love of god | 

ISIS bride Lisa Smith vows she'll never give up Islam, saying 'I love my religion'

Lisa Smith also told the Sunday World she will "try and get a suspended sentence"
Lisa Smith. Photos: Sunday World

Lisa Smith. Photos: Sunday World

Patrick O'Connell

ISIS bride Lisa Smith has told the Sunday World she will "try and get a suspended sentence" following her conviction for membership of the murderous terror group Islamic State.

The 40-year-old also rejected calls made by former jihadist Tanya Joya - who travelled to Syria with Smith - that she "free herself from the psychological mental prison of Islam", saying: "That's not going to happen, no! I love my religion, it's what I live for now."

We approached the former Irish soldier for comment near her council home in Dundalk, Co. Louth, on Thursday - three days after she was found guilty of membership of Islamic State (IS).

Initially, the mum of one said she did not wish to comment as she "had received no justice from the newspapers", but added that she planned on "speaking out" once the legal proceedings against her are concluded.

"I'm not going to speak just yet because obviously I have to try and get a suspended sentence and then I'm going to try and appeal it.

"Then, after my appeal I'm going to make a big interview and I'm going to talk."

Asked if she accepted the verdict, Smith responded: "I don't want to give any information because the papers haven't given me any justice, you know?

"The newspapers haven't given me any justice, so I don't want to speak to anyone until it's all over.

"I'd prefer to just try and get on with my life."

Asked if she was hopeful she won't get a jail sentence, Smith responded: "For me, look, it's OK, it doesn't matter.

"My life is my life, my journey is my journey.

"It's my daughter, who is at home, I'm worried about. Do you know what I mean?

"She's the most important thing right now.

"Do you know what I mean?

"That's the most important thing to me.

"If I was on my own, then I wouldn't care about anything.

"It's more for my daughter … she needs me.

"I didn't have a child when I left this country and now I have a child."

Asked if she believes she got justice in the Special Criminal Court, Smith responded: "I'm not saying anything."

The Sunday World then asked Smith about a Facebook comment posted by trial witness and former jihadist Tanya Joya - who travelled to Syria with Smyth from Turkey.

In the post, Joya said she believed "Smith blindly followed every word my ex-Isis husband [John Georgelas] said".

"She sent him money and travelled back to Isis territory while under surveillance," she said.

Describing the Irish justice system as "quite puzzling", Joya continued: "The defence used Lisa's mythological beliefs of hell and prophecies of Muhammad to defend her choice to raise her child under a brutal death cult."

Joya continued: "I'll admit she [Smith] is even a lovely and loving person. It's Lisa's religious beliefs and values that are not so lovely.

"I pray my old friend Lisa-Marie Smith and [another party] attain freedom from the psychological mental prison of Islam. I hope this for them and all Muslims."

Informed of Joya's wish that she leave the Islamic faith, Smith laughed incredulously before responding: "She said that she hopes I leave it?

ISIS bridge Lisa Smith and the Sunday World's Patrick O'Connell

ISIS bridge Lisa Smith and the Sunday World's Patrick O'Connell

"That's not going to happen, no.

"I love my religion, it's what I live for now. It's all about the religion for me."

Asked about the prosecution claims that during her time with IS, she had enveloped herself in the black flag of the organisation and watched video of 'prisoners' being tortured and killed, Smith declined to comment further.

"If I say anything to you and then you go and put something in the paper … then the judge says 'you were talking to the papers, now you are going back into prison!'

"'Because you broke your bail' or something like that. And then you could publish something and that's me gone.

"And then my child's on her own and I'm in prison so there's no point.

"I will speak after everything is said and done and whoever wants to approach me then and talk to me, whatever."

Convicting Smith of membership of IS on Monday last, Mr Justice Hunt delivered a judgment that took 90 minutes to deliver.

In it, he rejected Smith's claims that she had gone to the Islamic State simply out of a sense of religious obligation and for the innocent purpose of living under Sharia law and raising a family in a Muslim state.

The judge noted that religion is "irrelevant to membership of Isis" as criminal activity cannot be justified by religious obligation.

He said that a person would not gain immunity for arson, assault or murder because he believed he had a religious obligation to persecute witches.

The court found Smith not guilty of a second charge of funding terrorism, saying that it is reasonably possible that she sent €800 to Isis fighter and propagandist John Georgelas in May 2015 for his personal use or for "humanitarian reasons", after he had been injured during fighting in Syria.

Former Irish soldier Lisa Smith who was found guilty of being a member of Islamic State.

Former Irish soldier Lisa Smith who was found guilty of being a member of Islamic State.

Mr Justice Hunt then went through the evidence relating to membership and said the prosecution had established beyond reasonable doubt that Smith travelled to Syria with her "eyes wide open" and pledged allegiance to the organisation led by terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

He rejected claims that she was naive or unaware of what Isis was doing, and said she "knew full well she was not simply adhering to life under Sharia law".

Smith, who had pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful terrorist group, Islamic State, denied that she went to join a terrorist organisation.

The prosecution alleged that by travelling in answer to a call by al-Baghdadi for all Muslims to come to Syria, Smith joined a terrorist organisation.

Mr Justice Hunt said the court accepted that Isis is a terrorist organisation that controlled parts of Syria and Iraq when Smith decided to travel to its territory in late 2015.

He said social media messages between Smith and various Isis hardliners, including Georgelas, supported the prosecution's assertion that she knew what Isis was doing and supported its aims.

Mr Justice Hunt extended her bail ahead of sentencing on July 11.


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