skip to Main Content

A Sister Walking in the Islamic State

This video clip features Ibn Mesud, an eighteen-year-old Syrian ISIS defector from al Hasakah, Syria interviewed in December 2015 by Anne Speckhard and Ahmet S. Yayla in southern Turkey. The video clip was produced by Zack Baddorf and ICSVE staff.

In this clip Ibn Mesud tells the story of a local Syrian walking with his sister in Raqqa when they are stopped by the ISIS hisbah, or morality police. Unable to produce the demanded document proving their sibling relationship, the hisbah take the young woman away, while her brother returns home to get the document. When he arrives a short time later at the ISIS hisbah headquarters, he is told that his sister is not there. When her brother argues, he is taken and flogged and then thrown out into the street.  The sister’s dead body is later found near their home.  The girl’s grieving family won’t discuss if she was raped, given the shame involved.  Meanwhile, Ibn Mesud advises viewers not to be tricked by ISIS, not to be lured by their money and warns that their actions create “humiliation and fear.”

Timed transcript of A Sister Walking in the Islamic State video:

A Sister Walking in the Islamic State

0:00     Once… a girl was [walking] with her brother.

0:05     The hisbah[religious police] stopped them and asked why she is walking with him.

0:11     IBN MESUD

Former ISIS Child Soldier

She said, ‘He is my brother.’

But she didn’t have a family card [with her].

0:16     They told him, ‘There is no proof that she is your sister.’

0:19     They took her and left him behind.

0:26     The girl’s brother went home and got the paperwork for the hisbah.

0:30     They took the girl. But then they told him that they didn’t have her anymore.

0:33     ‘Why not, Sheikh?’ [he asked]. ‘I was asking about her just before.’

0:35     It’s not true,’ they said.

0:36     They kicked them out [of the building].

0:38     Then they took him and flogged him.

0:44     They kicked them out [of the building].

0:49     The family searched for their daughter.

0:53     After a while, they found her dead. Her body was thrown close to her home.

1:01     I don’t know [if they raped her]. Only Allah knows.

1:04     Her family, [including] her dad, were all crying.

1:08     They moved her body inside.

1:09     If [she was raped], they would certainly not say anything about it, fearing a scandal.

1:14     In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

1:17     I advise my brothers, who are my age or younger: do not be tricked by ISIS.

1:29     I will tell them that money is not everything. I didn’t know [the truth] so I joined them.

1:40     I don’t advise you to join them, because people are terrorized [by ISIS].

1:45     [Their actions create] humiliation and fear.

1:53     The Truth Behind the Islamic State

1:56     Sponsored by the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism

2:01     See more at

Anne Speckhard, Ph.D., is Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. She has interviewed over 600 terrorists, their family members and supporters in various parts of the world including in Western Europe, the Balkans, Central Asia, the Former Soviet Union and the Middle East. In the past two years, she and ICSVE staff have been collecting interviews (n=78) with ISIS defectors, returnees and prisoners, studying their trajectories into and out of terrorism, their experiences inside ISIS, as well as developing the Breaking the ISIS Brand Counter Narrative Project materials from these interviews. She has also been training key stakeholders in law enforcement, intelligence, educators, and other countering violent extremism professionals on the use of counter-narrative messaging materials produced by ICSVE both locally and internationally as well as studying the use of children as violent actors by groups such as ISIS and consulting on how to rehabilitate them. In 2007, she was responsible for designing the psychological and Islamic challenge aspects of the Detainee Rehabilitation Program in Iraq to be applied to 20,000 + detainees and 800 juveniles. She is a sought after counterterrorism experts and has consulted to NATO, OSCE, foreign governments and to the U.S. Senate & House, Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, Health & Human Services, CIA and FBI and CNN, BBC, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, CTV, and in Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, London Times and many other publications. She regularly speaks and publishes on the topics of the psychology of radicalization and terrorism and is the author of several books, including Talking to Terrorists, Bride of ISIS, Undercover Jihadi and ISIS Defectors: Inside Stories of the Terrorist Caliphate. Her publications are found here: and on the ICSVE website

Follow @AnneSpeckhard

Back To Top