alice brignoli

Alice Brignoli

Alice Brignoli was born in Erba on 13th December, 1977. She met her husband, Mohamed Koraichi, in a local company based in the Lecco area where they were both employed. She was a secretary and he was a skilled worker.

Alice and Mohamed both grew up in the region of Lombardy. Alice’s mother described her daughter as used to being “a beautiful, free, independent girl with no specific religious beliefs; after her First Communion, she did not pursue the Christian religious path towards Confirmation”. Her mother could not have predicted such a drastic change.

Mohamed, of Moroccan origins, was born in 1985 and grew up in a regular family of Muslim immigrants who were well integrated into the social fabric. Like many other radicalised individuals, his previous life was not characterised with particular religious observance; he loved music and went to discos.

After falling in love, they got married in 2008 and had the first of their three children, Ismail, a year later in Italy. Their civil wedding was celebrated at the municipality; he wore a traditional white tunic and she wore a turquoise veil over her hair. The year 2008 was also the year of Alice’s religious conversion following Mohammed’s belief in having rediscovered Islam. From that moment on, Alice was no longer Alice; she had become Aisha. She slowly changed her clothing, covered her face, distanced herself from her family and, more generally, from her previous social life. Before closing in and isolating themselves with their narrow family, they tried to convince their relatives to follow their radical vision. For example, Alice tried to persuade her mother to wear the veil and read the Koran, but these attempts were futile.

At the same time, the couple used to be part of the local Muslim community, from which they gradually broke away from. They used to pray together with the other believers in the mosques of Lecco and Costamasnaga but after some time they also stopped attending these places of worship.

Additionally, their gradual distancing with the outside world also manifested itself in their working life. They abandoned their jobs because they considered their respective colleagues to be “impure” and they did not want to work alongside “infidels”. From then on, they lived on social benefits in a council estate, with some financial help from the Muslim community.

Between 2014 and the beginning of 2015, there was a tangible shift in the couple’s minds, the transition to jihadism became total. The Internet played an important role in the final phase of their radicalisation process. Like many other young individuals, they found a lot of propaganda material from the Islamic state on the internet and came into contact with facilitators and propagandists via chat rooms and forums. Thus, in a process of self-indoctrination and mutual self-conviction, they began to plan their journey to the land of the caliphate.

At the end of February 2015, the couple set off by car, from Bulciago towards the so-called Islamic caliphate. Alice, Mohamed and their three children travelled for a few days through Hungary and Turkey, until finally arriving to Syria.

The pre-trial detention order issued by the Court of Milan against Alice, Mohamed and other individuals – all of whom were subsequently convicted for their participation within a terrorist association – provides us with some information regarding the couple’s activities. As far as Mohamed Koraichi is concerned, he was the one providing the tazkya (in this case a sort of presentation of an aspiring jihadist by another mujahid) to his friend Abderrahim Moutaharrick. It is therefore due to Mohamed’s tazkya that his friend became an affiliate of the Islamic State. Alice carried out activities of indoctrination with her children in Syria, who were photographed dressed in camouflage combat clothing and with their index finger raised towards the sky. Thus, Alice became the mother of the caliphate’s lions.

After the territorial collapse of the Islamic State, Alice, together with thousands of other women, found herself in a refugee camp run by Kurdish authorities with her now four children. Mohamed, however, most likely died. From the refugee camp in Syria, Alice has expressed the will, through a local NGO, to return to Italy.

As part of Operation Match in September 2020, the ROS of the Carabinieri arrested Alice, who appeared “overjoyed” to be returning to Italy with her 4 children. At the beginning of May 2021, the Court of Milan issued a 4-year prison sentence against the Italian foreign fighter. For each of her children, entrusted to a community and assisted by a lawyer and special curator, the Court of Milan established a provisional sum of money, with immediate execution.

On 2 January 2024, Alice Brignoli finished serving her sentence eight months early for good behaviour.