The Boston Black Widow

Dawn Perlmutter Director and founder of Symbol & Ritual Intelligence and Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum is considered one of the leading subject matter experts (SME) in the areas of symbols, unfamiliar customs, ritualistic crimes and religious violence.


bwAnother member of the Chechen terrorist cell operating in Boston has eluded authorities. Heda Umarova, a 23 year old Boston student and longtime friend of Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is being sought by U.S. counterterrorism officials for posting disturbing jihadi imagery online. Similar to the Tsarnaev family, the Umarova Family were in the U.S. after seeking political asylum but still traveled back and forth to the country that they fled from. Although Heda and her brothers were under suspicion for their online support for the Tsarnaev brothers and Heda was the author of the #freejahar network, the family was permitted to travel to their native Chechnya just four months after the Boston bombings. Regardless of her round-trip ticket Heda failed to return to Massachusetts with her parents at the end of August. They claimed she stayed in Chechnya to get married to a “lovely” groom that Heda met during Ramadan services.

Heda Umarova’s Internet posts clearly demonstrate that her radicalization is complete and that she is ready for her final training in preparation for jihadist operations. Her posts include a photo-shopped image of a U.S. passport in a carry-on bag covered in the jihad black flag and photos of female jihadist soldiers. Her social media page also linked to the Kavkaz Center, which is affiliated with the designated terrorist group the Caucasus Emirate. Vilayat Dagestan, formerly known as Shariat Jamaat, is one of several Salafi jihadist groups under the umbrella of the Caucasus Emirate.  Vilayat Dagestan claimed responsibility for the twin suicide attacks in Volgograd in December 2013. Similar to Hezbollah and Hamas, the Caucasus Emirate and its affiliate groups have a huge media presence including on-line blogs, twitter, websites, Facebook, news, radio and television stations. There is even a division called Anonymous Caucasus also known as the Electronic Army of the Caucasus Emirate.

Chechen Islamists often utilize women as suicide bombers and refer to them as ‘Black Widows’. They are often the wives or daughters of Chechen militants killed by Russians. Black Widows were involved in several suicide attacks from 2000 to 2004 against Russian targets and became active again in 2010. Chechen women also participated in hostage operations, including the October 2002 seizure of a Moscow theater and the September 2004 seizure of a school in Beslan.  Since 2010 their operations have been backed by the Islamic Caucasus Emirate group, al Qaeda’s affiliate in the Caucasus. This may explain how Heda is supporting herself in Chechnya. Most of the women are from Dagestan, the epicenter of violence in the conflict between Islamists and Russian federal forces. However, Heda’s anger is directed at the United States for the death of Tamerlan and the imprisonment of Dzhokhar. This makes her more likely to target Americans.

Prior to going operational Black Widows have posted photos of themselves on social media, knowing they will be used in reports covering their bombings and in Islamist propaganda.  On March 29, 2010, two female Chechen suicide bombers killed 40 people and wounded more than 100 in Moscow’s subway system during rush hour. One of the bombers was 17 year old Dzhanet Abdurakhmanova, from the Khasavyurtsky region of Dagestan. She was the widow of Dagestani militant leader Umalat Magomedov, who was killed by federal troops the previous year. Dzhanet posted photos of herself wearing a black hijab and clutching a gun. She also posed with her husband brandishing weapons.

On October 21, 2013 a Dagestani woman named Naida Asiyalova detonated an explosive belt containing 500–600 grams of TNT inside a bus at a train station in Volgograd killing 7 civilians and injuring at least 36 others. This was one of three suicide attacks in the southern Russian city of Volgograd prior to the Sochi Winter Olympics. In 2010 Naida met Dmitry Sokolov on a Russian dating website, fell in love and converted him to radical Islam. Three years later Dmitry built and strapped on the explosive belt which blew up his wife and five others. A few weeks later he was killed in a standoff with police. This is the jihadist version of Romeo and Juliet. Young men and women romanticize the Islamist cause and their heroic role in it. Al Qaeda propaganda glorifies their martyrdom which further inspires them to kill and die in the global jihad.  It appears that Heda Umarova has succumbed to the same jihadist love story. There should be no doubt that Heda is training in Chechnya for terrorist operations.  If she succeeds she will be the first American Black Widow.

