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.”
Today, the Belgian newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ identified the 29th Belgian fighter who has died in Syria. Khalid Bali was 17 years old and lost his brother Mohammed last year already in the Syrian war.
“Breaking news: six fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham became martyrs last night near Deir Ez-Zor”, the Belgian ISIS member Hicham Chaïb — a.k.a. Abu Haniefa — announced last Sunday on his Facebook account. “One of them is Abu Hamza Al-Belgiki and another one Abu Usama Al-Hollandi. May Allah accept them as martyrs and grant them the highest rank in paradise!”
No further details were given about the identities of the deceased, but journalists from the Belgian newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ quickly discovered their compatriot was Khalid Bali, a teenager from the Antwerp suburb of Merksem who would have turned 18 at the end of July. Bali’s older brother Mohammed was one of the early members of Shariah4Belgium, an organization of radical muslims that is associated with a fair big amount Belgian fighters who went to Syria.
Reportedly, it was Mohammed who introduced the now imprisoned leader of Shariah4Belgium, Fouad Belkacem, to Brian De Mulder — the Flemish boy with a Brazilian mother who was raised as a christian, but became one of the most famous European fighters in Syria. Mohammed himself was killed in September 2013 near Homs at the age of 23. That same month, Khalid urged his comrades in Belgium to join him in a lengthy Facebook post.
“There’s nothing we can do in Belgium”, he wrote. “These days we are obliged to make hijra and revive our religion as in the time of our Prophet. That is only possible when we stand up and give our lives for Allah. This life is worth nothing, it is only a short period in which Allah is testing us. Be strong and grab your faith with both hands. I have merely come to Syria to seek the satisfaction of our Lord. You should know this life is short, while the life hereafter will last forever.”
There are at least two other Belgians with the name Bali who went to Syria: Brahim and Abdelaziz (both 27). They were mentioned in an affidavit of the Antwerp prosecutor’s office, charging 46 members of Shariah4Belgium with terrorist offences for recruiting or joining the jihad in Syria. Brahim and Abdelaziz are still supposed to be in Syria. Brahim appears to be a nephew of the deceased brothers. He was caught in Yemen while trying to join Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) back in 2012. After his expulsion to Belgium, he traveled to Syria with his wife Yasmina Zamrouni (23).
Belgian police meanwhile arrested two young women from Antwerp allegedly trying to leave for Syria. They were caught last week at Brussels Airport and are the first to be detained already in Belgium on the suspicion of wanting to join the jihad. Usually, it is very difficult to prove that intention. But thourough investigations, including telephone taps, seem to be sufficient in this case. The young women are 17 and 19 years old, one of them the sister of a young man already fighting in Syria, and according to extremist sources, their aliases are ‘Oum Abbas’ and ‘Oum Haneefa’.
UPDATE. Following details were released this morning about the two women by ‘Free Aseer Abu Imran’, the Facebook page supporting Shariah4Belgium leader Fouad Belkacem. The information is copy-pasted as published there:
“Oum Abbas is a young muslimconvert who had many trials from Allah Azzawadjal, but that she was not less firm. On the contrary, she was known for her strong will and Iman. And many sisters praise her for her fear of Allah (taqwa), honor and sincerity. That’s why Allah Azzawadjal chose her for this unique trial.
Oum Haneefa is the other dear sister, despite her young age, she had a huge ghierah for the deen that you rarely find these days with regular Muslims. She have been always active in helping and supporting the Muslims. She was known for her kheir towards the Muslim families of the usaraa (prisoners) and ofcourse the needy. If you were in need of something, she would be the first person you would like, whether it was her smile or phonecall or a visit to you. She was always there for you. And we wallahi we testify by Allah Azzawadjal that we will stand up for her, especially as she was always there for us, now that she’s a aseer.
From the Public Ministry is said they are arrested at the airport and they were prevented to travel to Turkey. They were as said on the radar and signaled to Interpol and that they were arrested immediately upon notification. Since then they are detained at the prison of Antwerp, Belgium. They were under suspicion in supporting the case of terrorism, because they supposedly were traveling to Syria.
May Allah ta3ala prevail the truth above all falsehood and lies.
For us, these sisters are truly innocent from the beginning till the end of this. Please keep share this information through your network and make alot of dua’a for them and all of the muslimprisoners.The exact age of the sisters is not mentioned, but from our sources we heard that they are around 18 years old. Oum Abbas is a belgian convert and Oum Haneefa is born in belgium with roots in Morocco.”
Today, a new picture emerged of Brian De Mulder, one of the most famous Belgians fighting in Syria. Raised in a catholic family in Antwerp as son of a mother who immigrated from Brazil, he even made headlines in Time magazine.
