- Jihadi 'matchmaker' revealed as Tooba Gondal, 22, of East London
- She encourages young girls to go to Syria to marry ISIS terrorists
- Gondal previously studied English at Goldsmiths College
- She has been in Raqqa since 2015 and is one of 60 UK women to flee there
PUBLISHED: 23:03 GMT, 2 July 2016 | UPDATED: 07:20 GMT, 3 July 2016
A Jihadi 'matchmaker' who grooms British girls for ISIS fighters in Syria can be revealed as Tooba Gondal, 22, pictured
Her poisonous outpourings on the internet glorify the murderous acts of Islamic State terrorists and are meant to lure young British Muslim women to travel to Syria as ‘Jihadi brides’.
And today The Mail on Sunday can unmask the evil ‘matchmaker’ known by the pseudonym Umm Muthanna Al Britaniyah.
She is a former London student whose real name is Tooba Gondal. She is 22 years old and her father is a successful businessman.
Her transformation, in a few years, from happy schoolgirl about to leave for college to IS cheerleader in a burka toting an AK-47 is stark.
These days, instead of furthering her education, her most cherished desire is to become a ‘martyr’ in a suicide bombing.
Through her prolific output on social media, she commands a powerful influence on her following of largely young girls as she ‘grooms’ them, urging them, as she has done, to travel to Syria and marry bloodthirsty IS killers.
In her online rants, she described Britain as ‘a filthy country’ and praised the Paris massacre last November, which left more than 130 dead, saying: ‘EXPLOSIONS AND SHOOTINGS… 80 dead. And all praise is due to Allah Almighty. #ParisUnderAttack.’
She added: ‘Wish I could have seen the hostages being slaughtered last night with my own eyes. Would have been just beautiful.’
In May last year, using the name Fatima, she encouraged a British teenager she met on social media to travel to Syria and join IS.
She then asked the teenage recruit to meet one of her own relatives – a 16-year-old girl – and bring her to Syria too.
The plan was to fly to Switzerland then Istanbul, and then travel by land to the Syrian border.
But it all fell apart because the teenager that Gondal thought she was grooming was actually an undercover reporter.
The newspaper alerted police, who arrested Gondal’s relative at home. She has since been dealt with by officers from Prevent, Scotland Yard’s deradicalisation unit.
Exactly how Gondal, from Walthamstow, East London, ended up promoting the barbarity of IS killers from their stronghold in Raqqa, Syria, is not clear, but this is not a story of a disenfranchised, no-hoper youth looking for a way out of desperate circumstances.
She is the eldest daughter of a successful London businessman and was, according to friends, in the top set for all subjects at her local secondary, Kelmscott School – though also something of a rebel.
A photograph of Gondal in her final-year yearbook in 2010 shows her wearing the hijab, or Islamic headscarf, to school.
But classmates recalled how she would remove her hijab on the way to school, to allow her long brown hair to hang free, then put it back on the way home.
One ex-classmate said: ‘She was a rebel. She did come to school with the headscarf, but she would then take it off. She also liked sneaking out of her house.’
The friend, who did not want to be identified, said Gondal even smoked at school and had secret boyfriends. She adored boy bands and their music – a far cry from the jihadi songs she would come to love.
The friend said she stayed in contact with Gondal by social media during their college years, but noticed a change about two years ago.
‘She started posting verses of the Koran on Twitter, and talking about religion. I just don’t know what brought it on,’ she said.
None of the former friends we spoke to had any clue as to why Gondal would go to Syria.
Gondal, pictured holding an AK-47 in Syria, encourages young girls to flee to Syria and marry ISIS killers
At some point in the five years since the photograph on the far right was taken – on a school mock interview day – Gondal went from being a typical feisty teenage girl with everything to live for to one who yearns for death, presumably taking as many victims as possible with her.
Last summer, soon after telling her Twitter followers that she had acquired a suicide-bomber’s vest, she tweeted: ‘I came here to die. I will not leave till I get what I came here for: shahadah [martyrdom].’
Her chilling radicalisation almost certainly took place largely online and, as she carries out IS’s bidding on social network sites, that is where Gondal, under her nom de guerre, hunts for new recruits.
Her tweets and photographs glamorise jihad in Syria, and encourage others to leave Britain and head for the self-declared caliphate.
She is one of about 60 British women and girls who have fled to Syria to join IS.
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After school, Gondal attended Hackney’s BSix sixth-form college, then won a place at the prestigious Goldsmiths College, part of the University of London, studying English.
An analysis of Gondal’s social media accounts and a blog reveals that in about November 2012 – apparently while she was a student at Goldsmiths College – she says she ‘reverted’ back to Islam.
There is some evidence that she may have been involved with Goldsmiths’ Islamic Society – known as ISOC – which has a reputation as a radical hotbed.
She tweeted in November 2014 about ISOC’s part in a college charity fund-raising effort, and described it as ‘My Uni!’
Last year, security guards had to intervene when members of Goldsmiths’ ISOC disrupted a lecture by outspoken Iranian human rights campaigner Maryam Namazie about blasphemy.
