COLORADO Female Muslim convert arrested on her way to Syria to join ISIS and engage in violent jihad


Shannon Maureen Conley, 19, was arrested at Denver Airport trying to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, via Germany, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court and unsealed yesterday. From Turkey, federal prosecutors say she hoped to meet someone known as ‘YM’ who wanted to marry her and help her join ISIS terrorists in Syria.

AP  FBI agents tried more than once to discourage a 19-year-old suburban Denver woman who said she was intent on waging jihad in the Middle East before arresting her in April as she boarded a flight she hoped would ultimately get her to Syria, court documents unsealed Wednesday show.

Shannon Maureen Conley BEFORE
Shannon Maureen Conley BEFORE
Shannon Maureen Conley AFTER
Shannon Maureen Conley (Right) AFTER

Shannon Maureen Conley had told agents that she wanted to use her American military training from the U.S. Army Explorers to start a holy war overseas, even though she knew that it was illegal, according to the newly released federal court records. Her “legitimate targets of attack” included military facilities, government employees and public officials, the documents say.

Conley,  told arresting agents she planned to live with a suitor she met online, a Tunisian man who claimed to be fighting for an al-Qaeda splinter group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The militant group also known as ISIS has recently overrun parts of Iraq and Syria.


Conley has been charged with conspiring to help a foreign terrorist organization. Her federal public defender did not immediately return a call seeking comment. A nurse’s aide, Conley told investigators she planned to fly to Turkey and then travel to Syria to become a housewife and a nurse at the man’s camp, providing medical services and training.

FBI agents became aware of Conley’s growing interest in extremism in November after she started talking about terrorism with employees of a suburban Denver church who found her wandering around and taking notes on the layout of the campus. “Conley felt that Jihad is the only answer to correct the wrongs against the Muslim world.”

Her parents knew she had converted to Islam but were apparently unaware of her extremism, authorities said. Her father told an agent in March that Conley and her suitor had asked for his blessing to marry and were surprised when he declined.