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Dr. Khaled Mayar Al-Idrisi - Researcher in international relations, and president of the Moroccan Center for International and Future Studies.


Snowballing into existence, ISIS has thrown many politicians, military and security men along with researchers off balance. Over a short period of time, ISIS lured many supporters, advocates and fighters, both men and women, into its labyrinth. It is not a new practice that women are involved in extremist and terrorist groups, nor is it exclusive to ISIS. History provides telling examples of women accomplices to terrorist acts, managing the clandestine affairs of terrorist groups, and not merely promoting extremist ideologies or providing a social incubator for extremism.

In “les amazones de la terreur”, Fanny Bugnon spells out the tasks of women in terrorist groups, such as the Red Army in Germany, which is a left-wing group that adopted armed violence in its protests and caused what was called the “German Fall”. In 2017, Horst Seehofer, German Minister of the Interior, stated that the Red Army group was akin to ISIS, both groups attempt to undermine the bedrock of society and terrorize all communities.

Typology of Terrorist Women

Fanny revealed the typological patterns of terrorist women associated with ISIS, indicating that some women joined ISIS because of their affectionate attachment to a man in ISIS; while other women joined ISIS due to a real propensity to violence and revenge; still other women were fooled and deceived by wiles, myths and ruses of female combatants and fighters, as is the case in Greek mythology of the Amazon Fighting Women.

ISIS stands out from the rest in that ISIS women are on the increase, albeit its aggressive discourse against women, nefariously full of all-out offences and grave insults hurled against women! Proverbially, out of the frying pan into the fire: ISIS returning women also report sexual harassment, exploitation of foreign women and forced marriage whenever the husband is killed, on the pretext that it is prohibited for a woman to stay inside ISIS without marriage. To add insult to injury until, frequent accounts reveal that certain husbands are either imprisoned, made absent or sent away to blow themselves up as to confine their wives for their own personal interests. luring and enticing women from different countries has been mouth-watering, so to speak, for ISIS to bring in more of them. One notorious practice is using women in the so-called “marriage of jihad”. ISIS hortative speech dictates a variety of tasks to women; a woman is a partner, organizer, preacher and entertainer of fighters in jihad”. On the flip side, woman is captive prisoner captured at war, enslaved for ISIS men, who can trade women in. It is a speech that fuses pragmatic honoring and utilitarian object.

Women are also focal to ISIS doctrinal discourse, which adopts a number of ideologies, including the necessity of a woman covering her face, even though the issue is debatable and is not part of Islamic creed. ISIS ideology prohibits all that induces evil and vice, such as satellite, and women must – by religious laws – cover their faces, and must avoid all adornments and mingling with others; women must seek and display chastity and purity, as revealed by Allah Almighty: “Those who love to spread evil in those who believe shall have a painful punishment in this world and the hereafter, and Allah knows and you do not know”. Your brother Abu Omar Al-Husseini Al-Qurashi. 

The ISIS practice, however, flouts the principle of decency and chastity driven by one’s whims and needs. The publication of (Clouts of Monotheists) show women with their faces uncovered involved in the fighting. This is purposefully meant to gain support and evoke feelings to recruit new female sympathizers. In addition, with female fighters publicly displayed, this shows that ISIS is glaringly facing a real crisis of the lack of male fighters in the battlefield over the recent stages. As such, this is another violation against what ISIS has previously announced in one of its publications; Sharia does not dictate that women be involved in jihad. Under no circumstances shall women be taken to the battlefield according to the laws of ISIS for fear of being taken captive. Such a practice emphasizes that ISIS does not mind going too soft with the chastity and decency of women, hence to use them to serve and defend ISIS goals no matter what!

ISIS calls for women to cover their entire bodies out of chastity; ironically enough, however, ISIS does not mind using woman on the pretext of serving ISIS men and heroes! For instance, “Al-Shamikha Magazine” serves as one platform of many others dedicated to developing ISIS speech; the term “Al-Shamikha” per se connotes and conveys feelings cloaked in female glory, ostentation, allure and bombastic speech that features ISIS prig women as decoys.

 Models of Prigs

As quoted in Al-Shamikha Magazine (Issue No. 1, 1432), the wife of a mujahid who was killed in one of the ISIS battles provides an account of jihad and the family life of the mujahid wife. The purpose of this narrative seeks to motivate the ISIS women to encourage their husbands to fight with much cohesion and patience, because the woman is primarily entrusted and tasked with enthusing and enhancing the men’s willpower to seek martyrdom. The editorial of Al-Shamikha Magazine highlights the following: 
“Since women make up half of society; rather, they make up all society by giving birth to the other half, enemies are keen to keep women away from the truth of their religion and the truth of their role, because they know how good it will be if a woman enters the field! Islam needs women to define their religion, determine the reality, size and purpose of the battle. The time of negligence, simplicity and naivety has seen better days! It is time for the lofty women to contribute to building the glory of the nation. Today, the Muslim woman is the educator of the next generation”.

No one argues that a woman is half of society; woman is the bedrock of society, simply because she is the incubator of values and the purity of faith, when well-educated on Islamic values. However, the indication of the ISIS text raises the value of the woman, if she is “lofty”, “overbearing”, “prig” and actually involved in “ISIS sedition” and glaringly supportive of subversion, rabble-making and agitation.” In this context, Um Muhannad, a woman who lost her husband in one of the ISIS battles, remarks: “After marriage, I told my husband that everything I called for was of your qualities such as good manners, commitment, and knowledge, and I found all these qualities, except for one thing (and I meant jihad by oneself), then he – rest in peace – replied: So, keep praying until all your prayers are answered.” For an ISIS woman, an ideal man is only so when fully engaged in fighting. The woman in Um Muhannad speech is not the one who asks her husband for jewelry, dresses and adornments; rather, she is the one who calls her husband to spend his income to support jihad in Afghanistan and Chechnya.

War Prisoners or Prostitutes?”

ISIS propaganda has been intensely increased as women increasingly joined ISIS through different means, especially the internet, and direct recruitment. In the same issue of the Magazine, Um Ghadeer explains the mode of life – beyond compare – in marriage to a mujahid, saying: “My sisters, life with a mujahid is not like any life, it is the bliss that leads, Allah willing, to the bliss of the hereafter. In your life with a mujahid, you will feel the joy of giving and obedience, you will know the meaning of life for the sake of principle, cause and struggle.”

The feminist affiliation of ISIS and the departure to the countries of the so-called caliphate cannot be traced back and ascribed to the lure and appeal of the ISIS discourse, which manipulates religious concepts alone, while rejecting contemporary life shrouded in injustice, exploitation and laxity of morals, as well as lack masculinity, virility and manhood; rather, it has personal reasons that can be drawn from the speeches of the ISIS women. It can be observed that the reasons for women in the Arab world to join ISIS are not necessarily those of the women in the west, as there is a group of ISIS affiliates who dream of acquiring the “honor of defending the nation” and affiliation with the “surviving division”.

Fatihah Al-Hassani known as Um Adam Al-Majati, is a telling example of such ISIS speeches; she was honored by the ISIS in 2015, and is proud of joining ISIS and the House of Caliphate and Immigration. Dr. Iman bint Mustafa Al-Bagha, senior jurisprudent of Islam from Syria, is a really bewildering model. She joined ISIS; her son was killed in one of the ISIS battles; she married her two daughters to ISIS fighters; she encouraged mothers to follow suit while still immature and not yet nubile; she even defended the legitimacy of ISIS, describing it as the land of the so-called caliphate, and posted on Facebook: “After looking into the tragedies of Muslims, the biography of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, the life of the companions, the conquests and contemporary history, and jurisprudence of jihad, I discovered that I adopted the ISIS-based approach; I am ISIS before ISIS was established, and I know from that time that there is no viable solution for Muslims except in conducting jihad.

One example of ISIS women is Hayat Boumediene, whose motives to join ISIS were mixed with her love for Amedy Coulibaly, who was a hostage-taker in a Jewish store. One more representation lies in the wild desire to wipe out the profane past, cleanse the present from absurdity and dissolute life through “ISIS repentance” and present oneself as a sacrifice to ISIS. As such, many women have joined ISIS or provided ISIS with distant or online services in to rest assured that much of their futile and immoral life is now over! While other women deliver speeches couched in virility, masculinity, manhood, brilliancy of Muslims and bravery skills, at a time when real masculinity almost disappears.

Ironically enough, ISIS women justify and rationalize in their speeches that ISIS men shall have the right to exploit ISIS women, enjoy them and trade in their freedom. A telling example is Um Somaya Al-Muhajira, who published an article entitled “Prisoners or Prostitutes?” in “Dabiq Magazine” (Issue No. 9, 1436), Um Somaya argues: “Yes, Allah has empowered his guardians across the world, so they conquered and took control of the hometowns, killing the non-Muslim warriors, captured their women as war captives and enslaved women and children. I am extremely proud of such actions while I am documenting it in history. It is downright infidelity and disbelief! It is all shame! It is true that we staged daring raids on the infidel and disbelieving women, capturing them as captive prisoners of war and forced them to trudge all the way long by sword and shepherded and penned them up very much like sheep. Pride, glory and dignity are all due to Allah, His Messenger and true believers, while hypocrites know nothing whatsoever! She emphasized that this is a caliphate-based approach of prophecy and not a joke. ISIS has produced ISIS flogging and whipping women, ISIS-style preachers, spies and vigilantes to violate the privacy of people.

The ISIS narratives issued by the ISIS men and women undoubtedly yet dangerously veer off the Sharia of Islam that upholds dignity, religion, soul, mind and money. Driven by its terrorist acts, ISIS has not yet recognized the dire consequences of such deviation, the most notorious of which is ruining and tarnishing the image of Islam, while also enabling the enemies of Islam to hold Muslims up to ridicule, and accusing them of brutality and barbarism. Therefore, Islamic communities had better develop integrated systems that enable and empower women to foster public awareness and contribute to protecting community-based security.