London, UK (BBN)-One of the most wanted terrorists in the world was radicalised in the UK and married his British wife in a town hall in the north of England – who is now hiding out in a small town in Texas.
American John Georgelas married Joya Choudhury in 2004 in Rochdale, Lancashire, after meeting online, despite protestations from her family, reports the Daily Mail.
The white Muslim convert, considered the most senior Westerner in ISIS, even persuaded her to take their three young boys to Syria while she was pregnant with a fourth child.
A key recruiter for ISIS, Georgelas, 33, is the son of a former US air force doctor, Timothy Georgelas, while his grandfather served with the US Army during the Second World War.
He came to live in the UK while his father was posted in the Cambridge area during the 1980s – converting to Islam shortly after 9/11 when back in the States after meeting foreign students near his Texas home.
He moved to the UK sometime after, eventually meeting a 19-year-old Choudhury and marrying her in 2004, when she was pregnant with their first child.
According to the Sunday Times, Joya’s association with Georgelas intensified her extremism to the point that she dreamed of giving birth to seven holy warriors.
But after just a month in the warzone of Syria, she and the children became ill and she soon realised that she had to get out.
She would end up fleeing Syria and move to America to be close to Georgelas’s family and give birth to her fourth child.
But the marriage would not last, and in late 2014, a year after escaping from Syria, she divorced Georgelas through the US courts.
Aged 33, she is now seen dressing in conventional Western clothing and describes herself on social media as a ‘left-wing libertarian’.
Joya, whose family is originally from Bangladesh, was rejected by her family following the wedding, for which she was heavily pregnant.
She is said to have been ‘westernised’ before turning to radical Islam, previously showing ‘little interest in religion’ and smoking cannabis.
But it is believed she was influenced by a group of students of Algerian origin when she began studying for her A Levels at a college in east London, driving a wedge between her and her family.
A source told The Times: ‘All of her college friends were going online to get married to Muslim men. They were virtually all married by the time they were 20.’
Joya is said to have started wearing a full body robe before meeting Georgelas on a Muslim dating website in 2003.
They married a year later, with neighbours in Rochdale claiming they were ‘struggling financially’ and that her family ‘was not happy’ about the wedding but held a party afterwards ‘to preserve their reputation’.
The couple then moved around the UK and are believed to have been on benefits, using the cash to support their ‘fundamentalist lifestyle’ in London, where they were influenced by radical preachings including Jordanian preacher Sheikh Abu Isa al-Rifai, who had previously declared a caliphate in the 1990s.
They eventually moved to the US where they were supported by Georgelas’ parents in Texas.
But he was jailed for 34 months in 2006 after gaining unauthorised access to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee website while working as a technician at a website firm in Dallas, which he used as a cover to support al-Qaeda online.
She stayed with her husband and, according to the Times, even allowed him to take a second wife, who was a friend from her London college, although it was a short-lived marriage as the other woman was in London and Georgelas was unable to leave the US due to the terms of his parole.
Despite being under surveillance by the FBI, the couple fled the US in 2011 because Georgelas wanted to ‘raise his family in a Muslim country’, eventually opting for Egypt.
And in an interview this year, the 33-year-old’s father said he is entirely aware of what his son has become since leaving Texas.
‘Every step of his life he’s made the wrong decisions, from high school onward,’ Tim Georgelas told the Atlantic.
‘It is beyond me to understand why he threw what he had away.
I have bailed him out so many times—financially, in circumstances with his wife and kids, you name it.
I always pick up the wreckage.’
The heartbroken father went on to describe his son as a weak person and a follower who is easily manipulated.
Georgelas’ growing reputation led to jihadists visiting him for advice, and by 2013 he decided to take his family to Syria to ‘help refugees’, by which point Joya was pregnant with their fourth child.
But after only a month, Joya reached out to her family, whom she had not spoken to in four years, via Georgelas’ parents, claiming she was in Turkey with her children, whom she claimed were ‘very sick’.
A source told the Times: ‘She has behaved selfishly for virtually all of her life. Now finally she decided to put her children before herself.’
She spent a short time back in the UK, where she gave birth to her fourth child, but divisions between her and her relatives led her to return to Texas to live close to Georgelas’ parents.
The children are understood to now live with her in-laws while she has access to them at weekends, although there are ‘concerns’ over what the youngsters have ‘been exposed to’.
She filed for divorce in 2014 in the US and has returned to wearing ‘Western’ clothes and now goes by the name Tania, according to her Twitter profile.
Meanwhile Georgelas, who arranged for his family to be secretly taken to Turkey after Joya decided she wanted to leave, stayed behind in Syria and pledged himself to ISIS.
He is said to be one of the highest ranking westerners in the organisation who is tasked with luring new recruits from English-speaking countries.
Georgelas also writes articles for ISIS propaganda websites and last year declared that Communities Minister Sajid Javid and former Tory party chairperson Baroness Warsi were on a ‘kill-list’.
More than 800 British Muslims are thought to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join terror groups, with at least 100 believed to be women or girls.
Unemployment and ‘inaccessible’ education have been suggested as reasons for the exodus.