Mobilization of Women to Terrorism: Tools and Methods of ISIS

  • Marina Shorer, International Annals of Criminology, September 2018, Cambridge University Press, DOI: 10.1017/cri.2018.16

As of the beginning of 2016, out of 100,000 “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) fighters in Iraq, Syria, Sinai and North African Countries, one-third were foreign-born fighters from European and Asian countries (AFP Tunis 2013). Although most of the men came alone, seduced by advertised sexual adventures, the official guiding rule by the ISIS Caliphate was to establish true marriage with real Muslim brides (Milton and Dodwell 2018). The Western women were then addressed to come and help in administrative, teaching and nursing tasks while also instituting families with jihadi fighters. Estimations are that at least 450–500 Western women of different ages left their countries to join ISIS mujahedin. For these mobilization efforts, social networks were utilized to serve as means of communication, coordination and conversion of women’s minds. The skilled usage of different levels of social networking tools, combined with precise audience targeting, turned the efforts into powerful recruiting instruments for mobilization of women into terrorist activities. The ISIS strategy included careful selection of different scenarios and storyboards for different target audiences, thus maximizing the impact of the exposure to the message and mobilization.

February 23, 2019

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