A woman who allegedly quit teaching Kansas schoolchildren to teach kids in Syria how to use suicide belts and AK-47 rifles is being held without bond following a Jan. 31 hearing in federal court.
On Friday, FBI agents overseas took custody of Allison Elizabeth Fluke-Ekren — known within the Islamic State group terror network as Umm Mohammed al-Amriki — and flew her to Virginia. Her indictment for providing material support to ISIS had been sealed since mid-2019 but was unveiled during her flight to Virginia.
Prosecutors accuse Fluke-Ekren, 42, of instructing the Islamic State group’s Mujahidat — ISIS wives who vowed to raise children to fight against anti-Islamic forces and also joined the war as combatants — how to use rifles, grenades, and bomb belts. They say she also proposed to lead terror attacks in the US against malls and other soft targets.
“A witness observed one of Fluke-Ekren’s children, who Fluke-Ekren said was approximately five or six years old at the time, holding a machine gun at Fluke-Ekren’s residence in Syria,” wrote Assistant US Attorney Raj Parekh, in a court filing.
At issue in Monday’s hearing was whether the accused terrorist should be granted bond or detained. US Magistrate Ivan D. Davis ordered Fluke-Ekren temporarily held without bond and appointed attorney Joseph King as her defense counsel. The judge slated her detention hearing for Feb. 3 in Alexandria, Virginia.
Born in the US, Fluke-Ekren moved to Egypt in 2008 before leaving for Libya three years later, the FBI says. A cooperating witness places her at a terrorist safe house in Syria in 2012, with some time spent in Iraq’s ISIS-held Mosul. The two court records filed by prosecutors and the FBI allude to six witnesses against Fluke-Ekren, all of them unnamed in the documents.
By 2014, agents suspect, Fluke-Ekren had settled in Syria and within two years was living in the Islamic State group’s capital, Raqqa, so she could aid ISIS by providing lodging to terrorists, leading an all-female fighting force the FBI termed “Khatiba Nusaybah,” and translating for ISIS leaders.
Born in the US, Fluke-Ekren is fluent in Arabic, Turkish, Spanish, and English, and was married to the ISIS emir who led the terrorist group’s snipers. When he was killed in an air raid, she allegedly remarried a Bangladeshi ISIS leader who specialized in drone attacks. He also died and she reportedly married a third man, an ISIS leader responsible for the defense of Raqqa.
Agents say Fluke-Ekren plotted a shopping mall attack in the US, where she would “park a vehicle full of explosives in the basement or parking garage level of the structure and detonate the explosives in the vehicle with a cell phone triggering device.”
“Fluke-Ekren considered any attack that did not kill a large number of individuals to be a waste of resources,” Parekh wrote.
She also allegedly proposed an assault on an unidentified US college that relied on her volunteers entering the US through Mexico and donning the clothing of “infidels” to distribute bomb-laden backpacks across the campus. Not only was the mission greenlighted by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but he allegedly funded it, too.
Witnesses differ on why the raids never occurred. One said the school attack got shelved when Fluke-Ekren became pregnant. Another said her late husband objected to the mall assault.
This story was updated at 2:50 p.m., Jan. 31, 2022, to show that the defendant was held without bond pending a detention hearing on Feb. 3 in Alexandria, Virginia.