How Isis draws in young foreign fighters, according to a woman who escaped its clutches

A young French woman speaks out to warn others against following her path

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The Independent Online

A young Muslim convert who was drawn to Isis on social media has spoken out to warn other girls about how the jihadist group reaches out to vulnerable people online.

Speaking in Paris to CNN, Joanna (not her real name) said she was groomed by a woman “directly involved in the Paris terror attacks”, who wanted to take her with her to join Isis in Syria.

French police intervened before that could happen when her mother called a national hotline, and she is now one of the youngest girls in France’s deradicalisation programme.

Joanna must report to a police station every day and receives mandatory counselling, and she told CNN her message to other girls like her was to “open your eyes to reality”. “Don’t go to Syria – it’s suicide, it’s death,” she said.

Watch the interview with a girl radicalised by Isis

Joanna says she has cut off all online communications and no longer has a phone to tempt her to get back in touch with Isis recruiters.

She said the people who contacted her online were “really sneaky”, and seemed to know exactly what to say to a “lonely” young person needing to be understood.

She said: “I received loads of messages from them, I was constantly in touch with them ... They made sense of my life, made me think I had an important role on Earth. I really felt like I was loved, even more than by my own family.

“They tell you that your family will reject you, that they will stop loving you; they say that the only ones who love you are your brothers and sisters in Islam. Then, when things deteriorate with your family, you turn to them instead.”

“They always know the right words to use; they aren't dumb, they're smart. It's manipulation, and unfortunately I got trapped.”