‘Brothers’ of the Islamic Society started coming in and out of the auditorium, talking over her and repeatedly banging a door. One turned off the projector that she was using.
She has been living in the ISIS-controlled city of Raqqa, pictured, since early 2015
When The Mail on Sunday asked the student group about Gondal, a spokesman denied any knowledge of her, saying: ‘I have never heard the name, nor have any idea who this individual may be.’
Gondal has been living in Raqqa since arriving in the war-torn country in January 2015.
The Mail on Sunday has been tracking her on social media for more than 18 months, as she became one of the most visible British female ‘ambassadors’ for the terror group, frequently posting messages and pictures from Syria.
She began tweeting using the handle @Umm_muthanna, which literally means Mother of Muthanna.
Although she did not reveal her real identity on Twitter, throughout last year Gondal inadvertently left clues about herself, telling her thousands of followers – including many young British girls – that she was a 21-year-old of Pakistani origin from East London.
By comparing URLs (web addresses) and checking details referred to in her social media posts, Mail on Sunday investigators were able to establish Gondal’s name, and discovered that only one woman of that name lived in London.
She dropped one big clue to her identity as she glorified the Paris killings. ‘Burn Paris burn. Can’t believe that is my birth place,’ she cheered, adding: ‘LOL HOW SCARED ARE THESE KUFFAR. [non-Muslims].’
Friends we have spoken to in London confirmed that Gondal’s family moved to the UK from France when she was young.
As Gondal was making her secret plans to leave for Syria, she and her family were living in a palatial six-bedroom house in Wanstead, a leafy suburb on the outskirts of East London.
Their white-gated house had a large driveway and a swimming pool in the back garden.
Gondal’s school friends recalled her being ‘rich’, as her father owned a number of shops in London, one of which was a halal meat shop.
At the time Gondal left for Syria, her family moved out from their Wanstead house to a more modest detached property in nearby Walthamstow.
The properties are together worth about £1.5million and are owned by Gondal’s father, Mohamed, according to Land Registry documents.
It seems that Gondal did not miss her home comforts after arriving in Syria.
A month after getting there she tweeted how she slipped into Syria under the noses of British authorities, writing: ‘Hey UK security, how do you feel that your citizen left your filthy country whilst listening to Salil as-Sawarim [a jihadi song] on the plane? Pathetic.’
In March, Gondal tweeted a picture of herself in full burka brandishing an AK-47, tweeting: ‘Living the life.’ She posted another photo in front of a white car, while holding on to her AK-47.
Gondal has a strong presence on social media from Syria, pictured, and often posts inflammatory messages about the UK, taunting security forces for not catching her
She wrote later: ‘Never got my license in Britain, failed it many times haha but here I drive this. You jealous women of Saudi? [where women are banned from driving].’
Our investigation reveals that Gondal was married to an infamous jihadi of Lebanese origin, called Abu Abbas Al-Lubnani, who himself tried to recruit jihadi brides from the UK.
Just days before Gondal fled to Syria, Al-Lubnani was exposed by a British national newspaper for trying to recruit two teenage girls from London to go to Syria.
He had arranged for a UK-based man and woman, who appeared to be married, to meet the two would-be teenage jihadi brides at a spot in East London, so that the couple could give the two girls cash sent from Syria to pay for their travel to IS territory.
But the two teenagers he was communicating with on social media were journalists, and the couriers were exposed in a newspaper. Neither has been arrested by police.
Al Lubnani may have groomed Gondal online to join him in Syria. For a while, she seemed to adopt the role of homemaker and housewife, saying how much she enjoyed making shami kebabs for her husband.
Gondal tweeted: ‘What more could you want than to be able to raise the next generation of lions in Islamic State who will go on to spread Islam.’
Al Lubnani was killed in August while fighting in Hasakah, a formerly IS-controlled town at the Syrian-Iraqi border.
After his death, Gondal tweeted: ‘My husband Abu Abbas Al-Lubnani… got shahadah [martyrdom] in #Hasakah.’
Last week, Gondal’s father, Mohamed Bashir Gondal, confirmed that his daughter had gone to Syria.
Mr Gondal, 56, a devout Muslim, also confirmed that his daughter was still living in the Syrian-part of IS’s self-declared caliphate, despite most British jihadis moving to Mosul, the group’s capital in Iraq, for safety.
When asked how his daughter ended up in Syria, Mr Gondal indicated he would have stopped her if he had known her plans.
In broken English, he said: ‘I don’t know, if I know, she no go. If I know, she’s no go.’ He refused to answer any more questions, saying his daughter was safe in Syria.
But she now seems ready to welcome death. ‘My sins terrify me,’ she tweeted, adding later: ‘Everyone around me is getting shahadah. Ya rabb [Oh, Lord]! When will it be my turn? When will I unite with my husband.’
Given the fierce fighting raging in Syria, she may not have long to wait. The question is how many more young British women will follow her?
The Metropolitan Police, Kelmscott School and BSix College declined to comment.
A spokesman for Goldsmiths, University of London said: ‘We fully comply with our legal obligations under the Government’s Prevent Strategy.’
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