A group of dedicated Tunisian women have made their way to civil war-torn Syria to in pursuit of “sex jihad.” This noble mission involves providing comfort to Islamist rebels who seek to overthrow the Assad regime, reports international news channel France 24.
“They have sexual relations with 20, 30, 100” militants, Tunisia’s Interior Minister Lotfi ben Jeddou charged in front of the country’s constitutional assembly on Thursday. Jeddou said that many of the female sex warriors are minors.
“After the sexual liaisons they have there in the name of ‘jihad al-nikah,’ they come home pregnant,” Ben Jeddou explained.
‘Jihad al-nikah’ is an Arabic term meaning sexual holy war. It permits non-marital and extramarital sex for Muslims. Some Sunni Muslim Salafists consider it a legitimate act in certain circumstances. Participants enter a “temporary marriage” that is dissolved soon after the deed is done.
A prominent Saudi cleric, Sheikh Mohamed al-Arifi, was allegedly the first to exhort young Islamic women to lay themselves down for the cause. But other religious authorities have decried the practice.
“Thirteen young girls have been sent [to Syria] for ‘intercourse marriage,’” said Othman Battikh, the former top religious cleric in Tunisia, in April. “What is this? This is called prostitution. It is moral and educational corruption.”
Jeddou didn’t provide a number of alleged pregnancies.
The minister also did not say how many Tunisian women he believes have headed to the Syrian front lines to offer sexual healing. He did suggest that tighter border controls have prevented 6,000 generally young Tunisians from going to Syria.
Thousands of people from countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa have journeyed to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria in the name of jihad to participate in various rebel campaigns.
Prostitution is illegal in Tunisia but also somewhat tolerated by authorities. In 2011, a group of Islamic fundamentalists attempted to burn down some brothels, according to The Telegraph.
The CIA’s World Factbook notes that Tunisia is 98 percent Arab and 98 percent Muslim.