[Exclusive] Islamic State: The Story Of Zafirr Golamaully And His Sister Lubnaa

The story of Zafirr Golamaully and his sister Lubnaa has shocked the country recently. These two young Mauritians who attended “star schools” became radicalized and joined the ranks of the Islamic State. If their parents are distraught after hearing the news, friends struggle to understand how they got there.

Zafirr and Lubnaa Golamaully in their younger ages.

Zafirr and Lubnaa Golamaully in their younger ages.

Zafirr, known as “Gola” by his classmates, studied at the Royal College of Curepipe from 2001 to 2007 before leaving Mauritius to Dubai in 2014. According to one of his closest friends at the time, he was a young ordinary man rock fan. «C’était la personne la plus stable que je connaissais»” he says.

He claims further that Zafirr was keenly interested in international news. However, “«à partir de 2012, il a commencé à croire de plus en plus dans les préceptes du Coran et prônait l’instauration d’un califat, explique notre interlocuteur, mais sans pour autant parler de violence ou de terrorisme.C’était simplement un idéal».

The last time this school friend of Zafirr Golamaully saw the latter was in 2014. But even then, he did not express the intention of leaving the country.  «Il était toujours normal.» He is surprised by the extreme radicalization of his friend.

A former student of the Royal College of Curepipe added that he noticed changes in the behavior of Zafirr Golamaully in 2010. «Ses posts sur les réseaux sociaux ont pris une autre tournure. Il a aussi commencé à arborer une barbe à cette époque», se souvient-il. Mais à l’école, il se rappelle de Zafirr comme étant un jeune brillant. «Il n’était pas le plus studieux, mais il était très intelligent.»

Another friend of Zafirr Golamally, who was at the Royal College of Port Louis (RCPL) and often seen during private tuition classes reveals that Zafirr was calm and introverted. «Il était intelligent et doué, surtout pour les langues» says the young man. The last time he was seen was in 2013 at the mosque. «Zafirr s’était laissé pousser la barbe.» But according to him, the beard was far from being a religious sign.  «Zafirr était fan de rock et c’était pour suivre la tendance qu’il arborait une barbe.» He adds that Zafirr was never someone belonging to the mainstream. «Il avait un look et une manière de penser qui étaient toujours différents des autres», he continues.

This former student of RCPL confirms never having seen extreme tendencies in Zafirr. “«Mais même en Syrie, il faut savoir ce qu’il fait!» For him, it is very likely that the young man be pro-Erdogan and fights against the Kurds.  «Il y a plusieurs possibilités, il ne faut pas tirer de conclusions hâtives» he argued. The last time he had heard, he had learned that Zafirr had gone to Dubai to pursue medical studies with a group of friends of Maurice. He believes that the radicalization of his friend was carried out of the country because «Zafirr est parti sans aucune idée de participer à une  guerre sainte».

Zafirr Golamaully’s sister Lubnaa is also presented as a normal girl without any radical inclination. One of her friends, a resident of the area Vacoas, says she has always been a modern and normal girl. «Quand nous étions encore au collège, Lubnaa se maquillait et n’a jamais porté le voile», she said. The girls took Koran lessons together. «Elle parlait peu, mais était toujours d’humeur joyeuse. Elle riait beaucoup» recalls the friend.

The last time she saw Lubnaa was at the mosque during Ramadan in 2014. «Je suis persuadée que le changement ne s’est pas fait à Maurice car elle a quitté le pays sans ces idées »

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