Women in the West have significantly more opportunities than elsewhere to receive an education, drive, wear colorful clothes, and run errands on their own. Yet, a UK study says over 10% of the Western recruits for the Islamic State are women. The numbers do not appear to be diminishing anytime soon.
The numbers belie the intense oppression rampant in areas controlled by the Islamic State. To highlight the struggles of women in ISIS-controlled areas, one woman in Syria wore an undercover camera to give a glimpse of life, especially of women, under the Islamic State.
The video shows armed men and some women dressed in niqab with AK-47s. A man spots the woman and says she needs “to behave better when you’re in public.” It is not because of the camera, though. It is because he could see her face.
“You have to pay attention by covering up,” he said. “God loves women who are covered.”
She said the women are suffering, but some of the women chose this lifestyle, including women from France. In an internet café, one woman tells her mother she is not returning to France.
Why do these women want to join? Experts believe the men use these women to populate their caliphate in Syria and Iraq.
“ISIS is recruiting these women in order to be baby factories,” said Mia Bloom from the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. “They are seeing the establishment of an Islamic state and now they need to populate the state.”
On September 6, Breitbart News featured a story filled with tweets from Islamic State women. All of the Twitter accounts are now suspended. One woman, known as Umm Ubaydah, said she wished she was the one who beheaded American journalist Steven Sotloff. Another woman, going by the pseudonym Jihadi Jane, posted a picture of alleged prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay. She showed it to her “sisters” and said she wanted to be the one to cut off the head of the woman in the picture.
In America, authorities arrested 19-year-old Shannon Conley, who purchased a one-way ticket to the Middle East in April at the Denver International Airport. She pleaded guilty to attempting to join a terror organization. She also admitted a male recruited her online to join Islamic State.
Austrian teenagers Sabina Selimovic, 15, and Samra Kesinov, 16, left their homes to join the terrorist group. The girls used social media to announce they are both pregnant by Islamic State fighters in Syria.
British 16-year-old twins, Salma and Zahra Halane, ran away from their Manchester, England home to reunite with their older brother in Syria. One of the twins said she wanted to become a doctor to help the jihadists.