We’re not sure what Swedish teen Marlin Stivani Nivarlain was expecting when she ran away from home with her boyfriend to join the Islamic State, but it certainly wasn’t a hut with no plumbing.
The young girl willingly joined ISIS last May when she was 15 years old and pregnant with her boyfriend’s son. Last week, she was rescued by Kurdish special forces, who are returning her to Swedish authorities.
Nivarlain told Kurdish reporters that she didn’t really know what the Islamic State or Islam were when she originally left home. She was simply going along with her boyfriend, who had been taken in by ISIS propaganda.
“First it was good together, but then he started to look at ISIS videos and speak about them and stuff like that,” she said. “Then he said he wanted to go to ISIS, and I said ‘OK, no problem’, because I did not know what ISIS meant or what Islam was—nothing.”
When she and her boyfriend arrived in Iraq, they were given a home in ISIS-controlled Mosul. Unfortunately, the house didn’t have any running water or electricity, comforts that the Swedish teen had never had to do without.
“In Sweden we have everything, and when I was there, I did not have anything,” she said. “I did not have any money either – it was a really hard life. When I had a phone I started to contact my mum and I said: ‘I want to go home’.”
Between the extreme fundamentalism and horrifying violence, the lack of running water is the least of the Islamic State’s problems. If Nivarlain witnessed this side of ISIS, she didn’t discuss it with reporters.
Unfortunately, there is no word on the fate of Nivarlain’s baby boy.