Terrorist to Hero?

A story that has caught my eye in the media and news today pertains to the former ISIS female fighter, who has recently fled the military and wants to start a different life. She calls herself “Khadija,” and she is a petite 25-year old woman who agreed to meet CNN journalists in a hotel room in Turkey. Throughout the interview, the journalist notices her anxious body language and tone, although she is completely covered in her niqab. Before Khadija was a member of the fearsome, female ISIS group, she was an elementary school teacher. She told CNN that her upbringing was not very conservative, but she eventually decided to go with the crowd and join the masses that began “peaceful protests.” She described those days as “being great,” but then the violence spiraled out of control. She said she “ran away into something uglier.” But now, after seeing all of the gruesome acts that ISIS commits, she decided to take her family, run away and start over. She lost all of her humanity and soul, and she just wants to be happy again.

This story stuck out to me solely because it was about a female ISIS member, rather than a male. It was the first story I ever read about a female, and of course this story would be about her running away and starting a new life. I feel that CNN cuts her a lot of slack, as she was once a terrorist, who kills, carried a gun, and slashed women for their wardrobe malfunctions. All of the sudden, she decides that that life was not for her, and she is accepted back as a good person. I don’t think we should put all of our trust back into her, or they should’ve given more information about her background so we could make those decisions ourselves with more evidence. This woman expects everything to go back to normal, to be “a girl who is merry, who loves life and laughter, who loves to travel, to draw, to walk in the street with her headphones listening to music without caring what anyone thinks,” but I think it will take a lot more time than just a few months to completely change her mindset.

I do believe in second chances, but terrorism is not something I am able to forgive so lightly. I do admire this woman for realizing that ISIS was wrong, but there’s something about it that makes me uneasy. The reporter treats views this woman as a hero, who was able to step out of the path of destruction, and I do not think that is the right way to see this situation.

In addition, I was looking up opinions of the CNN article online, and here are some things I found.

  • “She slowly lifts her niqab, revealing her young, heart-shaped face. Her large brown eyes, filled with guilt and turmoil, are delicately made up under perfectly sculpted brows.” Is this a CNN article or romance novel?
  • “Maybe we should call her a hero, and others who follow her footsteps.”
  • “The only thing she’s good at is quitting.”

2 thoughts on “Terrorist to Hero?

  1. Samm Worthing

    I can’t even imagine the horrors she dreams about. For someone like her, ISIS was probably a group that she felt accepted by, but things got out of hand. I imagine she felt uncomfortable and horrified by any murders or crimes she committed. I agree that she won’t be able to go right back to a normal life, but I think it’s less about whether people will be able to trust her or not again and more about whether she’ll be able to fully forgive herself and get past her own demons.

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