The BBC News is featuring a British woman who claims to have divorced herself from Islam and an American husband who joined ISIS in Syria. She now lives in Texas and says she has finally found freedom from that oppressive ideology.
Tania Georgelas was 17 and a student in a London high school when she converted to Islam.
“I just wanted to change my identity. I didn’t want to be Tania from Harrow anymore,” she said. “I wanted to be someone pious; someone that people didn’t call a ‘tart.’”
Georgelas said she finally felt a part of a community, “As long as I complied to what they were comfortable with Islamically.”
And it didn’t take long before she got involved with radical extremists and succumbed to their propaganda:
“Our minds were just being filled with these images, terrible, disturbing images. They would give examples of what happened in Srebrenica and Bosnia. We were made to feel this shared sense of guilt, because we’re a community, and it was our duty to do something, and that something was jihad.
“I looked up to Al Qaeda, the Taliban; anyone that was trying to protect Muslims — protect the honor of Muslims.”
But then the Tavistock Square bus bombing happened in London in 2005, which killed one of her friends who was a passenger, and that was the first time Georgelas felt something wasn’t right. However, she was taught how to justify the attacks by believing that when “an innocent Muslim dies, then an innocent non-Muslim dies.”
At the time of the bombing, Georgelas was married to John Georgelas — an American defector whom she met online. Together, they had three sons the couple wanted raised to be a part of the mujahidin (jihadists). The family lived in the U.S. before moving to Egypt after the Arab uprisings in 2011. There, John would train his sons to be Islamic warriors. This was when another incident occurred that caused doubt for Tania:
“One day, for some reasons, one of my sons came home with a grenade to show me. I don’t think it was a working grenade, but… Oh, I lost my temper and pulled out my kitchen knife at John, I was like, ‘Don’t you ever do this again. I don’t want my sons near these things. I don’t want them near the guns.’”
Two years later, the family moved to Syria at John’s insistence. Tania was pregnant for the fourth time and that’s when she started to plot her escape. Three weeks after the relocation to the war-torn area, Tania left with her children with John’s help to avoid the posted snipers. Instead of going with his family, John stayed behind to join ISIS. She believes he is now dead after fighting for "the cause."
Tania now lives in Texas, where she has renounced Islam and got a divorce from her husband. She is engaged to another man, but her ex-husband’s family has full custody of her children. As a U.S. resident, Georgelas says she is finally free:
“It was a relief to come back and not have to practice Islam… I got to focus on, now, all different religions. I had the freedom to think, that’s what America gave me, without fear.”
“I mean, I wish I could turn everything around and go back,” she says, “but I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes… I regret the choices that I’ve made, especially when it comes to my children.”
Gerogelas is looking for “a second chance” in the states, claiming she never participated in violent acts. She wants “to make up for [her] mistakes” and is studying to counter the same extremist ideologies she held on to and “rehabilitate extremists, radicals.”
Or… this is all a Trojan horse. You decide.
Watch the short documentary at BBC or below from Facebook: