Why European vibrant beautiful young & educated women want to be jihadi brides

December 9, 2015 12:51 pm

 Jihadi brides: Western countries have reported an increasing number of young women travelling to and to support Isis.

An increasing number women around the world are travelling to Iraq
and Syria, believed to be supporting Isis or becoming jihadi brides.
Yesterday
Security Intelligence Services (SIS) director Rebecca Kitteridge said
the spy agency had seen New Zealand women making the journey.
They
were “presumably” going to Iraq and Syria to be “jihadi brides”, Prime
Minister John Key said, although he admitted it was difficult to know
for certain what the women did once they got inside the countries.

“Whether they are going to fight or whether they are going to
support other fighters is not clear, but it is a real concern that they
would go at all,” he said.
So what is a jihadi bride, and how big is the problem?
Q: What are jihadi brides?
A: Women or teenagers who travel to Syria and Iraq to marry and support Isis extremists.
Q: How many women have travelled to Syria to join Isis?
A:
It is believed more than 550 Western women have left their homes to
join Isis fighters in Syria. Women from the US, Britain, Australia,
Austria and now New Zealand are among those who have made the journey.
It
is not known how many New Zealand woman have travelled to Syria and
Iraq in support of Isis. Ms Kitteridge would not provide an exact figure
yesterday, but said the number was less than a dozen.
Q: What makes them join?
A:
The young women become attracted to what the Institute for Strategic
Dialogue has called a jihadi, girl-power subculture. Their teen
rebellion played out through a radical religiosity, which questions the
world around them. Some have said they left as a way of “taking control
of your destiny”, to make their own choice, and walk away from an
immoral society they see as sexualising girls from an early age.
They
are often woo-ed online by Isis fighters in Syria, who build
relationships with the impressionable teenagers, complimenting them,
sometimes sending gifts, and making them believe they’re in love with
them. They boast about their lifestyle, claiming Isis is not how it is
portrayed in Western media. They encourage the girls to adopt more
conservative interpretations of Islam, and eventually to make the
journey to Syria.
But Isis has also proven adept at appealing to
different women, using “girl-to-girl” recruitment strategies to
encourage other women to join the caliphate — such as Scottish woman
Aqsa Mahmood, who left Glasgow in November 2013 and is now considered
one of the most active recruiters of young British women to Isis.
Q: Who is targeted by Isis to join?
A:
Many of the women who travel are single and young, research groups say,
typically in their teens or early 20s – the youngest known was just 13.
They differ in terms of socioeconomic background, ethnicity and
nationality, but are often more educated and studious than their male
counterparts.
In general, Ms Kitteridge said the kind of people
who were at risk of being radicalised may have problems in their life,
were not “your average person who’s going out to work, or happily
married or raising their kids”. They would be disengaged in some way
with productive life, she said. But significantly, they came from a
range of ages and backgrounds.
Q: What is life like for the women who go there?
A:
While the men tend to become fighters, less is known about the Western
woman who join Isis. It’s believed they are banned from combat, and are
there to support the group’s state-building efforts as wives, mothers,
and recruiters.
However, blogs and social media accounts have
given a glimpse of what life is like for the women who travel to Syria.
While some posts are about the banal details of life – bad cellphone
reception, bad shampoo and poor quality beauty salons – other comments
complain about malicious gossip, being pestered by Isis fighters to
remarry after their husbands die in battle, while others pose with guns
in front of Isis flags and openly show their support for violence.

Austrian teens Sabina Selimovic and Samra Kesinovic became "poster girls" for Isis in 2014 after they fled their home. They are now believed to have been beaten to death.
Austrian teens Sabina Selimovic and Samra
Kesinovic became “poster girls” for Isis in 2014 after they fled their
home. They are now believed to have been beaten to death.

The Viennese teens appeared on social networking sites surrounded by armed men. Photo / Supplied
The Viennese teens appeared on social networking sites surrounded by armed men. Photo / Supplied
Earlier this year, in photographs posted to a Twitter
account believed to belong to Melbourne woman Zehra Duman, several women
are pictured standing under an Isis flag, leaning against a clean white
BMW M5, wielding machine guns and dressed from head to toe in black
Islamic dress.
However, other women tell a different story,
describing the men of Isis as “monsters”. Yazidi women have previously
spoken out about being sold as sex slaves and raped multiple times a
day, abused on a regular basis, including being tied up and gang-raped
and burned with cigarettes.
Researchers say life on the ground
does not match the romanticised propaganda espoused online. A common
theme is around a lack of healthcare, particular around childbirth.
Q: Are they free to leave?
A:
Ms Kitteridge would not comment yesterday on whether any of the New
Zealand woman who made the journey had returned, but said the SIS would
“of course … maintain an interest in those people” if they did.
The agency was concerned about the women and what they were doing in the war zone, she said.
“There
would be really significant concerns about what they are being exposed
to, the conditions that they are, their ability to get away if they want
to or how heavily radicalised or exposed to acts of barbarism they
might be seeing.”
There are fears that some widowed women will
return to their home countries radicalised and tasked with carrying out
jihad for Isis.
Life under control of Isis fighters is difficult
to leave, with widows pressured into remarrying, others isolated from
the families they left behind. Two Austrian teens, Samra Kesinovic, 16,
and Sabina Selimovic, 15, who ran away to Syria are reportedly now dead.
However, some women have escaped the Isis’ clutches, and then rescued by aid groups.

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