The identity of a mysterious “Islamic State matchmaker” known only by her online pseudonym Umm Muthanna Al Britaniyah has finally been revealed.
According to DailyMail, the aggressive social media persona who glorifies terrorist acts on the internet to attract young British Muslim women and turn them into ‘Jihadi brides’ in Syria, was actually an A-grade student and a daughter of a rich U.K. businessman.
After 18 months of monitoring her online activity and conducting interviews with friends and family, Mail on Sunday investigators were able to track and find clues about her identity.
Her name is Tooba Gondal, a 22-year-old former London student who has embraced her recently found calling to be one of the online faces of the IS, influencing other young girls to travel to Syria and marry terrorists.
The team compared URLs (web addresses) and reviewed details in her every social media post, to identify and establish Gondal’s name. In many of her posts, she inadvertently gave hints about herself, leading the investigative team to establish that she was of Pakistani origin from East London.
Hailing from Walthamstow, East London, Gondal is known to be a smart student with a hint of a rebellious attitude during her secondary education in Kelmscott School, according to friends.
Gondal reportedly attended Hackney’s BSix sixth-form college, then got accepted at the prestigious Goldsmiths College, at the University of London to study English.
It is believed that it was during this period when she reverted back to Islam, as she may have been, at the time, involved with Goldsmiths’ Islamic Society (ISOC), a known radical hotbed.
As a young intelligent woman with a bright future ahead of her, her transformation into a stout supporter of terrorism is still a puzzle for many of her friends and relatives.
Gondal and her family were living in a six-bedroom, white-gated mansion in Wanstead, East London while she was planning her trip to Syria. Their huge house even had a swimming pool in the back garden.
Since January 2015, Gondal has been living in Raqqa, a Syrian city located on the north bank of the Euphrates River. She now wears a burka, carries an AK-47 and dreams of one day becoming a martyr herself by giving her own life up in a suicide bombing.
She reportedly married the infamous Abu Abbas Al-Lubnani, a jihadi of Lebanese origin. It is speculated that it was Al Lubnani himself who may have convinced Gondal online to join him in Syria.
In one of her tweets, Gondal said, “What more could you want than to be able to raise the next generation of lions in Islamic State who will go on to spread Islam.”
Al Lubnani died last year while fighting in Hasakah. Gondal tweeted, “My husband Abu Abbas Al-Lubnani… got shahadah [martyrdom] in #Hasakah.”
Among her blood-curdling rants on social media is a post cheering the horrific Paris massacre last November, saying, “EXPLOSIONS AND SHOOTINGS… 80 dead. And all praise is due to Allah Almighty. #ParisUnderAttack.”
“Wish I could have seen the hostages being slaughtered last night with my own eyes. Would have been just beautiful,” she added.
Last year, one of her “bride-recruitment” attempts was foiled after a reporter went undercover and posed as a potential bride
The journalist reportedly was encouraged by Gondal to travel to Syria, join IS and become a Jihadhist’s bride. She was also asked to meet a 16-year-old relative of Gondal, to also bring to Syria as another recruit.
She was supposed to fly to Switzerland and then to Istanbul, where the two would be traveling by land to the Syrian border. The reporter however, notified authorities and picked up Gondal’s relative at her home. She was later placed under the care of Prevent, Scotland Yard’s deradicalisation unit.
Interviews with her family and friends revealed that all of them are still uncertain why Gondal would abandon her London life to go to Syria.
A friend who remained as Gondal’s social media contact during their college years noticed a radical change two years ago.
“She started posting verses of the Koran on Twitter, and talking about religion. I just don’t know what brought it on,” she said.
Most of her social media posts glorify jihadist actions to invite others, as she did, to leave Britain and head to Syria. So far, there have been 60 British females, including Gondal, who have moved to Syria to join IS.
A tweet from last year announced a “milestone” in her life, saying she already had acquired a suicide-bomber’s vest, “I came here to die. I will not leave till I get what I came here for: shahadah [martyrdom].”
While Gondal’s father, 56-year-old Mohamed Bashir Gondal, believes his daughter is safe in Syria, he said he still would have stopped her if he had known about her plans earlier. “I don’t know, if I know, she no go. If I know, she’s no go,” he told Daily Mail.
Now the most vocal British female ‘ambassador’ for IS is seemed ready to fulfill her dream: “Everyone around me is getting shahadah. Ya rabb [Oh, Lord]! When will it be my turn? When will I unite with my husband.”