On Tuesday, a former US schoolteacher turned high-ranking IS official and organizer of an all-female IS combat brigade pled guilty to aiding and abetting a foreign terrorist organization, according to the Justice Department.
It has been revealed that Allison Fluke Ekren (42), a native Kansan from the Kansas area, confessed to “terrorism-related activities” over the years 2011 to 2019. The department said Fluke-Ekren ultimately served as the leader and organizer of an ISIS military battalion, known as the Khatiba Nusaybah, where she trained women on the use of automatic-firing AK-47 assault rifles, grenades, and suicide belts. On behalf of ISIS (Islamic State), Fluke-Ekren trained more than 100 women and girls, some as young as 10 or 11 years old.
When the US mission in Libya was assaulted in 2012, her husband was a member of the radical Ansar al-Sharia organization and later became a commander of an Islamic State militant sniper squad in Syria. According to the department, after leaving the United States in 2011, the two were allegedly active in terrorist operations throughout the Middle East.
While in Syria, according to the department, she expressed a desire to destroy a US shopping center or university.
Khatiba Nusaybah, an all-female unit, trained in combat, medical care, and weaponry in the service of the Islamic State under her command from 2016 to 2017.
It is unclear when Fluke-Ekren was taken into custody, but she arrived in the United States on January 28.
Her lawyers and the Justice Department spent months negotiating her guilty plea on a single count, aiding a foreign terrorist organization, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, according to the court record. Her sentencing hearing will take place on October 25.
It would seem that Fluke-Ekren was well-known even inside the ranks of the Islamic State, where she was known by her nom de guerre, Umm Mohammed al-Amriki. One of her Syrian acquaintances described her as “an 11 or a 12” on a scale of 10 for radicalization.
She was raised as a Christian in Topeka, Kansas, where she was well-known for her academic prowess. Larry Miller, a retired physics teacher, told the Topeka Capital-Journal in January that “never would any of us who knew her back then ever thought she would end up as she has today.”
She has two children with Fluke, the man she married. They eventually divorced, and she went on to marry Volkan Ekren, a Muslim, and had at least three additional children with him.
Fluke-Ekren obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in education from an institution in Indiana.
A story in the Lawrence Journal-World from 2004 shows Fluke-Ekren, who was home-schooling her two oldest children, wearing a hijab while doing so.
In 2008, the family relocated to Cairo, Egypt, where they’ve lived since. The family’s trip to Egypt, where they saw the Pyramids and celebrated birthdays, was documented on her personal blog.
The Justice Department claims that her spouse was already a fanatical Islamist at the time.
Since then, they’ve lived in Libya, where the Arab Spring upheavals and Libya’s civil war began in 2011.
At the time of the September 2012 assault on the US mission and CIA headquarters in Banghazi, Ansar al-Sharia had killed the US ambassador and three other Americans. According to the Justice Department, her husband removed papers and an electronic device from the burnt property and enlisted Fluke-assistance Ekren’s in analyzing the contents for the organization. For a period, they lived in the Islamic State’s Mosul, Iraq stronghold.
According to the police, she told a stranger she planned to carry out an assault on a mall in her hometown and “spoke about learning how to make bombs and explosives.” Fluke-Ekren further said that she considered any attack that did not kill a large number of individuals to be a waste of resources.