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Emilie König (The New York Times / YouTube)


French woman who became ISIS recruiter in Syria says she wants to come home now

By WITW Staff on January 12, 2018

A French woman who traveled to Syria and became a prominent ISIS propagandist and recruiter is now asking to be allowed back into her home country, creating a complex dilemma for the French government.

Emilie König, 33, had converted to Islam as teenager and began wearing the black abaya and veil. König, who has claimed she began suffering discrimination after she began wearing the veil, later abandoned her husband and two small children to join the extremist group in Syria. König was taken into custody by the Kurds following the fall of ISIS’s self-proclaimed capital, Raqqa, in October, and revealed in a video that she is now being held in the legally gray Kurdish controlled region of Syria, a self-governed area whose autonomy is not technically recognized by France or any other country. In Syria, König could potentially be faced with an unfair trial and the death penalty, but, if she were to return to France, prosecutors could struggle to charge her for the crimes she’s accused of committing while in Syria and Iraq.

“She would like to come back; she has asked for pardon from her family, her friends, her country,” said König’s mother in an interview with Ouest-France, who explained that she had received a telephone call from her daughter two weeks ago.

An estimated 690 French foreign fighters — 295 of whom are believed to be women — still remain in Syria, according to Paris prosecutor, François Molins. The French government, unsurprisingly, is uneasy at the potential security risk that would be posed by allowing any of them to return home.

Watch video of König below.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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