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Family mourns daughter being lured from West by jihad

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A loving daughter runs away from her home to become a radical jihadist and married to an ISIS fighter. Her family blames the internet for luring their daughter away. (Source: FAMILY PHOTOS/CNN) A loving daughter runs away from her home to become a radical jihadist and married to an ISIS fighter. Her family blames the internet for luring their daughter away. (Source: FAMILY PHOTOS/CNN)
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GLASGOW, SCOTLAND (CNN) – Her parents say she went from being an ideal daughter to a radical jihadist, and they're still not sure how it happened.

Great Britain estimates some 500 of its citizens have gone to fight with Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria. Some didn't fir the stereotypical image of a militant, including Aqsa Mahmood.

Her parents knew her, Aqsa Mahmood was a loving daughter who massaged her mother's tired feet. A Glasgow teenager who didn't even know which bus to take downtown, much less board a plane by herself.

But now, Aqsa is in Syria, unrecognizable in an all-encompassing niqab with other “brides” of ISIS fighters. Online she posts photos of guns and the Quran, urging Muslins to carry out attacks like the bombing in Boston, the British soldier hacked to death on the streets of London.

"She was the best daughter we could have. We don't know what happened to her. We thought there was nothing wrong with praying and reading the Quran," her father Muzaffar Mahmood said.

The last time Muzaffar and Khalida saw their daughter, she had only her university backpack and kissed them goodbye. Her parents immediately contacted the police.

“We are a moderate Muslim family. It was a big shock for us. Her message was that I will see you on judgment day. I will take you to heaven. I will hold your hand. That's what she said. I want to become a martyr,” Muzaffar said.

So how does this happen? Aqsa grew up in an affluent neighborhood, attended a prestigious private school. She loved Harry Potter books and the band Coldplay.

Her family believes that whatever radicalized their daughter happened online.

"She was a bedroom radical. If this could happen to Aqsa, who had all of life's chances, the best education that money could buy, a modern liberal loving Muslim family, if this could happen to someone so intelligent, and then it could happen to any family," the family's lawyer Aamer Anwar said.

They had refused to do any interviews, but spoke to CNN to deliver a personal message to Aqsa.

"My dear daughter please come back. I'm missing you so much. Your brothers and sisters miss you a lot. My dearest daughter in the name of Allah, please come home. I love you,” her mother said tearfully.

In February, Aqsa called for the last time with important news: she was getting married to an ISIS fighter.

One of her last blog posts was a poem to her mother that ends with this line: “Forgive me, ya umee [my love], I've left. And I know you've accepted that I'm never coming back.”

Those are words her parents desperately hope will not come true.

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