German jihadist: From Hamburg to the IS and back again
Omaima A. went to Syria, joined the IS and married the terrorist Denis Cuspert. Now she is back in Germany - and lives in Hamburg. A Lebanese reporter has uncovered the case.
Jenan Moussa is used to a lot: For years, the Lebanese-born reporter for the Arab TV station Al Aan TV has been researching in the milieu of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization. She has visited countless times in Syria and Iraq in recent years.
Time and again she has examined the lives of so-called "foreign fighters" who moved from the West to Syria and Iraq to join the IS. On one of her last trips, she got from one of her informants almost incidentally the phone from Omaima A., a young woman from Hamburg. Presumably it had been captured during the advance of the Kurds or the German had left it for safety's sake.
The mobile proved to be a treasure trove. It contained more than 36 gigabytes of files, most of them photos. Based on the pictures, the past years can be retold in the life of the jihadist.
The way to Jihad
Born in July 1984 in Hamburg, A. appears to be radicalizing in 2011: she begins to disguise herself with a Nikab who only lets her eyes go, wearing gloves, posing with Islamist flags.
In May 2012 she marries the Frankfurt Islamist Nadir Hadra. It is the second marriage for A. From a previous relationship she has a daughter who was born in 2007. Hadra is an avowed Salafist and IS propagandist who participates, inter alia, in the Koran distributions organized by the lay preacher Ibrahim Abou-Nagie.
At some point after the wedding Hadra leaves Germany and leaves his wife with two children. A third child is born after his departure. In January 2015, A. travels to Hadra with her children. They fly to Turkey. There takes Hadra wife and children in reception, a little later the family continues to travel across the border in the IS area to Syria.
The German authorities do not hide this. On the woman's mobile there is a photo of a letter from the Job Center of March 2015. In it, the Office informed A. that their benefits will be canceled. "Reason: departure for foreign countries (Syria)".
In Syria A. is on you and you with the most prominent IS terrorists from German-speaking countries. She photographs her son with, among others, Denis Cuspert, who previously had a moderately successful career as a gangsta rapper under the name Deso Dogg. Also with the Austrian jihadist Mohamed Mahmoud, who in June 2015 shot and killed two ISIS prisoners in front of the camera. Their toddlers pose with weapons and are put into the uniform of IS fighters. A. himself also wears a gun in a photo taken in March 2015. The eight-year-old daughter wears Nikab and attends an IS school in Rakka.
The time together with Hadra is short lived. The jihadist is killed six weeks after the arrival of the Hamburg woman in the Battle of Kobane. The IS compensates A. with 1310 US dollars in cash. The terrorist militia bureaucracy grants the woman permission to move from Rakka province to Homs province.
"I could not imagine anyone with this story running around freely in Germany"
There she marries Deso Dogg, the close friend of her deceased husband. From now on she wears two golden wedding rings. They live in a house full of toddlers, and sons and daughters from Cuspert's former relationships live with them under one roof.
While Cuspert fights at the front, his wife spreads online propaganda for the IS. During the entire time she is in contact with relatives in Germany via mobile phone.
The last picture on the phone comes from the end of 2015. Therefore, Moussa first thought that the woman must be dead. But then she discovered the same person on an active LinkedIn profile that had been created in Germany. In it, A. presents herself as a freelance translator and event manager in Hamburg. The headscarf she has now filed, her profile picture shows a self-confident woman with a black blazer and white blouse. Nobody would come up with the idea that they could have belonged to a terrorist militia for years.
Moussa himself traveled to Hamburg and went on the trail of the woman. She found A. among one of the addresses stored on the phone, but never met her personally. Only when she took the phone off did she know for sure. "I could not imagine anyone with this story running around freely in Germany," says Moussa DER SPIEGEL.
The German authorities are aware of the case in principle. A. therefore returned to Germany in September 2016 via Turkey.
"This woman can build a new life in the middle of Hamburg"
Women who are heading for terrorist militias such as IS in Syria and Iraq have relatively high chances of returning home unmolested. The German courts do not consider the mere stay with the jihadists a criminal offense. However, if women have been trained in weapons or have clearly acted as members of one of the terrorist organizations, they face imprisonment.
In the case of A., up to Moussa's research, there was not enough material for a warrant for membership in a terrorist organization. That could change now: For the first time, the investigators through the photos with Deso Dogg evidence that the woman with the command level of the IS had closest contact and not only the budget of fighters has led. Above all, a picture that shows them together with armed fighters, will certainly have meaning in a possible trial.
For the 35-year-old reporter, who researches months every year in the former power of the IS, experienced feels wrong. She is angry. "In Iraq and Syria, the IS has tens of thousands on the conscience and this woman can build a new life in the middle of Hamburg," she says: "It looks as if the victims outside Germany are worth nothing."
The Hamburg police said on Monday only via Twitter, the facts are known to her.