Sophie Kasiki was a woman who had it all: a beautiful home in Paris, a loving husband and healthy 3-year-old son.
Kasiki’s ordeal began when she converted to Islam without telling her atheist husband. She was originally from Democratic Republic of Congo and was working as a social worker to help settle new immigrants in France. That is how she met the three young jihadis who would soon recruit her to work for ISIS.
The three young men, who would later leave for Syria, told Kasiki about a life in paradise. And Kasikki believed their highly fabricated stories about Syria.
When Kasiki was offered a job working in an ISIS run hospital, she took the opportunity. She lied to her husband and said she was going to work temporarily in an orphanage in Istanbul, Turkey.
Immediately after arriving, it became apparent to Kasiki that the jihadis who’d convinced her to leave her home had lied. The conditions in Syria and in the hospital where she worked were awful. Not only that, but she was instructed never to leave her home alone and she was forced to relinquish her passport.
Realizing that she was no more than a prisoner, Kasiki was in agony, especially when desperate text messages from her husband kept pouring into her phone.
“I asked to go home,” she recalls. “Every day, I said I missed my family and my son needed to see his father. To begin with they made excuses, then came the threats. They said I was a woman alone with a child and I couldn’t go anywhere, and if I tried to leave I would be stoned or killed.”
Kasiki’s ordeal continued to worsen. She was even punched in the face by one ISIS member, who wanted to take her son to the mosque without her.
Kasiki and her son were then taken to a ‘guest house,’ which was actually more of a prison filled with foreign women and children watching ISIS executions. She soon learned that the only way to move out of the prison was to marry an ISIS fighter.
Strangely, escaping the prison came easily when one morning Kasiki found an unlocked door and managed to get out with her son. A Syrian family took her in and kept her safe until she made arrangements to get back to the border between Turkey and Syria. In April, she arrived in France, where she was held in a prison for two months.
Today, Kaskiki has reconciled with her husband but still faces child kidnapping charges by the state.
Kasiki admits now that she was brainwashed and must now speak out: “I must prevent other people being drawn into this horror. What can I say? Don’t go.”