A former rural Kansas woman was sentenced Tuesday to the maximum 20 years in federal prison – at the urging of her own children – for having led an all-female battalion of the ISIS terror organization.
Allison Fluke-Ekren, 42, had pleaded guilty in June to conspiring to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice. The department says Fluke-Ekren trained over 100 women and girls for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.
She had grown up on a farm near Overbrook, south of Topeka.
The DOJ says that from 2011 to 2019 Fluke-Ekren – also known as Umm Mohammed al-Amriki and Allison Elizabeth Brooks – engaged in terrorist activities in various countries, including Syria, Libya and Iraq, eventually serving as organizer and leader of ISIS’ Khatiba Nusaybah all-female battalion. She reportedly trained girls as young as 10 or 11 in the use of AK-47 assault rifles, grenades and suicide belts.
As part of her plea, Fluke-Ekren admitted she possessed and analyzed documents stolen from the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, during the 2012 terrorist attack there.
Fluke-Ekren expressed regret at her sentencing, though not unequivocally: “I deeply regret my choices, but I also deeply sympathize with women abused and raped in Syria.”
Her adult children, remarkably, were much less conflicted.
Layla Ekren told the judge her mother abused her when she was younger, at one point allegedly trying to blind her with medicine when the children had lice, and even married her at 13 to an ISIS fighter “as a sex slave.”
“I have felt degraded my entire life,” she told the judge.
When pressed by the judge about the forced marriage of her then-13-year-old daughter, Fluke-Ekren shrugged, “She was a few weeks from turning 14.”
A prosecutor told the judge Fluke-Ekren would sometimes try to gain credibility with others in ISIS by falsely claiming she gave birth to her oldest son after being raped by an American soldier.
“Allison Fluke-Ekren brainwashed young girls and trained them to kill,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo. “She carved a path of terror, plunging her own children into unfathomable depths of cruelty by physically, psychologically, emotionally, and sexually abusing them.”
Seemingly undaunted by the allegations against her, Fluke-Ekren asked to be sentenced to just two years, unabashedly claiming that during her time in Syria, “We just lived a very normal life.”
Instead, the DOJ had alleged that:
- In about 2008 Fluke-Ekren left the United States and moved to Egypt with her second husband, a now-deceased former member of the terrorist organization Ansar al-Sharia.
- By the end of 2011, Fluke-Ekren lived in Benghazi with her husband and others. After the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, she and her husband were in possession of documents and an unspecified electronic device stolen from the U.S. compound.
- The documents and device were shared with the leadership of Ansar al-Sharia, which took part in the 2012 Benghazi attack.
- In 2014, Fluke-Ekren and others were smuggled into Syria. While there, Fluke-Ekren told a witness about her desire to conduct an attack in the United States. To conduct the attack, Fluke-Ekren explained that she could go to a shopping mall in the United States, park a vehicle full of explosives in the basement or parking garage level of the structure, and detonate the explosives in the vehicle with a cell phone triggering device.