This article originally appeared at The Daily Mail.The female air force pilot whose missions against Isis were dubbed ‘boobs on the ground’ has reportedly been disowned by her family and labelled an ‘ingrate’.
Mariam Al Mansouri’s participation in F-16 bombing raids for the UAE was celebrated in the West, but an anonymous statement claiming to be from her family ‘disowned’ her for ‘taking part in the brutal international aggression’ against Syria.
It also expressed support for the Islamic State, saying ‘we are proud of the Sunni heroes in Iraq and the Levant’. The brutal terrorist group’s original name was the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or Isil.
The statement also expressed support for the Syrian revolution, according to the Palestinian Wattan news agency.
It said: ‘We the Mansouri family in the United Arab Emirates hereby publicly declare that we disown the so-called Mariam Al Mansouri as well as anyone taking part in the brutal international aggression against the brotherly Syrian people, starting with our ingrate daughter Mariam Al Mansouri. ‘We ask our countrymen not to burden us with the consequences of the actions of the so-called Mariam Al Mansouri.’
It continued: ‘We call upon all factions… on the Syrian battleground to unite and join efforts and forces towards the single objective of overthrowing the monstrous Assad regime.’Our family is proud of all free men who defend their cause and of all those who take up arms to defend the honour of their nation [the Islamic Nation]. We are proud of the Sunni heroes in Iraq and the Levant and all those who take up the banner of righteousness wherever they may be.’It’s not clear whether the views expressed in the statement represent those of the entire family or indeed if it is genuine.
The Mansouri tribe has some influential members, including the country’s economics minister, but it’s also very large – the second biggest in Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE, so it certainly can’t be assumed that the views expressed in the statement are representative of the whole group.
The statement could well have been made anonymously out of fear of punishment, as voicing dissent against the UAE government can result in imprisonment.If true, the statement won’t represent the first time the Mansouri family has been linked to extremism.
In January this year high-profile lawyer Mohammed al-Mansoori was jailed for allegedly trying to set up an ‘international’ branch of the controversial Muslim Brotherhood in the UAE, according to the BBC.Major Mansouri, from Abu Dhabi, made a remarkable rise through the ranks of the UAE air force. She joined it in 2007 and is now a squadron commander.She is one of eight children and has a degree in English literature.The UAE is known to have the most liberal views on women’s rights in the Middle East and Mansouri said that she was treated as an equal by her commanding officers.
She told Deraa Al Watan magazine: ‘Everybody is required to have the same high level of combat competence.’She says that her nearest relatives are supportive of her role in the air force.There was also no difference between men and women with regards to training and assignments, she said.’Everybody is required to have the same high level of combat competence.”
Earlier this week Fox News host Eric Bolling apologised for calling Major Mansouri’s missions as ‘boobs on the ground’.