Earlier this week the New York Post published an article about American women who are flocking to join ISIS. The premise is that American women are wanting a part of the action and described them as, “AK-47-brandishing women from the West who are as bloodthirsty as the men they are marrying.” Perhaps your reaction is similar to mine: “these women must be out of their minds…why would educated, attractive women who live in America, with all of the freedoms bestowed upon them, want to leave it all behind and head for Syria?” Not everyone values or treasures those rights and freedoms, and acts of terror occur in our country by people claiming allegiance to ISIS has caused many teenagers affiliated with Islam to feel alienated and unable to fit in with others their age. To deal with isolation and feelings of inadequacy some of these American girls bury themselves in their religious community and some turn to social media for respite. And that’s where things begin to get dicey.
Over the past few years, the number of young American women who have found themselves captivated by online recruiters for ISIS has increased. Two factors may be attributed for this uptick — unlimited access to an audience of young, impressionable girls through the internet and a very savvy on-line marketing campaign carried out by female ISIS recruiters.
On-line recruiters for ISIS give American women a view of the caliphate through rose-colored-glasses. Free housing and meals are provided, strong sisterhood and living for a cause are just a few of the incentives put before the young, naive, misunderstood women who are desperately looking for an identity, a community , a cause.
Muslim parents who found their daughters caught up in the ISIS enrollment admitted they were aware of the inordinate amount of time spent on the internet and were supportive of the interest in religious topics. But in most cases, the parents state they had no idea their daughters were participating in chat rooms and websites enticing them to join ISIS. Unfortunately, this realization usually came after their cherished child had already departed, leaving a devastated family behind.
In the early years, women joining ISIS was discouraged. However, it has now become a very successful tactic in achieving the goal of growing the Islamic state. The role of women in ISIS is to support the men fighters, to have babies and to recruit new members. As recruiters, females are known to be more sympathetic and nurturing and have the ability to identify insecurities in young girls who are struggling with low self-esteem. For the most part, they target young American Muslim girls, calling out the injustice of what is going on in Syria and Iraq. They have the ability to read a potential recruits weakness very quickly, and with a women’s intuition, switch it up and move through the gamut of emotions to effectively sway these susceptible young girls. The women recruiters for ISIS have perfected the phrases and ideologies which snag and pull these young Americans into their dark world.
ISIS recruiters promote “heroism” as the result of these young women taking a stance and fighting for what they represent is a just cause. But of course, the allure of what may seem exciting or romantic isn’t always the case when it comes to leaving America and arriving in Syria. By decree of the group, once the young woman lands in the ISIS-controlled area, a wedding is arranged immediately or as soon as possible. Should her new husband die in battle, a new marriage is expected and facilitated. The conclusion of a new report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute by Sofia Patel stated:
The roles and responsibilities it promises women on social media and via its propaganda are interlaced with notions of divine responsibility and duty, the promise of liberation and an idealized, utopian existence in the caliphate. But the reality was different – ISIS really sees women’s worth as predominantly to maintain the numbers of male mujahedeen.
Essentially what is happening is these American women are being deceived. They are being lied to, and the hope is that it might just be a matter of time before they reset and find a course that meets their needs and supports their passionate beliefs before heading off to Syria. But the question remains: do they have enough American in them to know better? The New York Post reports:
Calling themselves “lionesses of Allah,” they are thought to now number more than 600, and they’re bearing the next generation of terrorists, whom they call “cubs of the caliphate.”
Many of these women are true believers who trust that even with horrific gore and bloodshed, they are helping carry out the holy work of Allah in restoring the ancient Islamic caliphate, and that once it’s reestablished, all believers will live in peace and harmony under Islamic rule.
Let’s ask ourselves what will be their next move if they decide they are tired of being duped after giving up all of the rights bestowed upon them as citizens of the United States? Should they decide to stay here in America, raise their cubs and carry out their mission to Allah right here in their own backyards, we all would have much more to worry about than the fact they are flocking to ISIS and heading to Syria. Sad to say but perhaps it’s best to just let ‘em go!