Kansas mother who led ISIS battalion sentenced to 20 years in prison

(NEW YORK) — A Kansas mother who was convicted of leading an ISIS battalion was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday.

Allison Fluke-Ekren, 42, pleaded guilty in June to expressing interest in carrying out terrorist attacks in the United States in support of ISIS on six separate occasions between 2014 and 2017, according to court documents unsealed in February.

In letters to the court, her family described Fluke-Ekren as a “monster.” In court on Tuesday, her adult daughter said her mother forced her to marry an ISIS fighter who raped her when she was only 13.

“My mother is a monster who enjoys torturing children for sexual pleasure. My mother is a monster very skilled in manipulation and controlling her emotions to her advantage,” wrote her son, who remains unnamed in court documents filed by the Justice Department last week. “My mother is a monster without love for her children, without an excuse for her actions.”

Fluke-Ekren’s son, according to court documents, said she physically abused him as a child.

Fluke Ekren trained over 100 women and young girls, some just 10 years old on how to use automatic weapons, grenades and suicide belts, according to the Justice Department.

“Allison Fluke-Ekren brainwashed young girls and trained them to kill,” court documents say. “She carved a path of terror, plunging her own children into unfathomable depths of cruelty by physically, psychologically, emotionally, and sexually abusing them. For at least eight years, Fluke-Ekren committed terrorist acts on behalf of three foreign terrorist organizations across war zones in Libya, Iraq, and Syria.”

She also urged her daughter to delete messages shared between them to make sure she wasn’t caught in Syria where she had taken her children and was evading U.S. law enforcement, according to audio recordings played in court. Her daughter in court documents said she would inflict pain on her children, picking out what each one disliked the most and inflicting that damage upon them, then getting off on the pleasure of doing so, court documents say.

Fluke-Ekren was arrested in Syria earlier this year and transferred to U.S. custody, according to the DOJ.

Fluke-Ekren, who also used the name Umm Mohammed al-Amriki, moved to Syria in 2012 and married a “prominent” ISIS leader, court documents said. She can reportedly speak four languages, and the documents alleged she rose up the ranks to command her own all-female battalion.

“Fluke-Ekren’s alleged ISIS-related conduct includes, but is not limited to, planning and recruiting operatives for a potential future attack on a college campus inside the United States and serving as the appointed leader and organizer of an ISIS military battalion located in Syria, known as the Khatiba Nusaybah, in order to train women on the use of automatic firing AK-47 assault rifles, grenades, and suicide belts,” court documents filed in January said.

Prosecutors say she provided ISIS members with services, which included lodging, translating speeches made by ISIS leaders, teaching extremist ISIS doctrine and training children on the use of weapons and suicide belts.

Justice Department prosecutors said they believe the 20-year sentence is not enough.

“Twenty years in prison is insufficient to fully account for her monstrous acts of terror and the immeasurable damage that she has caused to countless individuals across the globe, including her own children,” prosecutors said.

One former friend, who said she last spoke to Fluke-Ekren more than 10 years ago, painted a picture of a woman who was close with her family but then became increasingly radicalized.

“I told people who she was friends with in Kansas, I told them, ‘This girl is radicalized,"” said the former friend, who agreed to be identified by her last name, Farouk. Farouk knew Fluke-Ekren when she lived in Kansas and then as a teacher in the Middle East.

She said Fluke-Ekren was a “good mom” and that their children were close, but that living in the Middle East as a teacher during the 2010 unrest of the Arab Spring and ensuing refugee crisis deeply impacted her.

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