The "Lionesses of Allah" -- women from the West who are being recruited by ISIS -- now number more than 600. These women are no shrinking violets – they're AK-47-brandishing women who are just as bloodthirsty as the men they're involved with. But even worse, it's these women that are producing the next generation of terrorists, children they already call "the cubs of the caliphate."
The New York Post reported that these American women are true believers and, regardless of the bloodshed, they simply want to carry out the holy work of Allah. Their aim is to restore the ancient Islamic caliphate, believing that once it's re-established all those who believe will live in peace and harmony under Islamic rule.
One of these women is Sally Jones, a British Muslim convert who's now reportedly on a British special-forces "kill list" because she threatened Queen Elizabeth II. Jones has also been implicated in two foiled attempts to kill Americans and, sadly, her young son is being trained by her to follow in her footsteps.
Other ISIS brides living in Iraq and Syria have also made the terrorist watch-list. Jones and other like-minded Western women are actively recruiting other women to join their cause.
As they see it, their duty is to "to raise the next generation of lions in Islamic State." ISIS remunerates these women for every "cub" they deliver, in the amount of a $500 marriage bonus, $400 maternity bonus, and $25 per month for each child. With so many ISIS men being killed, this is a strategic move on their part because it's a way of ensuring the group's longevity.
As hard as it may be to understand, these women celebrate death more than life. In fact, they encourage suicidal violence and remind members of the heavenly rewards they'll receive for killing infidels.
If they lose a husband, they shed no tears. Mia Bloom from the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies said that if their husband dies in battle, the wife is instantly transformed into a hero – she becomes the wife of a martyr or "Shahid". The widows of slain fighters are rewarded well by ISIS.
And now, the women joining ISIS are choosing to die on the battlefield themselves. They want to follow the path of Tashfeen Malik, their idol, who helped her husband massacre 14 innocent people in 2015 who gathered for a Christmas office party in San Bernardino, California.
Out of Iraq and Syria, these women send messages clearly stating their desire to be martyred in the cause of Allah. One woman, Muthanna, recently tweeted: "I came here to die. I will not leave till I get what I came here for: shahadah [martyrdom]."
Then recently, to make her death wish come true, she made reference in her tweet to obtaining a suicide belt. In frustration, she complained: "Everyone around me is getting shahadah. When will it be my turn?"
These women are not faint-hearted: ISIS women watch and share gruesome videos of beheadings, and it doesn't bother them. After the massacre carried out in Paris, Muthanna was very cheerful.
"Wish I could have seen the hostages being slaughtered last night with my own eyes. Would have been beautiful."ISIS is training more and more women to kill. Just last month they reportedly began deploying a lethal all-female sniper squad to help fighters hold off United States and Iraqi forces in Mosul, Iraq.
But more frightening is the new marriage certificate issued by ISIS which allows women to carry out suicide missions.
"If the Prince of Believers [ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] consents to her carrying out a suicide mission, then her husband should not prohibit her."Director Anne Speckhard from the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism believes that this suggests ISIS is looking ahead to a similar transition in using female squads for suicide missions.
Because authorities generally don't expect violence from women, they pose a huge security threat to the West. Without raising suspicion, women are easily able to pass security and they can enter public places carrying weapons or wearing bombs. They can even appear pregnant by strapping explosives around their waist.
To date, at least 45 American women have either joined or tried to join ISIS in Syria, while many have been caught marrying or attempting to marry ISIS fighters.
A Denver woman by the name of Shannon Connolly was one of the first cases in the United States of a woman wanting to join ISIS. Terrorism experts were shocked because she seemed to be the quintessential girl-next-door.
It is a wonder why Western women are attracted to ISIS, because the group is well known for mass rape, sex slavery, and other brutally misogynistic practices.
Ryan Mauro is a national-security analyst at the Clarion Project.
"It seems unfathomable to most of us that a female would want to join ISIS, but their online propaganda has a major focus on twisting the concept of women's rights. You'll see pictures of fully covered women with guns, as if they are treated as equals in jihad."But Mauro doesn't believe that these female recruits are lonely and thus easily seduced by charismatic male recruiters into joining ISIS.
"It's not as simple as a girl having a crush on a man. That's the easy, politically correct answer. There's obviously another critical ideological element involved, because those are issues facing all teenagers."Tweets from ISIS women reveal that they're definitely not victims – they are willing participants. They understand the religion, and they choose to live under an Islamic theocracy.
Mauro believes that female recruits are fully convinced ISIS is "reflective of Allah's will," and that it's their duty to join its caliphate.
"When you look at ISIS propaganda, it's not just well-produced but well-referenced, with tons of references to Islamic verses and scholars. The propaganda presents researched arguments that enable ISIS recruiters to withstand scrutiny from a prospective recruit."And, of course, ISIS paints a beautiful picture of Islamic utopia.
"The ISIS caliphate is portrayed as an ideal society on earth where things are great, with women valued, morals upheld, social services minimize insecurity and newcomers are welcomed into the family. And you get to earn a ticket to paradise if you die standing against the infidel to preserve it."Jaelyn Young, of Vicksburg, Mississippi, is serving 12 years in federal prison for conspiring to provide material support to ISIS.
Hoda Muthana, a Birmingham, Alabama, college student, fled to Syria to join ISIS and is now suspected of acting as a recruiter for the group.
Shannon Conley, a Denver woman, is serving a four-year sentence for attempting to join ISIS in Syria, where she planned to marry a Tunisian fighter she met online.Daniela Greene was an FBI translator in Detroit who converted to Islam then secretly married an ISIS leader. It was believed she was investigating terrorist Denis Cuspert, but according to recently unsealed court records, she married Cuspert instead and moved to Syria, warning him that "the FBI had an open investigation into his activities."
[Featured Image by Giambra/Shutterstock]