The man who recently was declared father of a girl by the Gothenburg District Court was part of the brutal circle around ”Jihadi John” and the first British jihadist who died in Syria. The Gothenburg-based mother of the child is known as the weapon-obsessed Swedish ISIS woman ”Umm Fidah”
The paternity case, which appeared before the Gothenburg District Court in December 2020, gives us insights about the ISIS caliphate but also of how returning ISIS women are treated by Swedish bureaucracy. The center of the story is a child whose needs the court however did not have to consider.
The case was formally about a changed paternity for a girl who is said to have been born in the Syrian city of Aleppo in September 2013. The child’s mother, known in jihadist circles as Umm Fidah, was one of three siblings who left Gothenburg and went to Syria. She returned to Sweden in the spring of 2017.
Her brother Hassan Al-Mandlawi serves a life sentence in Sweden for terrorist crimes; Swedish investigators accidentally found an execution film of him and his accomplice during a house search in a drug and extortion case.
Her younger sister died in her apartment in Gothenburg in 2017. She had returned from Syria with her daughter, injured by flying shrapnel. Her three-year-old son died in Syria when a hand grenade he used as a toy detonated.
In a special report by Swedish Kalla Fakta ”Swedish Umm Fidah started a female ISIS brigade”, the image appears of a weapon-obsessed woman showing a particular rawness in her propaganda and being active in the recruitment of Swedish women to Syria.
In one Facebook post Umm Fidah shared a photo where she stands opposite to a head pointed on a fence. On the ground below lie beheaded bodies. She commented on the picture in English: “What? Are you talking to me? Oops you have no head ”This is what we do with Bashar’s soldiers.”
In another post she wrote: ”Can we not start a brigade for just sisters and fight the pigs and pray for martyrdom?”
The paternity case
According to the district court ruling, Umm Fidah married a man in Nepal in 2010, but after a month or so she returned to Sweden without her husband. The marriage was registered in Sweden but already the same year the spouses divorced pursuant to Muslim custom.
In the winter of 2012, Umm Fidah went to Syria and married the British-Pakistani jihadist Ibrahim Almazwagi.
He has been described in British media as the first known British jihadist to die in Syria, but also as a part of the brutal circle around Jihadi John.
In a special report by British Channel 4 on international jihadism in Syria, Almazwagi is interviewed in connection with his group training shooting and attacking exercises. The film also shows how Almazwagi purchases a sheep for the upcoming wedding party with Umm Fidah and scenes from parts of the wedding where the groom and other jihadist men celebrate.
In the report Almazwagi talks about the coming marriage: “I would rather fight in the way of Allah than be with my wife. I have unlimited time to spend with my wife when I die. ”
Ibrahim Almazwagi graduated from the University of Hertfordshire. But he had also taken part in fighting for al-Qaeda in Libya before joining a terrorist group in Syria.
On August 2, 2012, Almazwagi posted a last photo on his instagram. It is a picture from inside an airplane cabin with the comment – ”Bye”.
A classified court document that Doku finally had access to discloses that Umm Fidah travelled to Syria on December 12, 2012. She met Ibrahim Almazwagi through her, now life-sentenced, brother Hassan Al-Mandlawi on December 15. One week later, on December 22, they married. Wedding witnesses at the ceremony were her brother and two from Almazwagi’s side. Umm Fidah says that they then lived together in a house where they shared a kitchen and bathroom with two other couples.
The marriage was short since Ibrahim Almazwagi passed away not even wo months later on February 12, 2013 following a shot through one of his eyes. Umm Fidah states that she received the death notice from her brother Hassan Al-Mandlawi and that she saw a photo of her dead husband.
Umm Fidah was pregnant when her husband died and the court file discloses that the child was born during a home birth in Aleppo in September 2013.
Her account of what she did next is far from clear and coherent. She only discloses that after her time in Syria she stayed in Turkey for a period before her return to Sweden, which Took place on March 1, 2017.
After her return to Gothenburg, the Swedish Tax Agency rejected her application for registration of the daughter’s birth in the national database. The motherhood was instead confirmed with the support of DNA in a ruling by the Gothenburg District Court in May 2018.
In 2013 Umm Fidah was still registered as married to the Nepalese husband and therefore he was presumed to be the father of the child.
As part of the paternity investigation for the current court ruling, the mother of the fallen British jihadist participated by providing samples for DNA analysis. The results show that she is 98.96% likely to be the grandmother of the child.
The Nepalese husband as well as the deceased Almazwagi were represented in the court by trustees. Both trustees opposed to the claim of paternity on the ground that they had had no contact with their clients.
It is not clear from the documents why Umm Fidah only now, several years following the return to Sweden, requested a change of paternity. It is clear, however, that since the new father is dead there is a right to social security in terms of survivors benefits. If a deceased parent never worked in Sweden, there is a right to basic protection equal to SEK 1,587 per month. The child’s survivors benefits are paid to the parent.
After her return to Gothenburg Umm Fidah changed her name and she has been granted protected personal data by the Swedish Tax Agency.
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