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Western Women Supporting IS/Daesh in Syria and Iraq – An Exploration of their Motivations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 October 2018

Seran de Leede*
Affiliation:
International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, The Hague, The Netherlands
*
*Corresponding Author: Seran de Leede, Independent Researcher, Associate Fellow of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, The Hague, The Netherlands. E-mail: sdeleede@icct.nl
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Abstract

This paper explores the motivations of Western women who traveled to Syria/Iraq to support the Islamic State (IS) or Daesh. It draws on previous studies of the phenomenon, insights from practitioners and informal interviews with an individual with first-hand insights. The different motivations are categorized into three levels: macro, meso and micro. The author rebukes the intractable stereotype of the “jihadi bride” that (inadvertently) suggests that women are driven mainly by personal motivations or the prospect of marriage, and demonstrates that female Western supporters of IS/Daesh are motivated by various factors. These include ideological or religious motivations, the pull of the cause, frustration and anger over the perceived worldwide oppression of Muslims, but also the search for a purpose in life and for a sense of belonging. Women have been affected by group dynamics and experiences in their past (including sexual abuse). Some women were attracted by the prospect of a clean slate, adventure or a (religious) husband. The author underscores that, in order to tackle the phenomenon of women supporting IS/Daesh, it is essential to deepen our understanding of its appeal on women, which requires acknowledging the diversity of women who joined IS/Daesh and recognizing the complexity and multitude of their motivations.

Abstracto

Este documento explora las motivaciones de las mujeres occidentales que viajaron a Siria / Iraq para apoyar al Estado Islámico (IS) o Daesh. Se basa en estudios previos, ideas de los practicantes y entrevistas con gente con información de primera mano. Las diferentes motivaciones se clasifican en tres niveles: macro, meso y micro. El autor reprende el estereotipo intratable de la ‘novia yihadista’ que (inadvertidamente) sugiere que las mujeres son impulsadas principalmente por motivos personales o la perspectiva del matrimonio, y demuestra que las partidarias occidentales femeninas de IS / Daesh están motivadas por diversos factores. Estos incluyen motivaciones ideológicas o religiosas, la atracción de la causa, la frustración y la ira sobre la percepción de una opresión mundial de los musulmanes; pero también la búsqueda de un propósito en la vida y de un sentido de pertenencia. Las mujeres se han visto afectadas por dinámicas grupales y experiencias en el pasado (incluido el abuso sexual). Algunas mujeres se sintieron atraídas por la perspectiva de una “pizarra limpia”, una aventura o un esposo (religioso). El autor subraya que, para abordar el fenómeno de las mujeres que apoyan a IS / Daesh, es esencial comprender la diversidad de las mujeres que se unieron a IS / Daesh y reconocer la complejidad y la multitud de sus motivaciones

Abstrait

Cet article explore les motivations des femmes occidentales qui se sont rendues en Syrie / Irak pour soutenir l'État islamique (EI) ou Daech. Il s’appuie sur des études antérieures, des entretiens avec des praticiens et des entrevues avec des personnes qui ont des idées de première main. Les différentes motivations sont classées en trois niveaux: macro, méso et micro. L’auteur réprouve le stéréotype intraitable de la «mariée djihadiste» qui suggère (par inadvertance) que les femmes sont principalement motivées par des motivations personnelles ou par la perspective du mariage, et démontre que les femmes occidentales qui soutient IS / Daesh sont motivées par divers facteurs. Ceux-ci comprennent des motivations idéologiques ou religieuses, l’attraction de la cause, la frustration et la colère à propos de l’oppression mondiale perçue des musulmans, mais aussi la recherche d’un but dans la vie et d’un sentiment d’appartenance. Les femmes ont été affectées par la dynamique de groupe et les expériences de leur passé (y compris les abus sexuels). Certaines femmes ont été attirées par la perspective d’une table rase, d’une aventure ou d’un mari (religieux). L’auteur souligne que, pour faire face au phénomène des femmes soutenant IS / Daech, il est essentiel de comprendre la diversité des femmes qui ont rejoint IS / Daech et de reconnaître la complexité et la multitude de leurs motivations.

摘要:

本文探讨了前往叙利亚/伊拉克支持伊斯兰国或者达什的西方妇女的动机。本文通过借鉴以前研究成果、从业人员的见解和对有直接见解的人的非正式访谈对这一现象进行研究。不同的动机分为三个层次:宏观,中观和微观。作者谴责(无心地)了“圣战新娘”的顽固刻板印象,暗示女性主要由个人动机或婚姻前景驱动所,并表明西方女性支持伊斯兰国者是受到各种因素的驱使。这些包括意识形态或宗教动机、对穆斯林的世界性压迫的原因、挫折和愤怒的牵引,还包括寻求生活目的和归属感。妇女受到过去的群体动力和经历(包括性虐待)的影响。一些女性被一段清白历史、一次冒险经历或一个(宗教)丈夫的前景所吸引。作者强调,为了解决妇女支持伊斯兰国的现象,必须加深我们对妇女呼吁的理解,这就要求承认加入伊斯兰国的妇女的多样性,并认识到她们动机的复杂性和多样性。

الملخّص

تستكشف هذه المقالة دوافع المرأة الغربية التي سافرت إلى سوريا/العراق لدعم تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية أو داعش. وهي تعتمد على دراسات سابقة لهذه الظاهرة، ورؤى من ممارسين ومقابلات غير رسميّة مع أشخاص ذوي رؤى مباشرة. تم تصنيف الدوافع المختلفة إلى ثلاثة مستويات: كبيرة ومتوسطة وصغيرة. يستنكر المؤلف الصورة النمطيّة المستعصية “للعروس الجهاديّة“ التي توحي (بشكل غير مقصود) أن النساء تقودهن دوافع شخصيّة أو إمكانيّة الزواج، وتظهر أن الغربيّات المناصرات لداعش تحرّكهن دوافع مختلفة. تشمل هذه الدوافع الإيديولوجية أو الدينية: المسبّبات الموجبة وقوّة تأثيرها في جذب النساء إلى التّنظيم، مشاعر الإحباط والغضب من اضطهاد المسلمين العالمي، وكذلك البحث عن هدف في الحياة والشعور بالانتماء. فلقد تأثرت النساء بديناميات الجماعة وتجاربها السّابقة (بما في ذلك الاعتداء الجنسي). واجتذبت بعضهن لاحتمال وجود صفحة بيضاء، أو مغامرة، أو زوج (ديني). يشدّد المؤلف على ضرورة تعمّقنا في فهم أسباب انجذاب النساء لداعش كي نتمكّن من معالجة ظاهرة دعمهن له، ينبغي له، الأمر الذي يقتضي الإقرار بتنوع النساء اللواتي انضممن إلى التّنظيم والاعتراف بمضاعفات دوافعهن وكثرتها.

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Article
Copyright
© 2018 International Society of Criminology 

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