Dawn Perlmutter Director of Symbol & Ritual Intelligence and Shillman/Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum is considered one of the leading subject matter experts (SME) in the areas of symbols, unfamiliar customs, ritual murder and religious violence.

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  • Bamaguje

    America and the West have no business providing asylum to Muslims fleeing Jihadist insurgencies. Muslims fleeing Islamist conflicts should seek refuge in other Muslim countries, rather than bring their obnoxious Islamist baggage to the West.

    There is no good reason why oil rich Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab countries cannot provide asylum to Muslims fleeing Islamic conflicts.
    After all Saudi Arabia originated the devilish cult causing the problems, and they promote their intolerant Wahabi dogma worldwide fueling Islamist insurgencies.

    Saudi Arabia funds and arms Sunni Jihadis in Syria, but hardly accepts refugees from Syria. Instead its the West that takes in Syrian refugees.

    The fact that Tsarnaev family and Black widow Heda Umarov often travelled to Dagestan/Chechnya from which they allegedly fled persecution, suggest their asylum application was bogus. Consequently, their political asylum ought to have been revoked.

  • hellosnackbar

    What amazes me is that Muslim women don’t seem to have any glory in imaginary Allah’s celestial bordello!

    • Bamaguje

      No virile hunks and studs for them in Islam’s afterlife brothel paradise.

  • Tradecraft46

    Bring on the drones….

  • Pig snot

    Americans need to realize the threat that is Islam. The goal of Islam is to take over the world, by force if necessary. Islam is intolerant, degrades women, gays and any other religion. Yet Islamists demand respect where they refuse to give it. Moderate Muslims? Bullshit. When have you heard mosques here denounce terror attacks on Christians or Jews.
    Islam is a disease. It must meet the fate of all diseases.

    • Laurie Lauren

      “The goal of Islam is to take over the world, by force if necessary.”

      Substitute “advocates of the New World Order” ( who come in all ethnicities and religions, by the way) for “Islam” in that sentence, and it you’ll be onto something.

      Speaking of diseases, you seem to be suffering from the disease of ignorance, for which I suggest you seek immediate help.

    • Seneca Wolf

      You know that even Chistianity is not exactly open minded to homosexuality and the fact that our society is increasing in acceptance has more to do with industrialization than religion? Muslim countries also happen to be less developed countries but their views and lifestyles have more to do with that than with religion itself. Especially considering Muslims believe the SAME GOD as Christians do. Most of what they believe is also in the bible!
      As an industrialized, developed country like the USA the people who live there should be less ignorant, more accepting and understanding of people from all walks of life. It is extremely sad to see people from US speaking with such hate :(

  • Jake-a-runi

    Similar to the Tsarnaev family, the Umarova Family were in the U.S. after seeking political asylum but still traveled back and forth to the country that they fled from.

    How is a claim for asylum honored when the claimant is free to safely visit, and then exit, the persecuting polity?
    How can a professional writer end a sentence with a preposition?

    • Mia003

      Their not they are probably on watch list here and in Russia because they had a hard time getting into Russia and even harder time coming back. They just need to stay there and hopefully Russia will watch them good like they did one of the terrorist when he was there trying to join radical militant group.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    Muslims seeking asylum from being persecuted by fellow Muslims?

    Jihadis are using Asylum as a Trojan Horse to infiltrate the West.

    I add that anyone who “Liked”, “Friended” the tsaranev brothers Facebook pages MUST be investigated – because the “likers” have the same hateful worldview as the tsaranev pigs.

    • Laurie Lauren

      “anyone who “Liked”, “Friended” the tsaranev brothers Facebook pages MUST be investigated -”

      For someone with the name “screw socialism” you sure do seem to love Big Brother. What a joke. As for the rest of your comments–if you truly are that ignorant and full of blind hate–I feel sorry for you.

