood friend.” The tweets, the friend said, “sound a little to extreme to be honest … this is so weird.”
It appears that watching extremist lectures on her laptop helped radicalise @_UmmWaqqas, and even inspired her to change her journalism major.
Although friends have confirmed it is her account, they were unable to say where she was at the time of the report.
It appears that @_UmmWaqqas has shrouded herself in secrecy, operating under several different usernames and from different locations.
In the past, the ISIS operator has claimed to be Dutch and Finnish, and has declined to comment on questions asking if she was an American. The investigation found her Twitter account was accessed as recently as March, but friends told Channel 4 that she had moved away, perhaps to Saudi Arabia or Denver, Colorado.
When Channel 4 News contacted her, she wrote back that the media did not care about Syria because “they get paid by the Jewish isrealis [sic] to keep their mouth shut about certain topics”.