Family wants no contact with woman accused of terrorism

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — The family of a Kansas woman accused of joining the Islamic State group and leading an all-female battalion say they want nothing to do with her, a prosecutor said Monday.

Allison Ekren, 42, made a first appearance Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. The hearing lasted only a few minutes; she has been ordered to remain in jail pending a detention hearing scheduled for Thursday afternoon, and a lawyer has been appointed to represent her.

At the end of the hearing, however, First Assistant US Attorney Raj Parekh told the judge that he had been in contact with Ekren’s parents and adult children, and all of them said they didn’t want any contact with her.

Magistrate Judge Ivan Davis said he had little to stop him from reaching out to his family from jail, but told Ekren he would take that into account during the trial hearing. Thursday if she contacted her family against their wishes.

Ekren, speaking in a soft voice and wearing an inmate jumpsuit and headscarf, said she understood the restriction. She also told the judge, in response to his question, that she preferred to be called Ekren. The Justice Department used her full name, Allison Fluke-Ekren, when it announced charges against her on Saturday.

Prosecutors said Ekren wanted to recruit agents to attack a college campus in the United States and discussed the idea of ​​attacking a shopping mall. She told a witness that “she considered any attack that did not kill a large number of individuals a waste of resources,” according to an FBI affidavit.

The affidavit also alleges that Ekren became the leader of an Islamic State unit called “Khatiba Nusaybah” in the Syrian city of Raqqa in late 2016. The all-female unit was trained in the use of AK rifles. -47, grenades and suicide belts.

According to court documents, Ekren moved to Egypt in 2008 and traveled frequently between Egypt and the United States over the next three years. She hasn’t been to the United States since 2011. Prosecutors believe she moved to Syria around 2012.

Ekren’s newly appointed attorney, Joseph King, declined to comment after Monday’s hearing.

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