      • Seneca Wolf

        People joined those groups because they don’t feel there is enough evidence in this case to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he’s guilty. Not because they think he’s a terrorist and support him. NO. People, like Heda herself, believe Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is innocent!

  • UCSPanther

    One mistake people constantly make is to underestimate women, and female terrorists know this very well and use it to their advantage.

  • Drakken

    There is no saving these jihadist, they must be dealt with in the same manner as their male counterparts, the idiots in charge of Homeland Follies would do well enough to tell their Russian counterparts the FSB and let them deal with them, at least they would never come back to the West do us harm. My mistake, the US wants to treat Islamic jihad as a law enforcement problem with judicial garbage instead of dealing with them as a military problem with a military solution.

  • Truth

    America needs to do to the Ilsmaists what we did to the Japanese during WW2 in America. But after we round them up, they need to be sent back to where they came from and permanently banned from the US. Islam is incompatible with Western society. We don’t need that disease here.

  • SoCalMike

    I can’t wait to see the phony investigation when she comes back here and mass murders innocents. Congress will pose and express their undying compassion for all things. Homeland bureaucrats will tell us the “system didn’t ping…”
    And news pundits will strain mightily pretending to want answers” condemning “extremism in all forms.”

  • Elayna

    Um – nothing in this trashy article is true – nothing – this author is not a reporter. A reporter does their homework. I am not a terrorist or a Muslim or a Chechen but I know Heda personally and there is not a radicalized thing about her. She does not support terror but rather believes that the Tsarnaev brothers are innocent just as I believe she is innocent because she knew them as I know her. She believes this because FACTS point to their innocence. Actual hard cold facts. Trial will tell if they are innocent, I trust, but as of now she has not been accused of a crime and so far as I know she has fully cooperated with the FBI while in America and now that she is not in America they have no control over her life to be bothering her – she is not bothering them or you or our country. Leave her alone. She is a kid. She is not a terrorist – there is no terrorist cell in Boston. You have no proof of radicalization what you have is a complete misunderstanding of the realities of being a Chechen Muslim – it is not synonymous with terrorism simply because it is not American. That’s bigotry against a religion and a nationality. She is guilty of being Chechen and Muslim – she is not guilty of radicalization or terrorism. If you did your homework you would know this. Our media is shameful.

    • Bella

      Bullshit you are muslim I know you from FB

      • Elayna

        Then you’d know I’m not Muslim :) and you wouldn’t be using a fake name

    • Mia003

      Oh god here we go again! Get a life. What the heck is wrong with you and all these little followers that follow you and these terrorist around like puppy dogs. No. I’m sure to puppies they are kind and sweet you are evil horrible person that support murderers and terrorist. You support murdering and maiming of these innocent people and poor children. You are either saying stupid BS or making excuses for them. You are in a group with some of the most trashy evil people I have ever seen. You are really shameless aren’t you? You must be a loser and real life and needed some terrorist friends. What some losers will do just for some evil friends. It say a lot about you the people you choose to be friends with and stand up for. Just know god knows all and see all and you are a deplorable human to do what you are doing and stand up for terrorist and murderers. Shame on you

  • Elayna

    Americans do not understand Islam – point blank you people hating on Islam don’t understand it and I can forgive that because I didn’t either – I didn’t understand it because I didn’t know any Muslims I only knew what our media tells us which is propagandist fear mongering bullshit – are there violent people in Islam – yes – are there violent people in Christianity yes. Are there violent people in Israel? Yes – there are violent people everywhere – that does not make the religion characteristic of violence – there is a gross and pervasive misunderstanding of jihad and terror and what Muslims want – Muslims do not hate Americans. Muslims hate being trashed in American media and are disappointed that America isn’t challenging their media as I am doing here. The average American Muslim has given up standing up against it and they stay quiet not because they hate you but they know you don’t understand them and they are tired of fighting all of this. I am not Islamic because my beliefs are different from it but it is not a religion of hatred and terror. Jihad to a real Muslim does not mean killing people or terror. It means not being forced to worship anything but God and standing up for your right to only worship him – not to kill people. Thats what it means to a real Muslim. Are there violent verses in the Quran probably. Are there violent verses in the Torah probably. regardless – you can’t take them out of context and paint the whole religion with that stroke – sometimes you need to understand that you don’t get something and you people – don’t get Islam – The news doesn’t get Islam. I don’t believe Islam but I get it. And you are all looking very foolish to Islamics who know that this is not what they believe. There are millions of Muslims – how many terrorists are there? How many have bullied you lately? I’m guessing zero. So before you call them all terrorists consider that your community is probably full of them and not of terror activity and maybe rethink your statements. And for all the ratings – those millions of people will happily ignore articles like this because they know they will be misrepresented in them – but they are part of your audience – maybe getting to know them and trying to get what you don’t naturally understand is a better bet than writing from hearsay and propagandist sentiment.

