The arrest and recent conviction of Filiz Gelowicz in Germany once again illustrates the strong ties online jihadists have with actual jihadist groups.
Filiz Gelowicz, a member of the Ansar al-Mujahideen English Forum (AMEF), is the wife of German terror-cell leader Fritz Gelowicz, a convert to Islam who was convicted in March 2010 of supporting the Islamic Jihad Union and German mujahideen in Afghanistan and for plotting to attack American soldiers and citizens in Germany. Filiz Gelowicz was herself found guilty in Germany on March 9, 2011, of supporting a foreign terrorist network by collecting up to 2,900 euros for terrorist groups and publishing propaganda online recruiting for terrorist groups.
A member of the forum since November 2009, Filiz Gelowicz is one of several AMEF members arrested for plotting attacks, attempting to leave and engage in violent jihad, or furnishing material support to terrorist groups. Just in the previous year, other arrestd AMEF members include Americans Coleen LaRose (better known as Jihad Jane), Zachary Chesser (Abu Talha al-Amriki), and Emerson Begolly (Asadullah al-Shishani).
Registering to AMEF in 2009 with the username “fisebilillah,” Filiz Gelowicz acted as a link between forum members and German and Turkish jihadists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Actively posting until February 19, 2010, Gelowicz frequently provided English-languge translations of Turkish jihadist media, fundraised for the Islamic Jihad Union, and occasionally distributed messages from jihadists to their supporters in Europe. In addition to distributing media from the frontlines, Gelowicz engaged in discussions encouraging forum members to view violent jihad as a religious imperative and appeared to have developed personal ties to other forum members.
Reactions to the arrest and incarceration of Gelowicz illustrate the importance of online discussion forums by Western jihadists and their sympathizers in order to generate networks amongst themselves, as well as to provide support for jihadist groups operating in battlefields around the world.
AMEF members demonstrated close ties to Gelowicz, creating discussion threads in February and March 2011 encouraging the members to provide support for Filiz Gelowicz. One of these threads, created by a member appearing to have close ties to Gelowicz wrote about her membership on the forum by describing her as “a beloved ansar sister.” Discussions provided updates about her situation through members’ own contacts and by their translating messages posted on a German-language jihadist forum, Ahlu-Sunnah.com, where members claimed to know individuals in contact with her.
The attached report provides an introduction to Filiz Gelowicz's activity on the Ansar al-Mujahideen English jihadist forum and includes analysis and selected quotes from forum members expressing support for her plight.