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MP who lost son to Daesh dissuades Jordanian woman from joining its ranks

By Laila Azzeh - Nov 10,2015 - Last updated at Nov 10,2015

AMMAN — Having lost a son to the false promises of the Daesh terror group earlier this year, MP Mazen Dalaeen did everything he could to rescue a 25-year-old woman before she fell prey to the terrorists.

It all started when the family of the psychology graduate received an SMS from her last Monday notifying them that she had joined Daesh in Raqqa, northwestern Syria and northern and western Iraq.

“Her father called me immediately to tell me what happened, and I contacted the security apparatuses. But having gone through a similar experience, I took it upon myself to convince the woman to come back home,” Dalaeen told The Jordan Times on Monday.

The woman had already left the Kingdom for Istanbul when she sent the SMS.

“I tried to call her on her mobile, but it was closed. I then saw her online on WhatsApp and decided to write to her,” said the MP.

Trying to convince her to change her mind, the deputy cited verses from the Koran that show how she would go against Islam if she joined groups that kill Muslims and ignored her family’s wishes.

However, she replied by saying that she had already reached Raqqa, noting that everything was fine and that what the world knows about Daesh is far from the truth.

“I was sure from the answers and the way they were phrased that she was not the one who was writing to me. I also knew this because the same answers were given to me when my son joined Daesh and I tried to change his mind,” Dalaeen said.

The deputy was blocked by the woman’s account on WhatsApp the next day, but a call with her sister convinced her to listen to what the lawmaker had to say.

“I used a different tone this time. I told her that her father and uncle were on their way to the border to get her back and that they were risking their own lives.

“I also told her that people would start talking about how she became a terrorist and joined Daesh for Jihad Al Nikah [performing sexual favours for jihadists],” added Dalaeen.

The deputy said he used all the “fatherly” words he could think of to convince the woman to come back, including assuring her that there would be no criminal charges against her and that he would protect her from her family when she came back.

“The girl seemed quite convinced and begged me to stop her father from crossing the Syrian border. She said she was still in Turkey and that she was brought to a house escorted by two veiled women. 

“Nearly 50 women from different countries were waiting in the place before being transported to Raqqa,” said the MP.

He asked her to take a picture of the scene from the window of the house in order to locate the place.

She also managed to ask a Turkish woman inside the house about the name of the area they were in.

The deputy recognised the region where the house was located as he had visited Turkey several times, and then called Jordan’s ambassador in the country, Amjad Adayleh, to tell him about the situation.

“I then told the woman to leave the house immediately and take a taxi to the nearest police station, which she did,” Dalaeen recounted.

The police were unable to understand what the woman said and could not take her in, especially as she had no ID or any official documents.

Upon Dalaeen’s directives, she headed to Taksim, which is in downtown Istanbul, where she met an Arabic speaking man.

“I talked to the man, who appeared to be Syrian, and told him to take her to a nearby hotel and then called the embassy to reserve a room for her there. It took the ambassador and other embassy staff around six hours to reach Istanbul,” said the lawmaker.

In the meantime, Daesh members noticed the absence of the woman and discovered her location.

“They started sending her text messages threatening to find her and demanding that she come back,” Dalaeen said, adding that he contacted the embassy to change her location and asked the Syrian man to keep an eye on her.

Upon the arrival of the ambassador, the woman was taken to Turkish security and anti-terrorism authorities for interrogation.

“The Turkish authorities were very cooperative. The ambassador convinced them to issue immediate travel documents for her to leave the country as soon as possible,” the lawmaker said.

The woman reached Jordan on Friday evening, where Dalaeen, her father and security personnel were waiting for her.

“I convinced her father to be calm and not do anything that would worsen her mental health. He agreed and once he saw his daughter he took off a keffiyeh he was wearing and put it on her shoulders. That was very emotional,” said the MP.

The woman was then taken to the Public Security Department’s (PSD) Family Protection Directorate for medical and mental checkups.

According to Dalaeen, the woman was lured via social media networks to join Daesh.

The parents, who according to the MP, are moderate and supportive, said the woman started to follow “extreme” religious practices before deciding to join the group.

“But the good relations she has with her family and her willingness to pursue her master’s degree eliminated any suspicion over her actions,” noted the Lower House member.

After she was convinced to join Daesh, the woman received pocket money and a ticket to Istanbul from a veiled woman at a shop in the southern Governorate of Karak.

“This is very dangerous. It shows that there are sleeper cells among us,” said Dalaeen, who added that the woman’s return will be beneficial for the authorities to know more about the ways young Jordanians are enticed to be part of the terrorist group.

The MP’s 23-year-old son died last month when he blew himself up in a suicide attack in Iraq’s Anbar province.

He was studying medicine in Ukraine before joining Daesh.

 

The Jordan Times could not reach sources from the PSD for comment on the issue despite several attempts to contact them.

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