ISIS: Young Women With Radical Ideologies Targets For Recruitment

The predominant view that the world has of ISIS and its members is that of radicalized men seeking to create a pure Muslim state. What is rarely spoken of or addressed is how women are, in fact, being targeted and lured to join in the ISIS movement.

An “idealized utopia” is what members say their goal is by participating in the extremist and terrorizing acts that go along with recruitment by the group. Internationally, young women with the same ideologies are communicating with already-recruited young women to discuss joining and helping to further the efforts of ISIS.

As CBC indicates, according to experts, the women are motivated by “a sense of adventure and a desire to right perceived wrongs in the Muslim world.” Much of the luring and indoctrination is achieved via social media, after which point the women are joined with a fighter in marriage within the Islamic State and expected to strictly fulfill household tasks, child-bearing, and child-rearing.

For many, the attraction, as mentioned, is the adventure that lays ahead and, in addition, the romantic expectations of being united with someone is a major draw for most women who are fully recruited.

Young teen-aged females enter Turkey on their way to join ISIS this week; image via CBC News

When they arrive, they are usually quickly married to a fighter with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and begin a strictly-controlled domestic life of child-rearing, cooking, and cleaning.

Erin Saltman leads the women and extremism program at the International Strategic Dialogue in London UK. She tracks women’s involvement in the ISIS movement and offers details as to motivations for particularly women of Western origin to make the journey to become a part of the Islamic State.

CBC News recounts Saltman’s words.

“It offers them a sense of adventure, which is not only the voyage — which is an allure itself — but also these romantic notions that upon arrival you will be paired… Although some women, particularly those from the minority Iraqi Yazidi group, are sold into sexual slavery, young Western women are treated differently. But it’s not to say that once they’re married husbands aren’t abusive or forcing themselves on them.”

Saltman’s organization recently released a report which focused on the three primary reasons women who are alone join ISIS. Those reasons include “the perceived oppression of Muslim people, a desire to create an ideologically pure state and a personal religious duty to assist in the process.”

ISIS has even gone the route of using big-budget movies, including those made by Disney, to recruit women. As WGN TV notes, ISIS has utilized the movie Mulan as a depiction of what women recruited to the Islamic State can expect. The production “tells the story of a young Chinese woman, turned warrior. It is a story tailor-made for an ISIS fantasy that is being promoted on the social media.”

In addition, Saltman states that roles of women in ISIS have altered from being strictly Jihad brides. Many have taken on recruiter duties and even act as spies for the extremist group.

[Feature image via]