The photograph was published on the Facebook account of Hicham Chaïb, another Syria fighter from the city of Antwerp, pictured on the left of De Mulder. Also known as ‘Abu Haniefa’ and ‘Muhajirien As Shaam’, he was part of the triumvirate that took the lead of Shariah4Belgium after it’s founder Fouad Belkacem (a.k.a. Abu Imran) was imprisoned in Belgium.
Chaïb is the only one of those three still alive. Noureddine Abouallal (a.k.a. Abou Mujahid) died last summer while fighting in Syria, and Feisal Yamoun (a.k.a. Abu Faris) was killed there last week. According to the Belgian newspaper ‘Het Nieuwsblad‘, security services considered the latter far more important in Shariah4Belgium than public face Belkacem, especially for the recruitement of Syria fighters.
Where the picture of De Mulder and Chaïb was taken — and whether they have fought on the side of Abouallal and Yamoun — isn’t clear. “On the lookout for the sake of Allah’, is the only comment. De Mulder has long been active on Facebook under the alias ‘Abu Qasem Brazili’, but a few weeks ago his account disappeared. It isn’t clear whether De Mulder still communicates with extremists in Belgium, but judging by the 50+ likes his new picture got in about an hour, his popularity there has only increased.
The widely known Belgian Syria fighter Brian De Mulder seems to threaten US president Barack Obama. “I can’t wait for his visit to Belgium”, the 20 years old muslim convert yesterday wrote on his Facebook page.
“I can’t wait for the 26th of March”, De Mulder teasingly stated yesterday evening — as the Belgian daily newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ reports in it’s Wednesday’s edition. Only after several questions of friends, he made clear what he meant. “Obama is coming to Belgium that day.”
De Mulder didn’t mention any kind of attack — nor by himself, nor by others. But still supposed to be in Syria, were he is fighting in the ranks of the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Sham’ (ISIS), he can’t have meant he simply hopes to catch a glimpse of the visit or something like that.
The new profile picture he posted a little bit later on his account using the name ‘Abu Qasem Brazili’, showed him with his finger raised, wearing a black balaclava with the jihadi version of shahada — the islamic creed — and a kalashnikov partly visible in the background.
In the past few months, Belgium has been threatened more than once by it’s Syria fighters. Local media attributed several of those messages to Brian De Mulder. But as far as we do know, that isn’t entirely correct. De Mulder distributed some of the threats, but seemingly wasn’t the author.
The Belgian Syria fighter Brian De Mulder (19) is alive and still in contact with friends back home. He recently obtained a smartphone and used that device to connect with his Facebook account several times during the past month. Only a few days after his reappearance online, one of his youth friends converted himself to islam too.
“Abu Qasem now uses Facebook for Android”, the timeline of Brian De Mulder — ‘Abu Qasem Brazili for his friends — stated on the 30th of June. Apparently he found a smartphone in the war zone. Back in April, he announced to his family that he didn’t want to get in touch with them anymore. But he does want to hear from his old friends, since he accepted 26 new Facebook friends recently. At least one is another extremist fighting in Syria, but most of them are Belgian youngsters not connected to the radical islamic scene — not yet, at least.
It’s impossible to know what goes on between Brian and those friends in their private messages. But it can hardly be coincidence that his old time best friend converted to islam only a few days after Brian did reconnect. On the 1st of July, Gino Dos Santos still posted rap music on his Facebook account, but the next day he declared himself a muslim. On the 10th of July, he wished his Facebook friends a happy ramadan, and Brian replied publicly visible: “Insha’Allah, may God bless you.” On the 12th of July, Brian responded to the call for ‘takbir’ Gino had posted. “Allahu Akbar”, he wrote — God is great.
It is clear that Gino has chosen for the radical islam from the start. In one of his messages, he called the mujahideen “the greatest heroes of our time”. Hardly 20 years old, Gino is already quite known in the Antwerp rap scene — as the artist ‘Grote Broer’ (Big Brother), playing in the band ‘The Brotherhood Gang’ and sharing the stage with the now famous musician Coely only last year. He has his roots in Angola and has been a friend of Brian since they were kids.
They lived in the same neighbourhood, played soccer in the same team and spent a lot of time together, Brian’s mother confirmed to the newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ — who broke the news of their renewed contact. “Gino’s mother is terribly afraid now that her son will go to Syria too”, Brian’s mother told. “She called me a few days ago to ask for advice.” Gino’s mother could not be reached for comment. He himself flatly denied recent contacts with Brian De Mulder, giving no explanation for the proof on his Facebook account.