28 May 2015

Isis jihadi brides ‘luring British women to Syria’

Many British women who leave to join the Islamic State group are being lured by British jihadi brides already there, according to report on radicalisation.

The report accuses the government of failing to do enough to counter the Islamic State group’s narrative directed at young girls and women.

Only three of the 65 mentors recruited by the Home Office for its deradicalisation programme “Channel” are women who researchers found were either “underused or overstretched”.

One told Channel 4 News she had 15 referrals over two years.

The research from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence followed the online activities of 100 British women who joined Islamic State.

‘This always gets to me’

Among the profiles is Amira Abase who’s one of the three Bethnal Green schoolgirls captured on CCTV at Gatwick Airport leaving for Syria during half term n February this year.

Her Twitter account months before her departure, the report says, paints a picture of a normal teenage girl obsessed with fashion, frustrated with exams and “flaunting her love of Chelsea Football Club”.

But, as the weeks go by, Amira begins expresses concerns about events in Syria, retweeting images of children in terrible conditions, one with the caption: “this always gets to me.”

Then, days before she left, she tweeted a request for her followers to pray for her “REALLY NEED IT. PRAY ALLAH GRANTS ME THE HIGHEST RANKS IN JANNAH!”

Pop culture

Amira and her two friends are among an estimated 50 British females who are known to have joined the Islamic State group.

Today’s report suggests it’s exploiting the west’s drive to promote gender equality like in pop culture, with singers like Taylor Swift and Beyonce loudly identifying as feminists, and encouraging teenage girls to be ambitious in life.

The Islamic State group, conclude researchers, is using the same branding techniques to promote a backlash among young women who favour more traditional female ideals.

It found that “warped feminism” played a major role in extremist propaganda and argues that the Islamic State group is increasing its “female-focused efforts” and allowing women to have a voice in its recruitment strategy.