A Colorado woman faces federal charges of trying to provide support to the international terrorist organization Islamic State, according to court documents unsealed this week.
Conley, 19, had converted to Islam and knew what she wanted to do with her life, officials said.
"Conley stated that she joined the
And on April 8, authorities arrested Conley, a certified nurse, as she walked down the jetway at Denver International Airport.
The Islamic State recently climbed into American consciousness after taking over large swaths of Iraq in an effort to establish a Sunni Muslim caliphate. Recently, it shortened its name from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to simply Islamic State after declaring a caliphate in both countries.
Conley isn't the only American who has been arrested on suspicion of trying to join the group. Last month, a 23-year-old Texas man pleaded guilty to charges of trying to join the organization after trying to board a flight in Houston.
"I hate those people," Conley said of the churchgoers after she was first interviewed by an Arvada police detective and a
When investigators asked about her beliefs, she spoke of the need for jihad to defend Muslim lands and referred to U.S. military bases as "targets," according to court documents. She said it would OK if innocent people like wives and children were killed in an attack on a military base, according to the documents.
That was the first of more than eight meetings Conley had with FBI agents over several months, in which she talked about how she had learned about Islam on the Internet and that humanitarian aid "was not an option" because it would not "solve the problem" of protecting Muslim lands, according to the documents.
The agents asked the parents whether they could persuade Conley to meet with elders at a mosque to discuss more moderate views, according to court records.
"Conley explained to her father she felt conflict with what she thought Islam required of her," according to court records. "Conley believed she, as a Muslim, needed to marry young and be confrontational in her support of Islam."
But Shannon Conley decided to fly to Turkey anyway to marry her suitor in Syria and to become a housewife and a camp nurse, defying her parents' pleas not to go, according to court records.
In March, in one of Conley's last meetings with the FBI agents, one of them warned her twice that traveling to wage jihad could result in her arrest, according to court records; she responded that "she would rather be in prison than do nothing."
Three months after her arrest at Denver International Airport, she was being held without bond in Denver County Jail, facing one federal count of trying to provide support to an international terrorist organization.
The charge carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. Conley's public defender could not be reached for comment after business hours Wednesday.