Speed Reads

Discovering Her Punishment

Kansas woman sentenced to 20 years for leading Islamic State battalion

A Kansas woman was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for leading an all-female fighting battalion for the Islamic State while living in the Middle East, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday. 

Allison Fluke-Ekren, 42, engaged in a variety of terrorist acts in Syria, Libya, and Iraq from 2011 to 2019, the DOJ said. According to The Associated PressFluke-Ekren willingly admitted to prosecutors that she was the leader of the Khatiba Nusaybah, a female fighting force made up of around 100 women and girls. The DOJ reported some of these girls were as young as 10 years old. 

During her time as the group's leader, the DOJ said Fluke-Ekren trained the group's members on numerous terrorism tactics. This included the use of automatic weapons and assault rifles, as well as the operation of hand grenades and suicide belts

These illegal acts also extended to Fluke-Ekren's own children, the DOJ said. Two of her children, a daughter and son who are now both adults, told prosecutors their mother had dragged them across the world in a "lust for control and power," and AP reported they had also been sexually and physically abused by Fluke-Ekren.

In a series of letters, the two children denounced their mother and asked the court to give her the maximum sentence — a request the judge granted. 

Throughout the trial, Fluke-Ekren's story had been unveiled nearly in its entirety, painting the unique case of how a seemingly typical Kansas mom wound up an Islamic State zealot.