SEATTLE — A journalism student from Seattle has been uncovered as a prominent female ISIS recruiter, according to reports.
Rawdah Abdisalaam is believed to be behind the Twitter account @_UmmWaqqas, a now suspended page that called upon Muslims to join the Islamic caliphate. The account had 8,000 followers.
“This is all I do pretty much,” one post stated, which included a photograph of Abdisalaam’s laptop–sitting on an Islamic State flag—playing Islamic lecture videos. “My aspiration is to become like A’isha Radi Allahu Anha (the wife of Mohammed) in every sense.”
“May Allah bless our Mujahideen in Dawlatul Islam,” she wrote in another Tweet. “May Allah grant them victory over their enemies and bless the Islamic State!”
While calling upon fellow Muslims to move overseas and join the terrorist group’s efforts, Abdisalaam also posted about her life in America, such as watching the Denver Broncos on a super-widescreen HDTV or Tweeting photographs of double hamburgers or slices of pizza.
She additionally identified herself as a college student that had been studying to be a journalist—but changed her major because of her unhappiness with the media.
“Officially changed my major,” Abdisalaam wrote. “I no longer want to be a journalist (considering the bias news agencies, etc.) I know want to be a teacher!”
According to Channel Four News, friends of Abdisalaam have expressed shock that she is behind the Tweets. However, they state that she is no longer in Washington and may have moved to another state or possibly out of the country. But the outlet says that it communicated with her anonymously via Twitter in March and noted that her IP address was in Seattle at the time. It also asked her if she was from Seattle, and she refused to reply, simply responding with “Bye” minutes later.
Abdisalaam is believed to have communicated with Keonna Thomas, a 30-year-old Philadelphia woman who was arrested earlier this year for attempting to aid ISIS. She is also suspected of communicating with two teenage girls from Colorado who were arrested in Germany as they were on their way to Turkey to join the Islamic State.
As previously reported, FBI Director James Comey outlined last week that the government has a “very hard task” of locating jihadists in the nation, as ISIS tactics to recruit followers has changed.
“The haystack is the entire country,” Comey said. “We are looking for the needles, but increasingly the needles are unavailable to us. … This is the ‘going dark’ problem in living color.”
He said that as recent as just a couple of years ago, jihadist wannabees would seek out online forums to communicate, but “that has changed dramatically, especially with [ISIS] and their use of social media.” Comey noted that even on the phones of Americans and others ISIS is urging sympathizers “to travel to the so-called caliphate to fight” but also state, “If you can’t travel, kill where you are,”
“It’s almost as if there is a devil sitting on the shoulder saying, ‘Kill, kill, kill, kill’ all day long,” he said. “[They are] recruiting and tasking at the same time. … In a way, the old paradigm between ‘inspired’ and ‘directed’ breaks down here.”