Crime

Shannon Conley, teen accused of trying to aid ISIS terror group: Her rebirth as "Slave of Allah"

Thus far, the photo of Shannon Conley seen above -- it's cropped from a larger family snapshot shared by her mother, Ana Conley, on Facebook -- is the only image to have surfaced since news broke that the Arvada nineteen-year-old had been arrested for trying to "provide material support and resources" to the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. See the recently unsealed criminal complaint against her below.

At this writing, however, more online footprints exist, including a Facebook page in which she brands herself "Halima" Conley and lists her workplace as "Slave of Allah," plus a testimonial in which she describes how she sampled other religions before embracing Islam.

The Halima Conley Facebook page was created on February 16 and was active for around a month. Not every post relates to Islamic matters; there are items about abortion, misogyny and even a meme declaring that because cocoa comes from a tree, chocolate counts as salad. But a majority relate to the Islamic faith. Among them is the aforementioned "Slave of Allah" workplace note (it connects to an Islam education page of the same name), plus a link to a video entitled "Rabbi Jewish converts to Islam, but why?" and, most notably in this context, a clip about British women joining the jihad in Syria.

There's also this post, directed as Conley's sisters:

In addition, the Islamic website Seeking the Truth features a testimonial written by Conley (still identifying herself as Shannon) back in October 2012. The essay traces Conley's attempts to find God through explorations of various religions -- efforts that led her to Islam. We've reproduced the entire testimonial at the end of this post, but here's an excerpt:
While flipping through channels for background noise, I happened across a show about Muslim responses to Islamophobia. Interested in anything having to do with terrorists, I decided to watch the program.

To this day, I cannot remember a word of what was said, I just remember being fed up with the constant berating of a religion that I was not informed enough about to even have an opinion on the subject! So while the program was on commercial I got up and asked my dad if I could read the family Quran again. He said yes, and I sat there in my room until the time I had to sleep, reading the Quran. And then, that same wondrous feeling that came over me at the youth conference came over me again, and I knew that Islam was my religion. Siratal mustaqim.

Now I am a Muslim, AlhamdulAllah. I have found my home, and God, in this religion and here I will stay until Allah lifts me from my grave.

Aside from the brief reference to an interest in terrorism, the essay doesn't promote violence. However, the criminal complaint against Conley maintains that she drifted in this direction over time -- and ultimately made plans to wed an alleged ISIS fighter and move to the Middle East.

Continue for more about the allegations against Shannon Conley, including more images and the criminal complaint.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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