It’s not only young people with nothing to lose, who abandon home to join the Islamic State: an Australian woman has abandoned her children to travel to Syria and live under ISIS. She has become one of more than 100 Australians to do so.
Jasmina Milovanov, 26, is believed by friends to have been brainwashed by a female-jihadi website.
A Muslim convert from Western Sydney, Milovanov left two children behind with a babysitter – five and seven years old – and never came back. She had reportedly told her she left to pick up a new car. This was last month, according to Australian newspaper.
The news came in the form of a text message to her Turkish-Australian former husband on May 3, while he was in Turkey.
Milovanov texted to say she was now in Syria – or ‘Sham’, as the Arabic slang goes – and said the children were in safe hands, but that he needed to return to Australia.
The police were told the whole story several days later, after the children were taken by a relative of the ex-husband’s. The police, however, did not confirm the report about Milovanov’s disappearance.
“The only thing I can think about is my children. I can’t believe she left these two beautiful children. My son was saying in the days afterwards that he hoped ‘my mum is OK’,” the unnamed man told the Australian paper.
“Before she (went) I talked to her (about her extreme Facebook posts). I said this is extreme, stupid. I was warning her about who she hangs out with.”
He described his former wife as an impressionable woman and a dreamer prone to being impulsive. He says he does not want his ex-wife to “finish her life” this way. Although he believes everything to be her choice, he also believes “she must have met someone who influenced her.”
Milovanov, whose name had now become Assma Abdullah, later posted on Facebook about being “in the blessed land of sham.” She also wrote “please forgive me for everything” below. However, after being confronted about the decision by friends, she deleted the post.
Milovanov was discovered later to be Facebook friends with a former Melbourne woman who is a prominent jihadi bride recruiter – Zehra Duman. Milovanov, whose ‘new’ name is Assma Abdullah, supported Duman online, as the recently-widowed terrorist associate told people of her new life in Syria.
Like Milovanov, Duman is young, only 21 years of age. She also left her home, much to her family’s shock. Following her husband’s death she started her current life as a jihadi bride recruiter.
A former friend of Milovanov’s later told the Australian newspaper her impressionability had led her to believe the Islamic State was a just organization and that life in Syria saw everyone treated fairly and living a peaceful existence. She had reportedly fantasized about marrying a jihadi “lion.”
“She went on and on about marriage and finding a man but when men showed interest in her she would turn them down and say she’s waiting for her husband in Jannah (paradise),” her friend remembers. “She would think everything IS have done has been justified.”
Authorities are speculating on Milovanov’s reasons. She had had a tough childhood and converted to Islam in her late teens, after meeting her then-husband in New South Wales. The pair eventually married in 2006, but divorced several years later, after Milovanov didn’t think he was devout enough.
Milovanovhad allegedly expressed a wish for her husband to grow a beard and for them to move to Sydney’s Muslim community.
She did not have full-time employment, her last job being in a call center. She was also on government benefits as a single mother.
“I am very upset. I don’t even know what she’s done, we are still in shock all of us,” Milovanov’s mother told Channel 10. She did not think there were any warning signs.
“She never mentioned anything about it, she never talked about it. She was living, taking her kids to school I even saw her the week before and she was alright,” the mother said.