A British woman was found guilty Friday of joining the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, and encouraging acts of terror on social media, according to reports. Tareena Shakil reportedly traveled to Syria with her toddler son and is the first British woman to return and be convicted.
The 26-year-old health worker from Birmingham began to research Syria and speak to ISIS members via social media in 2014 after her marriage ended, the jury was told Friday, according to the Guardian. She reportedly exchanged messages with an ISIS fighter and decided to move to Syria. Shakil reportedly left Syria in January 2015.
After a two-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court, the jury rejected Shakil’s claim that she had only travelled to Syria to live under Sharia law.
Some of her social media activities, which were shown to the jury, included posting images of the black ISIS flag and messages calling on people to “take up arms,” BBC reported, adding that in some posts, Shakil also expressed her wish to become a “martyr.”
Tim Moloney QC, Shakil’s defense lawyer, reportedly said that she had been “groomed” by ISIS recruiters who had used her vulnerability following the end of her marriage.
Shakil’s defense reportedly claimed that she left the ISIS territory because she was unhappy in Syria.
“I came back of my own free will. I came back because I realized I had made a mistake,” Shakil told the court, according to BBC. She is reportedly due to be sentenced Monday.
“It is inconceivable that a mother would be willing to put her child in such a dangerous situation, potentially exposing him to harm and even death,” a spokesman for National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), a non-profit for children in Britain, told BBC.