Women have been playing a major role in the rise of the Islamic State group, new research reveals -- and Western women are joining the militant forces for multiple reasons. The Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the International Center for the Study of Radicalization says in the report that the reasons include a feeling that the global Muslim community is under threat.
A report in the Washington Post says that around 550 Western women are living in territory controlled by the Islamic State group, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL. These women are primarily expected to carry out a responsibility of being good mothers and wives.
However, there are other reasons behind women joining the extremist forces. Some women want to fight on the front lines but are restricted by Shariah laws promoted by ISIS leaders. These women play a crucial role in recruiting other fighters. According to the report, teenage girls are lured by the idea of achieving sisterhood by fighting for the religion.
The ISD report says that more than 100 women from 15 countries work online to spread ISIS ideologies on social networking websites like Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook. The London institute says that women fighting for ISIS debunk the stereotypes. “The ages range from 13 to 40, with a range of education and professions and families,” the CNN quoted senior researcher Erin Saltman, who called the situation “very complicated.”
The report further says that ISIS depends on a decentralized network to promote its propaganda. The report refers to the British “terror twins,” Salma and Zahra Halane. The young girls encourage other women to move to an ISIS-controlled territory. They also guide girls how to use their social networking websites effectively for political reasons.
According to Melanie Smith, one of the writers of the report, the maximum period for a woman to remain unmarried in an ISIS-controlled territory is two months. However, they are aware that their marriage might not last long.