Men seek­ing women: Must love ji­had

Mil­i­tants re­cruit fe­males as ‘baby fac­to­ries’ for fu­ture ter­ror­ists

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Mon­ica Crow­ley

The bo­gus “war on women” is so 2012. What’s hot now? The “war with women.” The bar­baric Is­lamic State is re­cruit­ing so many Western women that it could read like a Craigslist ad: “Men seek­ing women: Must love ji­had.”

Since the Is­lamic State, also called ISIS, broke out, seiz­ing large tracts of ter­ri­tory in Iraq and Syria, we’ve heard all man­ner of grim news, from its $3 mil­lion per day oil rev­enue to its ex­e­cu­tions of two Americans and one Bri­ton so far while in­spir­ing copy­cat atroc­i­ties from Al­ge­ria to Ok­la­homa.

The ji­had — car­ried out by the Is­lamic State, al Qaeda, the Khorasans, Ha­mas, Hezbol­lah, Boko Haram, Is­lamic Ji­had, An­sar al-Shariah, al-Nusra Front, the Mus­lim Brother­hood and count­less oth­ers — is ev­ery­where.

Male ji­hadis, not ex­actly known for their Leonardo DiCaprio way with women, have now re­al­ized that if their mis­sion to spread Is­lam by the sword and in­stall Shariah glob­ally is to suc­ceed, they’re go­ing to need the ladies.

In the past, mil­i­tants have wel­comed the support of women as moth­ers who sacrifice their chil­dren as sui­cide bombers, as pro­pa­gan­dists, and as cov­ers for ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­ity when au­thor­i­ties closed in.

Now, how­ever, male ter­ror­ists are work­ing their limited pow­ers of se­duc­tion on Western women to ac­tively join the ji­had — as in­cu­ba­tors of the next gen­er­a­tion of fight­ers, as so­cial me­dia queens and as op­er­a­tives in the field.

Ac­cord­ing to coun­tert­er­ror­ism re­ports, hun­dreds of young women and girls are leav­ing their homes in the West to join Is­lamic ter­ror­ists in the Mid­dle East. Es­ti­mates are that they ap­pear to make up about 10 per­cent of those leav­ing Europe, North Amer­ica and Aus­tralia to hook up with ji­hadi groups.

In the United States, a 19-year-old So­mali woman from St. Paul, Minn., snuck away from her par­ents on Aug. 25 say­ing she was go­ing to a bridal shower. In­stead, she flew to Turkey and joined the Is­lamic State in Syria. At least one other woman is sus­pected of help­ing her leave the coun­try.

Another young woman, Shan­non Con­ley, 19, of Colorado, had been re­cruited on­line and be­came en­gaged to an ISIS ji­hadi in Syria. She was ar­rested in April at Den­ver In­ter­na­tional Air­port with a one-way ticket and pleaded guilty last month for try­ing to travel to the re­gion to join the ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion.

France, mean­while, has the du­bi­ous dis­tinc­tion of hav­ing the great­est num­ber of Western fe­male ji­hadi re­cruits, with 63 in the re­gion and at least an ad­di­tional 60 thought to be pre­par­ing to go. Ac­cord­ing to French For­eign Min­is­ter Bernard Cazeneuve, five peo­ple were ar­rested in France in Septem­ber, sus­pected of tak­ing part in a re­cruit­ment ring tar­get­ing young French women.

Across the Chan­nel in the United King­dom, coun­tert­er­ror­ism ex­perts think about 50 Bri­tish girls and women (mostly ages 16 to 24) have joined the Is­lamic State. Re­searchers at the In­ter­na­tional Cen­ter for the Study of Rad­i­cal­iza­tion at Kings Col­lege London have iden­ti­fied some of them. Many hold col­lege de­grees and have left be­hind their own fam­i­lies to start new ones with male ji­hadis.

In one par­tic­u­larly no­to­ri­ous case, a for­mer Bri­tish housewife, Sa­man­tha Lewth­waite, joined ISIS this year and is con­sid­ered one of its most valu­able as­sets. Known as the “Spe­cial One” or the “White Widow,” Lewth­waite has been the world’s most-wanted woman since 2013. She is re­port­edly now train­ing an all-woman army of sui­cide bombers for the Is­lamic State.

In Ger­many, many teenage girls are also be­ing rad­i­cal­ized. At least 40 women have left Ger­many to join the ter­ror­ists. The youngest is re­port­edly 13 years old.

In ad­di­tion to us­ing th­ese young women as “baby fac­to­ries” to pop­u­late the new caliphate, ISIS fight­ers have also been us­ing some of them at check­points to mon­i­tor other women for weapons and Shariah com­pli­ance.

The main con­cern for U.S. and Western law en­force­ment is that th­ese women may one day re­turn to at­tack tar­gets here at home.

As con­cerned as we should be about the unique threat th­ese women pose, how­ever, our at­ten­tion should be equally fo­cused on the true hero­ines in this war.

Maj. Mariam al-Man­souri, the United Arab Emi­rates’ first fe­male fighter pi­lot, led the mis­sion when the United States be­gan al­lied airstrikes over Syria. Maj. al-Man­souri served in the UAE’s army be­fore be­com­ing a fe­male Top Gun.

“I feel proud, es­pe­cially that I am part of the first batch. And that en­cour­ages me to con­tinue in this field,” she said, even as re­ports sur­faced that her fam­ily re­nounced her for “tak­ing part in the bru­tal in­ter­na­tional ag­gres­sion” against Syria.

She’s not alone: scores of Kur­dish women have joined her on the ground in the fight. That’s real courage. Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE’s am­bas­sador to the United States, praised Maj. al-Man­souri, say­ing she and her coun­try rep­re­sent the role women should play in the Mus­lim world: “Do you want a model of a so­ci­ety that al­lows women to be­come min­is­ters in gov­ern­ment ... fighter pi­lots, business ex­ec­u­tives, artists,” he said, “or do you want a so­ci­ety where, if a woman doesn’t cover up in pub­lic, she’s beaten or she’s lashed or she’s raped?” Mr. Otaiba said. “I mean, this is ul­ti­mately what this breaks down to.” Pre­cisely. So while we fight the women who have joined the ji­had, let’s cel­e­brate the ones who are brave enough to fight against them, with us, on the side of civ­i­liza­tion. Mon­ica Crow­ley is on­line opin­ion ed­i­tor at The Wash­ing­ton Times.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY LI­NAS GARSYS/THE WASH­ING­TON TIMES

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