Report: 60 British women now in Syria in all-female Islamic State brigade

One of the prominent leaders in the Islamic State's police force is a 20-year-old from Glasgow, Scotland who fled to Syria and married a fighter.

September 8, 2014 15:42
1 minute read.
Veiled woman shoots gun

Veiled woman shoots gun (illustrative)‏. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The British daily The Independent reported Monday that up to 60 British women had gone to Syria and joined Islamic State’s al-Khansaa brigade, an all-female police unit that administers strict Shari’a law and punishes those who don’t follow its extreme interpretation as imposed by the terror group.

One of the prominent leaders in the police force is a 20-yearold from Glasgow, Scotland, named Aqsa Mahmood, who has been in Syria since November 2013, according to the International Center for the Study of Radicalization. Her parents, Muzaffar and Khalida Mahmood, self-described moderate Muslims, said they were shocked by their daughter’s turn for the extreme.

“Our daughter is brainwashed and deluded and helping those engaged in genocide,” her parents said.

Aqsa Mahmood reportedly married an Islamic State fighter after her arrival in Raqqa, Syria, the group’s de facto capital.

Reportedly, most of the women who fled to Syria to fight are between the ages of 18 and 24.

A Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium (TRAC) report said the women in al-Khansaa are paid a monthly salary equivalent to NIS 593.

An unnamed Islamic State official said the gender-specific police force was created to prevent mixing between men and women.

“We have established the brigade to raise awareness of our religion among women, and to punish women who do not abide by the law,” the official said.

TRAC said the group was also formed to expose men who dress up as women in order to avoid imprisonment.

Among the identities of other Britons who have fled to fight in Syria are 16-year-old twin sisters Zahra and Salma Halane from Manchester, and Sally Jones, a mother of two who converted to Islam and left her Kent home reportedly to marry a jihadi she had met online.

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