Jihadi Brides: Why do Western Muslim Girls Join ISIS?

Maren Hald Bjørgum

Global Politics Review
Vol. 2, No. 2 (October 2016): 91-102.DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1238543
GPR ID: 2464-9929_v02_i02_p091
Published: 30 October 2016

Abstract: This essay deals with the issue of why young Western women from stable families and egalitarian, female-friendly states, are choosing to leave their family and country behind to join IS’ misogynistic society. Since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria in early 2011, and increasingly with the growth of IS in the region, European men and women have traveled to the area to join the fighting. According to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence almost 4000 Western European citizens had joined Sunni militant organizations fighting in Syria or Iraq as of January 2015. A surprisingly large number of these migrants are women. This paper examines the reasons for how these women get radicalized and why. Whether warrior or victim, or neither, the women who migrate to the Islamic State are searching for a meaning in their lives that did not exist in the Western world.

Keywords: jihadi brides, ISIS, Middle East, Europe, foreign fighters, gender identity.

Copyright by the Author.  This is an Open Access article licensed by Global Politics Review under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License  Creative Commons License// Disclaimer: the copyright and license of this article changed on October 30, 2017, when GPR became Open Access. The PDF file has not been updated for archival purposes. //

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