“But she said women were happiest when their husbands died in battle and became a shahid, or martyr. The widows then ‘have to wait four months and 10 days before they’re allowed to leave the house, remarry, go shopping etc.,’ she wrote in a text. ‘It’s not hard because it’s for the sake of Allah and we are happy to observe it . . . When one husband gets martyred, it’s like a celebration.'” Maybe they’re secretly happy to be free of the little tyrant who owns them and can beat them if he fears disobedience from them (cf. Qur’an 4:34).
“Why it’s wrong to underestimate the Islamic State’s female recruits,” by Michelle Shephard, Toronto Star, March 28, 2015:
Umm Jihad may very well be who she claims to be, a 20-year-old American university student who was studying business in Virginia until she left to join the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, in Syria.
When she is asked in a private online chat how she should be identified, she sends a photo of four women hanging out of a white Beemer and hoisting AK-47s in the air. Their hair, faces and bodies are completely shrouded in black robes and veils so they cannot be identified.
She responds: “Me and some Aussies.”…
One of the Islamic State’s most influential online voices used to be a Twitter account under the name Shami Witness. Last year, Britain’s Channel 4 uncovered that Shami Witness was not a holy warrior, or pro-ISIS analyst, but a 24-year-old businessman from Bangalore, India, who apparently had a lot of time on his hands.
But if Umm Jihad is not who she purports to be, her statements still echo hundreds of others online and provide insight into what women drawn to ISIS are either reading or writing.
They talk about the Islamic State’s higher calling, the sense of sisterhood and they romanticize their marriages, or becoming young mothers….
One woman, claiming on Twitter that foreigners are “subjected to mistreatment and discrimination from the locals,” describes an incident where a foreign woman was left to bleed at a hospital during a miscarriage, while doctors tended to local patients.
Most foreign women come from European countries, Australia and, to a lesser degree, Canada and the U.S. Umm Jihad posted a photo on Twitter of four gloved hands holding Canadian, American, Australian and British passports.
“Bonfire soon, no need for these anymore,” she wrote.
A 23-year-old woman from Edmonton is believed to be among the recruits. She reportedly left for the Islamic State last summer after enrolling in an online course to study the Qur’an taught by another woman based in Edmonton, according to a CBC television report.
In January, Shayma Senouci, a girl from the suburbs of Montreal was reported missing to police and is presumed to have left for Syria. Her Facebook account rages against a 2013 proposal by the Quebec government to ban religious symbols and calls Israel’s shelling of Gaza last summer a “genocide.”
“How can we stay impassive when faced with this?!!” she wrote last July.
Three other Canadian teenagers also tried last year to join, abruptly leaving their Brampton homes and making it as far as Istanbul, Turkey, before authorities turned them back after being alerted by their parents.
Umm Jihad says she misses nothing about the West and she believes it was her obligation as a Muslim to join the Islamic State. A British woman she met online helped her leave Virginia last November for Raqqa, Syria, where she says she now lives.
When we started talking a couple of weeks ago, she was living alone with her husband, whom she did not identify.
But she said women were happiest when their husbands died in battle and became a shahid, or martyr. The widows then “have to wait four months and 10 days before they’re allowed to leave the house, remarry, go shopping etc.,” she wrote in a text. “It’s not hard because it’s for the sake of Allah and we are happy to observe it . . . When one husband gets martyred, it’s like a celebration.”
The next day, she got her wish, posting on Twitter that her husband, Abu Jihad Al Australi was killed, waxing poetically of his death. “My husband had a dream a week before he went to battle. He dreamt that he got shot in the head and it felt like a pinch,” she wrote.
“He saw a bright light that he was trying to go towards, as he was getting closer n closer to it it got brighter n brighter until he couldn’t . . . handle it. I remember him tell me his dream and laughing.”
If true, she was married to a man from Melbourne, Australia named Suhan Rahman. Photos of his blood-soaked body were posted alongside other fighters killed in clashes with Kurdish fighters earlier this month, including the body of what is believed to be Ahmad Waseem, who was from Windsor and was known by the kunya, or nickname, of Abu Turab al-Kanadi.
Umm Jihad’s posts on Twitter grew more strident after her husband’s death, urging attacks on the West, or “that treacherous tryant” U.S. President Barack Obama.
But she is polite and conciliatory when answering questions on the social-messaging app KIK, unlike her Twitter account, which was suspended Saturday. When asked about disconnect, she responds: “Oh lol. Not like I can tell u to go kill kuffar,” using the word for the non-believers.
Umm Jihad had earlier made her intentions clear on why she’s responding to a journalist’s questions. “These journalists think they’re using us when they message us nicely,” she wrote last week on Twitter. “Little do they know we’re using them for a means of spreading our da’wah,” using the Arabic word for an “invitation.”
Supporters of the Islamic State do not need their words filtered through the media as they have the power online to reach potential recruits directly.
A report by London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue concluded that despite the presence of female brigades or weapons carried by the Islamic State’s women, they should not be considered fighters.
“Females recruit and assist others to join ISIS. They support male fighters in a non-military capacity and encourage attacks on the West by those who cannot travel,” the report states, but notes “they demonstrate support for brutal violence equal in its strength to the men of ISIS. They also demonstrate a capacity and willingness to engage in violence and even suicide attacks should circumstances change.”
The report concludes that most of the reasons drawing women are the same for men — religious duty, sense that the Muslim world is under attack, a need for comradeship or belonging or adventure. “The state-building mission of ISIS is particularly strong among women,” write Carolyn Hoyle, Alexandra Bradford and Ross Frenett, the report’s authors….