    • Mia003

      Look you crazy he said nothing about Islam just what she is doing. smh.
      You are one crazy fool. Maybe Islam is not messed up but people like her
      and terrorist that call themselves Muslims give Islam a bad name. If
      more Muslim would speak out of the radical extremist jihad ones and
      condemn there actions that would make people think different and that
      they are trying to make a change. You don’t think I know who you are?
      You are one of the terrorist murder supporters yourself you and your
      little group coming on every article defending these people and support
      people that murder and maim. You are no better than them and you will go to helll with the evil terrorist you so love to support and go on and on about. Why waste your time supporting evil people who just bring destruction, murder and pain to people? Why not support good people and young kids doing good things and put the spotlight on them. All I know is god sees everything is this is not right. You support evil and agree with it even encourage it and make excuses for it

    • Mia003

      I feel sorry for the good Muslim who don’t support these evil terrorist and murderers.You and your terrorist supporter friends give Muslims a bad name. You know it’s not just other countries that are tried of Muslim radical extermist but actually the good Muslim in Muslim countries are tired of it to and them saying they are Muslim then killing and maiming innocent people.

  • Elizuchka

    When I read the comments I feel like this must be excatly the type of comments people used to write about jews before WW2. We know where that took the wold!!. Peace to all and respect to all religions. let go of the hate my friends.

    • Elayna

      EXACTLY – I feel like we’ve learned nothing what so ever – its propaganda and its dangerous and I speak out against it as often as possible – stop demonizing people groups you know nothing about. If you have a chip on your shoulder don’t be a journalist and don’t call yourself an expert – those things require objectivity and you don’t have it pumpkin.

      • Mia003

        Like you demonize Americans and say those innocent people and children
        deserved to be killed? He just reported the facts if she looks like a
        demon that’s on her own doing and you all look like demons yourself so
        you need look in the mirror. The US has every right to suspect her and
        investigate after all this terrorist support and so does this man.
        Anyone with a brain can see she support terrorism because she supports
        these two terrorist and terrorist groups. This is what she is interested
        the most and what she is doing you just go ahead and keep standing for
        your terrorist supporters like yourself. I hope they are watching you
        and everyone on that evil terrorist murder support page. To the FBI if
        you are watching this please investigate this person and all her online
        fake terrorist friend because they have shown extreme interest and support of these terrorist and defend them like it’s there day job and with their life.

        • Elayna

          Mia feel free to show where I have ever said anyone deserved to be klled – ohhh yeah thats right I never made any such statement – and I am American – I don’t know where you are getting this from its not from me. Or anyone I know. Heda is not being investigated. She’s being bullied. She was questioned and she cooperated. I am sure they are watching me and they can watch all they want – I have never once broken a law in anything I said or thought or did in this effort. I hope they are watching and I hope it motivates them to provide even the tiniest link between these people and the events that occurred – its all we want. I am not a terrorist supporter – yet again – I support people who are being bullied wrongfully and without proof. And yes we defend them – that is not a crime.

    • Mia003

      He is talking about terrorist in dagastan not all Muslim just the ones that are like that. Can he not say the truth about her because she is Muslim? Can he not talk about the terrorist network? Funny thing is I see people saying racist stuff about Jews all the time even Americans and no one stands up for them but then you cry racism when there isn’t any. Just because someone reports something does not make them racist that’s like black people crying racism if someone reports on there bad deeds. I’m glad he is reporting this and in detail because I’m truly concerned. Here is a person that think it’s ok to murder innocent people and children and shows support for terrorist groups, you are a fool if you don’t think that’s wrong and if you think they should be suspicious of someone that shows such strong public support of murderers and terrorist that did this.

