Why Is Denver An ISIS Recruiting Hot Spot? Well, It's Not

Three Colorado teens were allegedly stopped on their way to join ISIS, much like another Colorado woman arrested this summer. Why Colorado, though?

Why Is Denver An ISIS Recruiting Hot Spot? Well, It's Not
Dag Peak / CC BY 2.0

When the news broke that three teenage girls from Denver were stopped in Germany, possibly on their way to join ISIS, they were described as:

PAMELA BROWN FOR CNN: "The latest American teenagers drawn in by the radical world of Islam extremism."

That's right, the latest — because just a few months ago ...

ERIC SHAWN FOR FOX NEWS: "The FBI agents in Denver have arrested a woman — her name is Shannon Maureen Conley. They have accused her of helping an insurgent she met online."

So is the Mile-High City just the American nexus of teenage would-be jihadis? Not exactly. (Video via Denver Convention & Visitors Bureau)    

In the case of Conley, who has pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to provide support for a terrorist organization, she was driven to try to join ISIS through the Internet — specifically falling in love with an ISIS fighter on social media. 

Now there are suspicions that the three girls, two sisters and a friend, were also influenced by ISIS fighters over the Internet to steal some $2,000 from one of their mothers before running away. (Video via KMGH)  

And with ISIS extremely active on social media, these kind of stories are popping up across the globe, as The Guardian reports.

"France has the highest number of female jihadi recruits, with 63 in the region – about 25% of the total – and at least another 60 believed to be considering the move."

But there's a possible reason why so many teenagers, in particular, are being drawn in by the militant group. 

AKI PERITZ VIA CNN: "They're oftentimes searching for an identity because what the jihadis are actually pushing is a narrative. ... 'We're the only ones who're actually going to help you out — why don't you join the fight?'" 

The Denver Post reports the girls were home by Monday, in good condition, and when asked why they went to Germany responded only by saying "family."

It's still unclear whether the girls will face any charges for their actions or what those charges might be. The FBI was involved in bringing them back to Colorado from Germany.