Thursday, May 26

Why do British Bangladeshi women join IS in Syria?



Shamima Begum, 15, Amira Abasi, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16 of Bethnal Green Academy school living in east London, ran off to Syria on February 17, 2015 to join the terror group under the influence of another female British member of the group. Photo: BBC Bangla

Islamic State (IS) has been successful in recruiting quite a few British-Bangladeshi women, reports BBC Bangla. The women are being recruited online, only to serve as sex slaves to the IS men, the BBC report said on January 30.

It investigates the reasons behind these women for running off to war stricken Syria to join the clan. It has almost been a year since the three British-Bangladeshi teenage girls fled from their homes in UK to join the extremist group.

Their unsuspecting friends and family were baffled by the sudden disappearance of the trio who were described as “three regular schoolgirls” and “straight-A students”.

Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abasi, 15, of Bethnal Green Academy school living in east London, ran off to Syria February 17, 2015 to join the terror group under the influence of another female British member of the group.

“She texted me saying she was far away and would be a bit late. She told me not to worry. But she never re-turned,” BBC Bangla reports quoting Amira’s grief stricken father.

Like Amira, at least 56 other women from Britain, Glasgow and Bristol have travelled to Syria to join the extremist group. Youths from all over Europe have also joined their forces, of which at least 500 youth are from Britain alone, 10 percent of which are women.

The three girls travelling through Turkey on their way to Syria. Photo was captured in a CCTV camera in the bus stop.

These youths are consciously deciding to join IS after extensive research and contemplation, says Nikita Mallik, a researcher at the counter-extremism think tank, Quilliam Foundation Ltd.

“One of the girls from Bethnal Green Academy searched at least 100 jihadist websites,” said Mallik, adding that there are many women in Britain who have connection with IS. They talk about religion and women’s role in the society.

Some of these girls feel invisible or disregarded in the society or community that they are living in. They get a new found purpose in the teachings of IS.

They think IS is giving them importance. They are drawn to believe that they do not need weapons to fight the war, educating the next generation of ji-hadists and being the wife of a jihadist also the responsibility of their religion, the researcher explained.

Apart from young girls, mothers are leaving their families in the name of IS. Women begin to believe they are part of a bigger plan and can be a good Muslim by fighting against the West in a war against Islam.

They are keeping an equal hand in creating a new state, comments Mallik in the psychology that drives these women behind their decision.

Researchers say, there are a few women Islamic State members whose job is to motivate and recruit more women online. They communicate via different social platforms such as Twitter.

Going to Syria is like a romantic adventure for some of these girls. They are told meticulously how to secretly collect funds, buy a plane ticket, and who to contact in their step-by-step travel instructions to Syria. They are given a primary idea of their role and responsibilities in the group. They are also promised of marriage.

They are told who they would marry, character traits of their future husband, and whether they would be able to work or not. Despite the British government’s many initiatives to monitor and take actions against such recruitment facilities, IS is still active in bring girls to Syria.