Women Conned ISIS Fighters Seeking Jihadi Brides On Social Media

Kenneth Lim

Three women conned ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) of funds amounting to a few thousand dollars during online attempts by ISIS fighters to acquire foreign brides, authorities in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya have announced. With the investigation in progress, the three scam artists face fraud charges, which could mean up to six years in prison.

The need to populate the ISIS-backed caliphate is the widely perceived reason the terrorist group has cast a wide net to bring in female partners for its fighters to have them produce babies. In the predominantly Muslim Chechnya, bride candidates have taken advantage of the ISIS mandate and fleeced their online suitors of easy cash.

According to the Telegraph, one of the women revealed to Russia's New Life tabloid that an ISIS fighter in Syria offered to cover her traveling expenses when she said she was strapped for cash. She accepted his offer, and he remitted the funds through Qiwi-Wallet, Russia's electronic cash transfer system. After collecting the money, she blocked him from all her social media accounts, ending their online relationship.

Chechen police have so far arrested three young women in connection with the scams involving ISIS suitors sending travel funds to phony brides-to-be. Chechen authorities estimate the total take of the three women awaiting prosecution, to be the equivalent of $3,300.

Fox News noted that Investigating Officer Valery Zolotaryov considered the scams unprecedented in Chechnya, according to an interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets.

"I don't advise anyone to communicate with dangerous criminals, especially for grabbing quick money. It could be argued that this shows that the Islamic State is confident in its ability to secretly transfer funds, but the more simple and realistic explanation is that Islamic State men are still men and our judgement can be undermined by attraction."

In Denver, Colorado, 19-year-old Shannon Maureen Conley was sentenced to four years in prison last January for planning to become an ISIS bride and take part in jihadist activities in the Middle East. According to CNN, Conley is among the first Americans found guilty of conspiring to join ISIS and whose jail sentence serves as a deterrent to others so inclined.

Shayma Senouci, 18, is one of two women and four men who joined ISIS from Quebec, Canada, in January. According to Macleans, she's been on Facebook to denounce Israel's actions in Gaza as genocidal. Single women like her are reportedly married off quickly to start making babies for the caliphate.

Last February, British schoolgirls Amira Abase, 15, Shamima Begum, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, attending the Bethnal Green Academy in London, left for Syria to join ISIS. Later in May, a report from Iraqi sources claimed that ISIS was searching for three British jihadi brides said to be around 16 years of age, who had fled Raqqa, Syria, and crossed the border into Mosul, Iraq, to escape their militant husbands.

In July, ISIS launched a marriage office in al-Bab, Syria, according to Breitbart. It handles the registration of single women and widows who want to marry ISIS fighters. The matchmaker role of this agency could be a timely answer to scam artists like the Chechen women who conned gullible ISIS fighters out of their money in return for false marriage promises.

[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]