Minority Report: The Danger of Women in Islamic Terrorism and in ISIS
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AbstractThis thesis is focused on the role of women in modern Islamic terrorism, especially their participation in the terrorist organization, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS. It argues that women are traditionally viewed in Western countries as not posing the same threat level as men in Islamic extremist organizations. When women actively support violent extremist acts, their actions are thought to be peripheral to the cause or a result of coercion. However, this thesis argues that women are in fact extremely important to the structure of radical Islamic organizations and should be given more attention by security authorities. Furthermore, I argue that the longstanding perception that women, and Muslim women in particular, are merely victims of male predatory behavior, may overlook personal agency in their decisions to participate. While we cannot overlook predatory recruitment techniques, these methods may also be employed by women who pressure others to support the cause. This thesis concludes that it is difficult to make sweeping statements without gathering more information on those women who choose to actively participate in terrorist actions. Gathering and evaluating in-depth data on these women would advance the field of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), a field that is growing increasingly relevant in the early 21st century.
Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences