In a new BBC documentary, a British woman describes her experience as an ISIS supporter and the wife of a jihadist fighter. Having renounced the extremist ideology that galvanized her for many years, Tania Georgelas now hopes to start a new life in the United States of America.
According to the documentary, Georgelas began to gravitate toward extremist iterations of the Muslim faith when she was 17. “It made me feel like I belonged somewhere,” she said. Georgelas married an American convert identified only as John. In the midst of the Arab Spring, the couple moved to Egypt, believing that it would be the best place to raise their sons as jihadists. But when her young child brought home a grenade, Georgelas began to question the path that she had embarked upon.
“I don’t think it was a working grenade,” she recalled, “but I lost my temper and pulled out my kitchen knife at John and said, ‘Don’t you ever do this again. I don’t want my sons near these things.’”
The family later relocated to Syria, where they lived in dilapidated buildings and became accustomed to the constant sound of gunfire. Georgelas begged John to let her leave, and he agreed to help her escape with the children. He stayed behind and joined the Islamic State. It has been a year since Georgelas has heard from him and she does not know if he is alive.
According to the documentary, Georgelas now lives in Texas and has renounced Islam. She lost full custody of her children, who are cared for by John’s parents. But she hopes that in spite of her contentious past, she will be able to start afresh in America.
“I wish I could turn everything round and go back,” Georgelas said. “But I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes.”
Watch the full documentary below: