Displaced Iraqi women who fled from clashes sit together during a battle between Iraqi forces and Islamic state militants in western Mosul, Iraq, May 17, 2017.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ ALAA AL-MARJANI)
The Islamic State has changed its policy from strict gender separation to permitting and encouraging women to fights for ISIS, according to a report by The New York Times.
The report, published Wednesday, explained that Islamic State propaganda has been encouraging female fighters for several years, citing an ISIS newspaper that called on women to get prepared for battle in October 2017.
In 2018, ISIS extolled their female fighters in a propaganda video.
The video, featuring a woman holding an AK-47, broadcasts, “the chaste mujaheed
woman journeying to her Lord with the garments of purity and faith, seeking revenge for her religion and for the honor of her sisters.”
Women are motivated to become ISIS fighters for a variety of reasons, according to the Times
. Some are simply following their ideological beliefs, while others are driven by revenge against Iraqi security forces who plundered homes and raped women as they fought ISIS. Some are simply poor ISIS widows who are working in a desperate attempt to earn their daily bread.
Islamic State dubbed the change as “a campaign that commences a new era of conquest,” but the change is fueled by utter desperation, according to the Times
. ISIS is fighting a losing battle, and is grasping at straws, even if that means adopting a Western value and reversing traditional gender roles, the report said.
Female ISIS fighters are not just an interesting new phenomenon, they are potentially very dangerous and pose a major security threat, experts told
. Iraqi security forces are less suspicious of women roaming the streets, and even if they do stop them, they refuse to pat them down or check for weapons or explosives.
“After ISIS fell in Mosul, we are worried about ISIS females more and more,” Mosul’s mayor, Zuhair Muhsin Mohammed al-Araji told the Times
Female ISIS fighters carried out many of the almost-daily suicide bombing at Iraqi army positions during the Mosul operation, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, an Iraqi leader fighting Islamic State told the Times
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