A mother of two from Philadelphia is heading to jail for eight years after attempting to join the Islamic State.
Keonna Thomas, a 33-year-old mother, told the judge presiding over her case Wednesday that she was badly misled, the Associated Press reports.
Thomas pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to ISIS in 2016, following her arrest by FBI agents in 2015.
Although Thomas began voicing support for terrorism as early as August 2013, she eventually moved beyond expressing support and decided to become more actively involved in the terror scene. She contacted radical cleric Abdullah el-Faisal, in order to find a jihadist husband. Notably, the New York Police Department is requesting that Jamaica extradite Faisal to the U.S. after the state issued an indictment.
Thomas adopted the name Fatayat Al Khilafah while advocating for jihadist ideology online and tried to raise money for ISIS terror activities. She once stated that being part of a martyrdom mission “would be amazing” and married an ISIS fighter over Skype named Abu Khalid al-Amriki, planning to abandon her children and join him later in Syria.
“Ms. Thomas was a lonely, depressed, anxiety-ridden mother who spent too much time on the internet,” Thomas’ lawyers stated. “By attempting to relocate to [IS]-held territory and marry an [IS] fighter, she never gave [IS] anything of value – except her love.”
Lawyers further argued that ISIS propaganda seduced her into believing the caliphate constituted “Islamic living” in its fullest expression.
“She carries significant guilt, finding it difficult to fathom how she could have ever considered abandoning her children,” her lawyers wrote. “She looks forward to rebuilding her life with her children and family when she is released from custody.”
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