On Friday 23 January 2015, online supporters of Islamic State (IS) began circulating a document entitled Women in the Islamic State: Manifesto and Case Study. The text, which was uploaded by the all-female Al-Khanssaa Brigade’s media wing onto a jihadist forum used by IS, was widely distributed among its Arabic-speaking supporters.
However, it was not picked up by Western jihadists, male or female. As such, it ran the risk of slipping through the net of non-Arabic speaking Western analysts. To stop this from happening, Quilliam researcher Charlie Winter has translated the original document in full, providing an accompanying analysis.
At more than ten thousand words long, the manifesto – which, above all else, is a document intended to recruit support and debunk “myths” – deals with many issues. Some of the most important aspects of it are:
• A detailed guide to the role of women in the Islamic State – from childhood education to motherhood and marriage (which can begin at the age of nine) to fighting.
• A call to women who have not joined IS to push their sons to join the ranks of IS and, in so doing, help build the foundations of the so-called Caliphate “with their skulls”.
• A lengthy argument against civilisation and modernity, something that includes a harshly worded rebuttal of feminism, “the Western programme for women”, and an exploration of its causes.
• An eyewitness account of daily life under the Islamic State in Mosul and Raqqa looking specifically at a variety of issues, from education to security.
• Its comparison of life for women living in the “Caliphate” with that of women in the Arabian Peninsula, in which it focuses on the justice system as well as the question of whether or not women should be allowed to drive cars.
• Its acting as an affirmation of IS’ desire to state-building, after its recognition of the necessity to articulate a strictly limited role for women in the so-called Caliphate, and thus its pre-eminence ahead of all other jihadist organisations.
Haras Rafiq, Managing Director of Quilliam, says:
“There has been a huge amount of speculation about what the role of the women who join Islamic State – often dubbed jihadist brides – is. This translation by Charlie Winter clarifies a number of issues that have been obscured by the language barrier until now. It allows us to look past the propaganda banded about on social media by Western supporters of IS, enabling us to get into the mind-set of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of women who willingly join its ranks.”
Click here to read the full translation and accompanying analysis.
For more information, contact [email protected] or call 02071827284.