Sex, an argument for recruiting jihadists from the Islamic State organization

A Dutch researcher interviewed women who joined Islamist activists in Syria on their motivations and their daily lives, highlighting the importance of sex and prostitution in these networks.

Like many of their counterparts , the Dutch and Belgian authorities are grappling with the problem of the possible return of the jihadists. Turkish President Recep Tayipp Erdogan has vowed to send them all back after launching his offensive against Kurdish forces monitoring them in Syria.

And US President Donald Trump has offered the same prospect to destitute Europeans who , in general, are content to say that they are discussing this “sticky situation” with their partners. Suffice to say that no well-defined plan exists, leaving everyone to try to resolve as little evil as possible, and in an emergency, this situation, however very predictable.

Specialist in radicalization, researcher qualified in the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Marion van San has her opinion on the matter. If they want to ensure their safety and not create, in the next ten years, a terrorist risk of great magnitude, the European countries of origin would, according to her, have an interest in rapidly removing Iraqi prisons, “homes of radicalization ”, mothers and their children. Even if, she confesses, one should not be deluded: some of these women remain faithful to the organization Islamic State (IS), and the hope of making them give up their convictions is weak.

An alternative is emerging: organize returns and exercise close surveillance of those concerned, or leave them in the hands of mafia networks already active in Turkey, which will discreetly organize their return by passing them under all the radars…

Religion as a facade

M me van San knows these women well, whose profile she has identified for years. She drew a book from it ( Kalifaatontvluchters , Those who fled the caliphate, untranslated, published by Editions Prometheus, in Amsterdam). And his conclusion, after interviews thanks to WhatsApp, with about twenty of them, is as clear as it is surprising: all have followed a fairly identical process of radicalization, but, for a majority of them, religion does not. was just a facade: what they were looking for in the first place was love.

“Sometimes they had reached an age where they feared they would never meet a man again ,” explains the researcher in the daily Het Parool . And when they met someone online, they decided to leave. One of them mentioned her religious obligation, but her conversations with her partner were all about sex. “

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