Thursday, October 23, 2014

As Islamists Seek to Fill Ranks, More Western Women Answer Their Call

By STEVEN ERLANGER, NYT
OCT. 23, 2014

LONDON — The young Western Muslims trying to join radical Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq now include increasing numbers of young women who are seeking to fight or to become the wives of fighters. It is a new twist on a recruitment effort that has led to several thousand men from Europe and beyond flocking to the battlefield.

In the past week alone, the authorities reported two instances of women and girls trying to get to Syria or take part in jihad. On Wednesday, the British police arrested a 25-year-old woman north of London on suspicion of preparing “terrorist acts” related to the fighting in Syria. Over the weekend, three teenage girls from the Denver suburbs — two sisters of Somali descent and a friend of Sudanese descent — were intercepted as they tried to travel to Syria.

Those were the latest in a series of cases of young Muslim women from the West trying to join militant groups like the Nusra Front or the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, which is waging a campaign to create a caliphate in Iraq and Syria. The largest numbers of recruits have come from France and Britain, but others have come from Austria, Belgium and Spain.

For several months, the Islamic State has been making a concerted effort to enlist women and girls. It is deploying female recruiters, producing new publications and creating online forums.

(More here.)

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