British crowdfunders donate to help Isis brides flee camps in Syria

Women with ties to Isis are raising funds among sympathisers in Britain and other European countries to help them flee detention camps in Syria.

An investigation by The Sunday Times has uncovered details of how people in the UK have donated to, and promoted, an international crowdfunding operation reliant on an encrypted messaging app to funnel money to Syria and pay people-smugglers to spirit women and children out of the camps.

Some of the fundraising originates in the camps, where thousands of inmates endure squalid conditions but have access to mobile telephones they use to post appeals on social media.

These are then “shared” by sympathisers around the world — including in the UK. One Muslim woman living in northern England shared a post dozens of times appealing for funds to free “sisters” in Syria.

Donations follow a circuitous route in cyber-space through various intermediaries before ending up in the hands of Isis women hoping to flee or of the smugglers helping them. An undercover reporter was told last week by a fundraiser that any donation would go to Germany first before being sent to the camps. Three middlemen claimed that many donations had been made from Britain.

France and the Netherlands are also involved 

An undercover reporter who made contact with various Telegram accounts was told to transfer funds using the untraceable bitcoin cryptocurrency.

“It’s easy,” wrote the intermediary. “You buy the bitcoins and, once you have them, you send them.” The message went on: “There is no trace, many brothers and sisters did it, alhamdulillah [God be praised] there is no problem with it and this way is used since a very long time, the authorities of your country has no proof against you using that way.” Another Telegram intermediary wrote: “May Allah reward you for your interest to help the sisters in need.”

One recommended sending money over the PayPal internet purchasing system and labelling the transaction “something stupid like a birthday gift”.

“I may not be your wife or your mother or your daughter, but i am YOUR SISTER in islam!!” wrote one woman. She added: “Sisters have been imprisoned for YEARS … have you forgotten us? What’s the matter with you!! FEAR ALLAH, wake up!”

One of the camps, Roj, where Shamima Begum is held, is tightly guarded but the other, Hol, is too big, say guards, to police properly: a sprawling tent city that is home to tens of thousands of people, a mix of former Isis camp followers and Iraqi and Syrian refugees. 

Successful escapes from Hol are … common. “You can bribe the guards there,” said Vera Mironova, a research fellow at Harvard University who is in close contact with several women held in the Syrian camps. “There are so many women fundraising to get out.”

“Oh my brothers and sisters, in order to free my family, please help us with any amount possible. Even if it’s by giving 1$. And do you not wish to free yourself from the hellfire by spending a little more in the cause of Allah?”



One Response

  1. How do we vet women liberated by such crowdfunding accounts? Are they chastened homesick girls or are they criminals who have assisted ISIS in its grisly mission and intend to resume violent jihad?

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