Belgium arrests its first female ISIS recruiterPosted: 2014/07/01
Belgian police has arrested a woman on suspicion of recruitment for ISIS, the country’s largest newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ reported today. Rosliana Adelline Geerman (21) converted to islam only a few years ago. But she already tried to send at least two girls to Syria, investigators say.
‘Oum Uthmaan’, as Geerman is calling herself in extremist circles, was the driving force behind a support group on Facebook for ‘Umm Haneefa’ and ‘Oum Abbas’. These are the pseudonyms of two girls from Antwerp who were stopped last May while trying to leave for the Syrian war. Hakima Maatouch (18) is imprisoned since then, while Jessy H. (17) has been entrusted to a juvenile institution.
Besides her links with the two teenagers, Geerman also has a lot of contacts with kindred spirits who are already in Syria. Via Facebook, she is communicating with at least four women from Belgium and the Netherlands who are staying with the extremist ‘Islamic State in Iraq and Sham’ in the city of ar-Raqqah. Among them, the eighteen-year-old Dutch with whom the well known ISIS fighter from Antwerp Brian De Mulder got married there. For the investigators, there is sufficient indication that Geerman has served as an intermediary in the recruitment of the two girls.
Geerman comes from Aruba, an island belonging to the Lesser Antilles and part of the Dutch Caribbean. Just like her supposed recruit Jessy, she wasn’t born and raised as a muslim. An apparently forgotten MySpace account is showing her as party girl. “Tequila shots with my friends”, she commented on one of her pics. But after living in the Netherlands for several years, she moved to Brussels after her conversion to islam and her marriage with man of Algerian descent, it is told. We do not know when exactly that has happened, but at the end of 2012 she wrote on her actual Facebook account about the obligation for women to cover themselves and to be obedient to their husbands.
At least in Belgium, it seems much more the case for women than for men, that converts are taking the lead in jihad. Two of the very first Belgian women in the Syrian war were converts without any foreign link: Tatiana Wielandt from Antwerp, who has since returned — and Nora Verhoeven from Vilvoorde, who is still in Syria. And the woman who is coming to the forefront now in Geerman’s entourage, she too became a muslim only in her second life.
In a message that she managed to smuggle out of her cell, Geerman mentioned that ‘sisters’ can write her by delivering their letters to ‘Umm Mohamed’. That is the alias of her good friend Inez L. — originally from the town of Aarschot, but now living in Brussels too. Five years ago, Inez was trying to become a famous photo model. There is an old Facebook account where she can be seen in slightly provocative poses — and at that same time, she also confessed smoking marihuana occasionally.
Nowadays, she is “standing with my legs in Belgium, but with my heart in Syria”, as she wrote recently on her actual Facebook account. She was fined already several times for appearing in public wearing a niqab — an offense in several Belgian cities — and when she traveled to Turkey with two friend in March of this year, she posed for a picture in Istanbul Airport totally veiled. “I used to earn money by showing my body”, she tells. “And back then, lots of people predicted that I would achieve a lot. I have achieved a lot now by finding the way of islam and carrying the Holy Quran on my tongue and in my heart.”