By Daphne Rasehei – EMTV Online
Stereotypes about Muslim women, particularly those from Muslim-majority countries, are a major barrier to understanding SIS’s appeal to women.
People have a tendency to fixate on how terrorists oppress women. A fact that many find difficult to settle with is the female involvement in violent activism.
Many women are drawn to the group, taking on recruitment, propaganda, and supporting roles despite the fact that it is known for its anti-women horrors.
In 2014, Viennese girls, Samre Kesinovic (17) and Sabina Selimovic (16) fled to Syria in April, after saying they wanted to join the fight in Syria.
They appeared on social networking sites branding Kalashnikov rifles, surrounded by armed men – photos which Austrian police said acted as recruitment posters for young girls.
Just last week in the United States, Tashfeen Malik, a 29-year-old Pakistani and her husband left their baby at home before the couple opened fire on a health department meeting, killing 14 in San Bernardino, California.
There are estimated to be 600 western female ISIS recruits, but the number of non-western women like Malik is believed to be much higher.
Indeed, as ISIS increasingly outsources its violence to western countries, Malik’s alleged role in the San Bernardino attack warns of how the group’s present ban on female fighters might inevitably be loosened, or at least become more difficult to enforce.
Yet, at the very moment this recognition is most needed, the shooting’s aftermath points to a lasting blind spot on female offenders that show just how far we really are from tackling their deadly acts.