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Women Suicide Bombers On The Rise Don’t Have Much Use For 72 Virgins. Here’s What They Get Instead

The number of female suicide bombers is on the rise and coincides with the ascendance of organizations like Islamic State, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab and others.

Men apparently receive 72 virgins for engaging in suicide missions. Women, according to Palestinian-Jordanian cleric Sheikh Mashhoor bin Hasan Al-Salman, will each receive one young man with “a penis that never bends.”

“The Prophet Muhammad said: ‘The dwellers of Paradise have clothing that never wears out, youth that never wanes, and a penis that never bends.’ So, she can have sex with this strong man, but she cannot have multiple men taking turns with her,” Al-Salman said in a video earlier this year.

The University of Chicago’s Project On Security and Terrorism recently opened its database chronicling attacks from 1982 to 2015, indicating that 2015, in particular, has been an earth-shattering year for terrorist activity. Females committed a total of 32 attacks, which is slightly over double the amount of attacks from 2014 and five times the number of attacks since 2013.

In 2015, female attacks were responsible for 444 deaths, compared to 174 in 2014 and 51 in 2013.

Although women participating in terrorist organizations and undertaking suicide missions is nothing new, what is noteworthy is that this phenomenon is increasing, prompting Islamic clerics to address the thorny issue of what exactly these women receive as compensation in the afterlife. From 1985 to 2006, women accounted for 220 suicide attacks, that is, 15 percent of the total. The top three locations where females struck were Sri Lanka, Israel and Palestinian territories.

Part of the reason for an increase in female suicide bombers is that they generate less suspicion than men, and so can move closer to the target without as much opposition. Since they’re traditionally viewed as non-combatants, they have a much greater chance of taking out high-value targets.

The use of females also generates considerable media attention and can draw attention to the cause behind the terrorist attack.

Wide-ranging instability allows for non-state actors to take advantage of power vacuums.

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