Update: The so-called "all-American girl" turned alleged jihadist was denied bail during a court appearance in Virginia Thursday, the BBC reports. The judge said factors including the safety of the local community are considered during bond hearings, and Allison Fluke-Ekren did not contest the order to remain in custody as she awaits trial. Earlier this week, her parents and two adult children, who live in the US, asked that she be prohibited from contacting them. Fluke-Ekren, 42, is believed to have at least five children, Vice reports. Our original story from Jan. 31 follows:
A former teacher from Kansas who federal authorities say trained women and children to use AK-47 assault rifles and grenades and led them in an ISIS battalion is back in the US, facing charges. Allison Fluke-Ekren was picked up in Syria, officials say, and is due in court Monday in Virginia on charges of aiding a terrorist organization, CNN reports. Prosecutors say Fluke-Ekren left the US in 2008, going to Egypt and then Libya, per the Daily Beast. She and her husband, a sniper trainer for ISIS, were smuggled into Syria around 2012, US documents say, carrying $15,000 with them to buy weapons.
Beginning in 2016, a statement from prosecutors says, Fluke-Ekren was given the job of organizing and training the battalion to use weapons, including suicide belts. "Fluke-Ekren's main objective in this role was to teach the women of ISIS how to defend themselves against ISIS' enemies," the federal complaint says. She also provided ISIS members with lodging, translations of leaders' speeches, and instruction in ISIS doctrine, the documents say. While in Syria, per ABC, Fluke-Ekren offered to carry out terrorist attacks in the US on behalf of ISIS. The US complaint was filed in 2019 but not unsealed until now.
A witness reported to the FBI seeing one of Fluke-Ekren’s sons, who was 5 or 6 at the time, carrying a machine gun at home. In 2018, the complaint says, Fluke-Ekren had word sent to her family in the US that she'd died, in hopes the US wouldn't look for her anymore. A relative told US authorities that Fluke-Ekren was a jihadist and ISIS member who "does not like America or Americans." Fluke-Ekren has not entered a plea yet; the maximum prison sentence she faces is 20 years. (Read more ISIS stories.)