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.”
During the past few days, three Belgian fighters reportedly were killed in Syria. All of them belonged to the radical ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Sham’ (ISIS). One of their women, back from Syria herself since only two months, learned about her husband’s fate yesterday evening by seeing a picture of his dead body on a friend’s Facebook account.
The wife of ‘Abu Muthanna’, one of the Belgian dead, saw his picture (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE) on the Facebook page of Hicham Chaïb (a.k.a. ‘Abu Haniefa’, a.k.a. ‘Muhajirien As Shaam’), the only remaining leader of Shariah4Belgium currently fighting in Syria. “My husband?” she reacted in panic. “Can anybody contact me please to tell what’s going on?”
Several hours later, still no visible answer was shown. It is unsure whether Hicham Chaïb is on the same spot where ‘Abu Muthanna’ had died, since Chaïb is mentioning Homs as his place of residence and the three Belgians were killed somewhere in between of Ar-Raqqah and Hasakah, according to the French ISIS fighter ‘Abu Abdillah Mujahid’ — who appears to be the original source of the picture that Chaïb has shared.
“On Tuesday, six of our people were killed in battles against the Free Syrian Army, Ahrar Al-Sham and Jabhat Al-Nusra near the village of Margada, two of them Belgians”, the Frenchman wrote. “On Wednesday seven, one of them from Belgium and another one from the Netherlands.” He didn’t mention any names, but apart from ‘Abu Muthanna’ and slain comrades from Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Indonesia, he also posted a posthumous picture (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE) of an African man, telling the guy was a Belgian from Malian descent.
‘Oum Almuthanna’, as the woman mentioned above is calling herself, is a sister of Noureddine Abouallal (a.k.a. ‘Abou Mujahid’)— another member of the triumvirate that took over as leaders of Shariah4Belgium after the arrest of founder and public face Fouad Belkacem (a.k.a. ‘Abu Imran’). Abouallal was killed while fighting in Syria in July of last year (a video eulogy can be seen here) while his third colleague Feisal Yamoun (a.k.a. ‘Abu Faris’) has died there last month (video here). All of them were living in of near the Belgian city of Antwerp and share Moroccan roots.
In January, ‘Oum Almuthanna’ and Abouallal’s widow Tatiana Wielandt — a Flemish muslim convert — came back from Syria. They both appeared to be pregnant, and apparently they didn’t want to give birth in the midst of a vicious war. According to their parents, they got help from the Belgian authorities while traveling home. After their arrival, they were questioned by the police, but not arrested.
UPDATE: a partly French spoken video of the remains of ‘Abu Muthanna’ can be seen here — with a warning again for it’s graphic content.
One of the leaders of the disbanded extremist group ‘Shariah4Belgium’ has died in Syria, according to his wife who followed her husband of Moroccan descent Noureddine Abouallal (23) last April to the war zone with their two year old son.
Tatiana Wielandt (21) broke the news in a phone call to her sister in Belgium. She only told that Abouallal — nom de guerre ‘Abou Mujahid’ — has died last Wednesday after he was shot. Her sister Jessica can call Tatiana every now and then, she admitted in an interview published last week in the Belgian daily ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’. “But she doesn’t tell me much, fearing that the security services are intercepting our calls.”
According to Tatiana’s father Frank, the family doesn’t even know for sure whether she is in Syria now, or at the Turkish border as she told after her sudden disappearance earlier this year. “But the possibility that she and her son are on their own now in the war zone, truly is unbearable”, he told.
Abouallal’s sister was Tatiana’s best friend. And because her parents couldn’t afford vacations abroad, they allowed Tatiana to join the Abouallal family spending their summer holidays in Morocco. There she fell in love with him. At 18, she converted to islam and married him.
For the teenager Abouallal, religion wasn’t important at all. About nine years ago, he told on his Netlog account that he was interested in soccer, swimming and partying. He made no secret of his desire to fall in love. “Hello, girls”, he wrote, “I am a bit chubby, but when I am on your side, you won’t regret it for sure.”
According to Tatiana’s mother, he only radicalized after their marriage. “When we first met him, he was a modern guy in jeans who had a decent job. But soon after their wedding, he started to wear traditional robes, grew his beard and lost his job.” They called their son Mujahid — ‘fighter’ — and on his Facebook page, Abouallal expressed the hope that his child once would make that name come true.
Abouallal came in the picture as one of the leaders of Shariah4Belgium after founder and mouthpiece of the organization Fouad Belkacem — a.k.a. ‘Abu Imran’ — was jailed in June 2012. At the press conference criticizing that arrest, Abouallal told that Shariah4Belgium never would stop, but instead destroy the Belgian democracy.
In November 2012, he too was arrested a while — after an investigation was opened into possible terrorist activities of Shariah4Belgium. But he was released the same day — and shortly after that, Abouallal left the country to join a radical muslim militia in Syria.
Noureddine Abouallal, a.k.a. ‘Abou Mujahid’, demonstrating against democracy with the slogan: ‘Don’t vote – stay muslim’