      • Elayna

        We are not saying its okay to murder people we are saying they didn’t murder people. I assume you are intelligent enough to have noted that vast difference but prefer your strawman arguments so much that you just can’t stop saying it. I am only saying this for the people who are not familiar with your problems. I am and they bore me.

  • Elayna

    I’m also very unimpressed that an “expert” wouldn’t be correcting the rest of the media by telling them that the flag in question is the black flag of Tawheed which is a symbol of Muslim unity in faith – not a Jihadist flag and not a terrorist flag – as if terrorist announce themselves with flags. The very idea is ridiculous. And the women she posted were CHECHEN fighters… that had to do with Chechnya which you clearly also know little about as it is in a constant state of war yet you fail to mention both sides – such as that in 1944 Stalin moved all of the Chechen people deporting them and killing off 30% of their people – but if they attack Russia – you mention it…maybe we should stick to what we know…

    • Elayna

      Also unimpressed that an “expert” feels the need to speculate and report their own speculations and massively inaccurate assumptions as news – they are not – Heda is not training for anything but to stay out of America which treated her – the very same way you are currently treating her – She was a young girl happy to be here in this country and grateful and hard working – she now wants little to nothing to do with it thanks to our media in large part – good job.

      • Mia003

        If there are signs they have to investigate. What if they just ignored her supporting terrorist and murderers then she blew people up or killed people and children? Then what would you say? Oh they should have investigated. She was much safer here than there with terrorist but she wanted to join them because as we all knew she supports them. I hope her whole family leaves and anyone that supports terrorist. Putin and Kadyrov don’t mess around with terrorist or handle them with kid gloves I’m sure they would be watched much more close there so they all should leave. Bye Bye. Have fun with your little terrorist friends and that lifestyle. Don’t come crying back either with your family, you will probably be dead in no time and your family but you can defend them when they kill or abuse your child because that’s what you do.

    • Mia003

      Funny terrorist can use the flag as a Jihadist flag and do. So now you support the murder and maiming of innocent children? Would you make excuses for them if they murdered you and your children or blew your legs off? Do you make excuses for all murderer or just Muslim ones? Do you also make excuses for rapist and pedophiles too? If you know anything about Chechnya today you would know it’s a lot better because the current president of Chechnya is working with the president of Russia and they are not Chechen fighters they are terrorist just call them what they are the president of Chechnya does and they are working together and have made it a lot better now the terrorist have run to Dagestan. These terrorist did not even grow up there and didn’t even see the war! They grew up here using our government for decades couldn’t even get it together or do anything with their lives even though they had everything handed to them then they took it out on us. The president of Chechyan said these Chechen terrorist that murdered innocent people and children here are the “worst kind of devils and he will never say a word in there support” unlike you talking like a terrorist, I’m sure the terrorist and murderers love you. Even some the Imans her and people that teach at Boston Mosques said they are evil and their is no saving them because they murder innocent people. I’m sorry but it’s not ok to purposely kill. murderer or maim innocent people and children they have nothing to do with that and you have to be a really sick evil person to do that. In life all we are is responsible for ourselves and our own actions. For you to say that those people and poor children deserved that is deplorable and makes me sick. Little Richard did not deserve to be murdered, his sister did not deserve to almost die in critical condition when her leg was blown off with all the sharpenl, bbs and nails ripping through her body and skin burned none of the, deserved this no Lingzi Lu, not Sean Collier, Krstyle Campbell not any of the dozens of people severely hurt and injured. So stop making excuses for terrorist and murderers killing innocent people it’s sickening.

