In the Shadow of Daesh
The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria carried out acts of barbarity that horrified the most jaded of observers. So why would a woman with a good job, a loving husband and a close family leave it all behind to join them? When three young men from the neighbourhood go to for Syria to fight for ISIS, outreach worker Sophie Kasiki finds herself supporting their distraught families. It's not long until the three reach out to Sophie online. She agrees to talk, believing she can convince them to come back. Instead, the opposite happens. Over the next two months, the men use their knowledge of her character and motivation to convince her to come for a short visit "to help the Syrian people." Telling her husband she's going to volunteer in a Turkish orphanage, Sophie leaves for Raqqa - taking their four-year-old son with her. Swiftly disillusioned with what she sees, she tries to leave only to find herself held captive for months by her former friends and then handed over to one of the regime's infamous "guesthouses" for women. Miraculously, she escapes to tell her story. In the first English language account published by an Islamic State returnee, Sophie attempts to unpick the reasons why she went and to warn others from taking the same path.
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