Islamic State Encourages Women to Join the Jihad
February 10, 2018
On Feb 8th the following related Flash SMS message
was sent to AlertsUSA subscriber mobile devices:
2/8 – Islamic State’s al Hayat Media Center releases new video encouraging women to join the jihad. See email for more info.
What You Need To Know
On 10 occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via SMS messages to their mobile devices regarding safety and security matters. Of highest importance was an alert issued Thursday informing subscribers of a new video released by the Islamic State’s al Hayat Media Center within which women are encouraged to join the jihad.
Released in multiple languages, the video provides an update on battles and suicide bombings in Syria, supposedly part of a campaign to free female captives. The video includes clips of Muslim women dressed head to toe in black niqabs actively engaged in combat. The narrated video is backed by a nasheed, or acapella chant, encouraging the same.
Quoting the narration of the video:
“And following them….the chaste mujahid women journeying to her lord with garments of purity & faith…… seeking revenge for her religion and for the honor of her sisters imprisoned by the apostate Kurds.”
Also included are scenes of physically handicapped and disabled individuals using crutches and in wheelchairs also involved in battle and carrying out suicide attacks.
This new video is sparking significant interest in counter-terrorism circles given the Islamic State’s extremely strict laws to date forbidding women from combat roles. A shift from women supporting the Islamic State in non-combat functions to their direct involvement as fighters is very telling on a number of levels, particularly given the group’s previous Sharia-based emphasis on women’s domestic roles and gender segregation.
Long time AlertsUSA and Threat Journal subscribers will remember our previous reporting as far back as 2015 about the Islamic State’s use of female recruiters to prey on young women and the establishment of a pipeline to assist Western women in traveling to Syria to contribute to the formation of their new society, albeit in traditional roles.
This is not to say that Islamist terror groups have not previously used women as formal combatants. Palestinian Hamas, various Chechen insurgent groups, as well as Sunni groups such as the former al Qaeda in Iraq (which in 2006 merged with other groups to form the Islamic State in Iraq, and in 2013, was transformed into the current Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS, IS, etc..) have all done so. But for the Islamic State, this is very new.
The use of both women and disabled men as part of the fighting force, and highlighting them within a widely distributed propaganda video supports several conclusions:
1. The Islamic State is clearly under pressure on the battlefield from opposing international military forces. Many male fighters have either been killed or fled.
2. Calling women to take part in the jihad will likely result in a swelling of the ranks of fighters, at least temporarily.
3. Calling women to take part in the jihad will likely result in their increased participation in attacks off the traditional battlefield, such as in Western nations. Even a casual exploration of the social media accounts of Muslim women around the world shows a widespread antipathy towards the West and a desire for bloodshed. Some of the women even go beyond glorifying the violence to publicly express a desire to carry out violent acts themselves. And as has been seen with many other Islamic State calls to action, this video and the message it contains could very well serve as a trigger.
In further support of this conclusion, just last week a French-language open letter was widely circulated on Islamic State social media channels arguing that the female members of the terror group do not care about the same things as other girls and demanded the same rights as male militants to wage violent jihad and seek martyrdom.
4. Given the cultural trends of Western nations in terms of women’s roles and standing in society, and the general perception of most women being non-aggressors, peace makers and ‘the weaker vessel’, the calling of women to participate in the jihad will most certainly result in a rethinking of the already complex topic of terrorist profiling and the training of security personnel.
Using blunt terms… In the age of the #MeToo movement and the dramatic rise in accusations of improper touching and advances by men, who are likely to be more aggressively searched? Who are law enforcement and security personnel more likely to perceive as a possible aggressor? Who are more likely to be intentionally given a pass so as to avoid possible career-ending accusations and wallet-busting legal jeopardy?
5. And finally, this video is also a clear attempt at shaming, and motivating, able-bodied Muslim men currently not participating in the jihad, an activity which, according to the Koran, Hadiths and centuries of teaching by religious scholars, is considered “fard”, or compulsory.
You can view the English language version of the video HERE (GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING).
AlertsUSA continues to monitor the domestic and international threat environment and will immediately notify service subscribers, via SMS messages, of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.
OTHER SMS ALERTS FROM THIS WEEK
NOT DETAILED IN THIS NEWSLETTER ISSUE
2/9 – US and UK govs warn of Caribbean terror threat for upcoming Carnival celebrations. See email for more info.
2/8 – U.S. Embassy Bahamas issues new security alert following attack on U.S. citizen in New Providence. See email for more info.
2/6 – Norovirus outbreak in PyeongChang, S. Korea, site of the upcoming Winter Olympics. Hundreds around Olympic venues already infected. See email for more.
2/6 – At least two deaths and 100+ injured during M6.4 EQ in Taiwan. Numerous building collapses rptd. Dept of State closely monitoring for impact on U.S. citizens.
2/5 – AlertsUSA monitoring ongoing hostage situation, 1900 block of NW 7th Street, Miami FL. 10+ held. Heavy police / SWAT presence. Add’l alerts as warranted.
2/5 – Super Bowl celebrations in City Center Philadelphia turn violent with closing of bars. Riot police engaging. Avoid the downtown area.
2/4 – Multiple Black Lives Matter & Antifa protests underway across Twin Cities area. Trains to Super Bowl site being blocked. Caution and vigilance urged.
2/4 – Shallow M6.1 EQ strikes off E coast of Hualian, Taiwan. Monitoring for damage reports.
2/4 – Overnight: AlertsUSA monitoring response to Amtrak / CSX trains collision, 2 dead, more than 70 injured, Cayce, S.C..
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The U.S. Dept. of State Travel Website is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning international travel, even to such common destinations as Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, are strongly encouraged to do a little research on the security situation well prior to departure.
Major USGOV Travel Notices
The Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides several resources to enhance the safety and security of the U.S. private sector abroad. Additional information can be found on OSAC.gov
Mariners and U.S. citizens considering maritime travel should also review information at the websites of the National Geospatial Agency, the Maritime Security Communications with Industry Portal, and the U.S. Coast Guard for information related to maritime and port security globally.
Additional Sources of Travel Guidance
Canada Dept. of Foreign Affairs
Australia Dept. of Foreign Affairs
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
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