      • Elayna

        yawn

      • Elayna

        Do you mean Martin Richard. Because Little Richard did not die at the Boston Marathon nor was he present – Good Golly MIss Mia – No one cares about your problems…and the fight you keep having with yourself… its got nothing to do with me or my friends or anyone I know or associate with so whoever it has to do with needs to be the person you bore with these things

  • Guest

    Have you considered Heda’s probably defamation suit against you for not doing your homework? evidently comments can’t stay if they disagree with the propaganda because an author doesn’t know who or what they are writing about…

  • Elayna

    Have you considered Heda’s probable upcoming defamation suit against you? I look forward to seeing that sweet young girl take vacations with the money your bosses will be shelling out to her.

    • Elayna

      She can support all of her adorable little sweet, intelligent, peace loving Muslim babies because of your narrow minded hatred – its lovely how things work out

    • Mia003

      I see the terrorist pigs are out in droves here. You better go alert the terrorist network what I said and to come back to this article and stand up for these two murdering devils. All you terrorist supporters with no jobs but supporting terrorist like it’s your day job and doing the devils work. I hope you know that you attack us when we tell the truth and stand up for victims of these pos devils and then you won’t even attack people that murder and maimed these children and innocent people or speak a bad word against evil people that support them and what they did because you are the same! You attack this man for reporting news facts and reporting stuff she posted herself and where she is and what she is doing. You are evil miss guided person with your sympathy missed placed. Maybe you should support victims and good people that actually do good and support good. Kids these days think they will get more attention and support for doing something bad than good and that sad but people like you make it like that. Funny thing is he would have gladly murdered your children and blown their legs off your family members and murderer you but you still support the monster. Would you support him if he did it to you? Would you talk so fondly of him then and stand up for him acting like he had a right to kill your innocent child and family members and blow their legs off?

      • Elayna

        Mia you don’t stand up for victims – you victimize people. There’s a difference.

  • Stephen Powell

    The refugee program in the West is a pathetic farce. People gain entry as refugees, then return as tourists/conspirators to the place they fled and yet still maintain their refugee status? This is like the poor African ‘refugee whose family was massacred’ gunned down by NYC cops in a case of mistaken identity, then his ‘massacred family’ showed up from Africa to sue the city. Anyone con artist can look a State Department fool in the eye over a desk and tell a wild story can sidestep the entire immigration process.

  • Tita

    tita

  • Tita

    How sad to defame a person without at least give you the right to defense … I’m not Muslim nor Chechen but I believe that this persecution is unjust and ruthless. The problem is that people will believe everything you will read, without even questioning and will go around taxing and discriminating people. This is unfortunate!

    • Mia003

      It’s facts that he is stating and have already been all over the news. She is not defending because there is nothing to defend she posted these things and support terrorist. She is just hiding like Bin Laden

  • Seneca Wolf

    Is this article a joke? You call yourself a journalist?

  • Mia003

    I agree with you and this article is very good and spot on. It does seems to appear she is training for jihad terrorism and I don’t know why people are saying this little stupid evil terrorist murder lover can sue you when the US already said they suspect she is up to no good and training with terrorist, we can say it too. Common sense there is something seriously wrong with people that support horrible murderers that maimed and killed innocent people and children. I’m glad you are saying the truth about these terrorist supporters and murderer lovers. Keep speaking the truth. She idolizes these terrorist and murderers and supports them. Clearly she agrees with what they do and is attracted to that lifestyle. Some people are just pure evil and I can’t believe we even let these terrorist murder supporters in US. If she has nothing to hide she wouldn’t be running and hiding and getting married to a man shes only know a few weeks. All the signs are there thanks for pointing them out. Great article

    • Elayna

      If they prove anyone murdered someone I would not support them – until that time that its proven I support any suspects innocence.

  • Mia003

    I agree and thank you sir. This is one of the best comments. Why do they allow this support of these terrorist and murderers on internet. This makes people think this is what Islam is all about when you see support for this instead of Muslims saying it’s wrong and speaking out against it and these people.

  • Jennifer O’Harah

    This is all hearsay and propaganda. Don’t assume this is the truth. Djokhar has the right to a fair and speedy trial. THIS IS AMERICA. Our rights are being violated under the disguise as “terrorist exception”…don’t you idiots see that?