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Saturday, February 24, 2024

British jihadist recruiter turns into fashion blogger

A Muslim jihadist recruiter Tareena Shakil is on the pathway to stardom. According to the Mirror, Tareena, the first British woman prosecuted for travelling to Syria to join Islamic State (ISIS) is now showcasing herself as a big-brand fashion influencer and urging Twitter followers to sign up to its murderous agenda. Posting as “That girl Tam Tam”, Tareena Shakil has racked up hundreds of Instagram followers with photographs carrying hashtags including “fashion blogger”, “Street style” and “style inspo”.

She has also tagged big labels including Bershka and Versace in an apparent bid to get them on board. Flagging her social media account as a place for “style” and “motivation”, jihadist recruiter Tareena Shakil also shares photos of her jet-set lifestyle, with selfies in hotspots such as Milan, Barcelona and Morocco.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Tareena Shakil first came to the public’s attention after she left the UK for Syria in 2014 with her 14-month-old son in order to join ISIS. However, she quickly decided that she was unhappy with her new life as a female member of the jihadist militant group, and fled Syria for Turkey after just three months. She was arrested upon her return to the UK, and although at first, she claimed that she had been kidnapped and taken to Syria against her will, it was later discovered that she had indeed joined of her own volition.

It was also revealed that during her three months with ISIS, she lived with a group of women who were all awaiting an arranged marriage to ISIS fighters.

She was ultimately charged with four years of prison time for joining ISIS and an additional two years for encouraging others to commit acts of terror via social media posts. As part of her sentence, she was required to undergo a deradicalization program.

Seeking anonymity, a counterterrorism expert said: “Tareena Shakil was no innocent young thing when she set off for Syria to join ISIS. She was an adult — 26 years old. Shakil knew exactly what ISIS was all about. She admits that before crossing into Syria, she was aware of ISIS’s brutality and had seen the group’s propaganda videos showing the beheadings of American journalists and British aid workers”.

Commenting on Tareena Shakil, Hugh Fitzgerald wrote in Jihad Watch:

Her journey to join the cutthroats began with her hearing the come-hither siren song of sex: “Yeah, he [Fábio Poças, an ISIS fighter who “met” Shakil online] was attractive”.

So at the age of 26, and thus not an impressionable juvenile, she moved to Syria to join ISIS. Did the mass rapes of Yazidi women and girls make her change her mind? No. Did the mass killings of Yazidi men, and Shiite believers, and Christians, and insufficiently fanatical Sunnis finally get to her? Again, no. Was she put off in the slightest by the balaclava-clad bezonians of ISIS, waving their rifles triumphantly, and Allahu-akbaring, after their latest massacre? Not in the slightest. Tareena Shakil has never expressed remorse for joining ISIS or trying to persuade others to do so. She simply alludes, self-forgivingly, to her having made “the wrong choices”. She joined ISIS looking for a husband, and found one, albeit not the “attractive” Portuguese, Fábio Poças.

In Syria, she was put in a camp with a group of women, all of them hoping to marry ISIS fighters. Some of them were themselves religious fanatics, and others, like Tareena Shikil, may not have been fanatics, but were indifferent to the atrocities committed by ISIS fighters; having joined ISIS, they were looking for love in all the wrong places. While she was in Syria, Shakil met an ISIS matchmaker. The matchmaker arranged her marriage to an American convert to Islam and ISIS fighter, Russell Davison, who would later be killed in an American airstrike. Shakil, who lied constantly to British authorities when she was back in the UK, would later claim not to have married him, but changed her story once the evidence of that marriage was shown to her. The marriage was soon effectively over; Davison was off fighting, and besides, he wasn’t nearly as handsome as the Portuguese fighter who had first drawn her to Syria.

After three months, Tareena Shakil decided she had had enough. She left the camp in Syria chastened by her experience, and made it, with her toddler still in tow, to Turkey and then, eventually, back to the UK, which I hesitate to describe as her “home.” Let’s just say that it’s the place where she was raised, in a Muslim cocoon. What impelled her to leave ISIS still isn’t clear. Perhaps hearing about, or even being forced to watch, mass executions was difficult to stomach. Or perhaps it was something more prosaic — the difficulty of taking care of her fourteen-month old baby, given the primitive conditions of the ISIS camp she had been assigned to live in.

Perhaps the right-sized diapers and infant formula proved hard to find amidst all those rifles and knives and Yazidi sex slaves and decapitations. And besides, that Portuguese heartthrob was nowhere to be found. He was apparently an online recruiter for ISIS, using his good looks to lure Muslim girls and women living in the UK to join ISIS in Syria.As we know, the United Kingdom recently has cancelled citizenship of infamous ISIS bride Shamima Begum, it is a mystery as to why the same government is allowing Tareena Shakil to live in the country and even build a huge fanbase on social media under the guise of a fashion blogger.

In my opinion, individuals like Shamima Begum or Tareena Shakil are definitely indoctrinated with jihadist agenda of causing harm and destruction to non-Muslims and they always pose a serious security threat to people – especially when they are allowed to live a life without surveillance. Who would guarantee if Tareena Shakil would not ultimately use her social media presence towards covert jihadist recruitment?

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Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research-scholar, counterterrorism specialist and editor of Weekly Blitz. Follow him on Twitter @Salah_Shoaib

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