New Reporting Series Kicked Off
In mid-June 2019, Europol published its first report in a new series called “Europol Specialist Reporting” ‒ a collection of reports on priority crime areas published by Europol’s in-house experts.
The first report, published by Europol’s European Counter Terrorism Centre, looks at women in Islamic State (IS) propaganda. It analyses how the IS appeals to women, the doctrinal dialectics put forward by IS with regard to women, their expected role(s) in jihad, and how the organisation uses Islamic jurisprudence to mould the role of women within jihad.
Its key findings include a noticeable increase in women featured in IS propaganda as well as a broader scope in the nature and extent of their roles within the organisation. Nevertheless, the preferred nature of women remains that of the traditional stay-at-home mother and wife. According to the report, the motivation of female jihadists is similar to that of their male counterparts: they are driven by the wish to join a cause and to contribute to building an Islamic state.
Remarkably, the report finds IS propaganda to be filled with disparaging and condescending descriptions of women. This, however, seems to be perceived differently by women who subscribe to IS ideology, as their roles are seen as unnegotiable and emanating from a divinely authoritative source.