11 June 2015
The appeal of IS (Islamic State) to young Muslim women in Western countries stems from their psychological vulnerabilities. Several communication strategies are suggested to counter IS propaganda.
Three American women were arrested last month for terrorist-related activities in connection with the Islamic State (IS), two in New York, and a third from Philadelphia. Besides these some 550 women from several Western countries are reported to have travelled to Iraq and Syria to join IS ranks. These suggest that IS has managed to win a significant following among many young Muslim women in the West.
Another significant phenomenon is that many of these women are educated, come from middle-class families, are well-integrated within their societies, and have similar socio-economic backgrounds, such as four British Muslim women who covertly travelled to Syria to join IS.
These examples belie the long held assumption that young persons from impoverished backgrounds have a higher chance of being influenced and radicalised by IS’ brand of violent extremism. In fact research has shown that IS supporters and sympathisers, regardless of gender, tend to be well-educated, young, social media savvy and socially-mobile. Why does IS appeal to this demographic?
… Dymples Leong is a Research Analyst at the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS), a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
CENS / Online
Last updated on 16/11/2015