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Italian jihadist defends 'perfect' Islamic State

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Maria Giulia Sergio, the 28-year-old Italian who joined Isis last year. Screengrab: Corriere della Sera
12:39 CEST+02:00
In a chilling interview over Skype, a 28-year-old Italian woman who joined the ranks of Isis last year told Corriere della Sera that the Islamic State is a "perfect country" and when the group beheads people, it is simply obeying Sharia Law.

Maria Giulia Sergio, who changed her name to Fatima Az Zahara after converting to Islam, left for Syria with her Albanian husband, Aldo Kobuzi, just days after marrying him last September.

Kobuzi was immediately dispatched to an Isis training camp while Sergio was given weapons training.

The story came to light again last week after her parents and sister, also Muslim converts, as well as five members of Kobuz's family, were arrested as part of Italy’s anti-terrorism sweep.

In the recording below, Sergio begins by asking after her family, adding that she had tried to persuade her parents to join the Islamic State, because “they could have a good life here”.

A bad connection meant reporters at Corriere were unable to see Sergio’s face, but they recognized her voice thanks to wiretaps captured by Digos, Italy’s anti-terror police squad, during its investigation.

Sergio, who sent messages to friends celebrating the deadly January attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo continues by justifying the brutal killings carried out by the extremist group.

“When we behead someone, we’re obeying Sharia Law,” she said.

A former student at the University of Milan, she described the Islamic State - where women have been raped and forced into sexual slavery - as the “perfect country", where people respect human rights.

“Those who [go against human rights] are those who do not follow Allah’s rules.”

She denounced the arrests last Wednesday, saying the police operation was “a failure, because it’s useless. It’s illogical and unreasonable that the Italian police decided to arrest these people.”

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She claimed any conversations she had with her family since joining Isis did not involve inciting terrorism.

“We talked about how my parents could have a good life, here in the Islamic State.”

The persuasion worked, with her family selling their furniture and requesting passports before their arrest for “organizing a journey for terrorist ends” – a recently introduced offence which was applied for the first time in this case.

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