Despite its aggressive marketing to lonely young Muslim men in the West, the Islamic State terror group seems to have a problem finding enough wives to meet its recruits’ demand.
A recent series of tweets by a recent Finnish “immigrant” to the group’s territory in Syria inadvertently reveals some of the bureaucratic measures that its pseudo-state has taken to keep its swarms of single jihadis at bay.
As compiled by terrorism researcher Charles Lister, the recruit mentions a “tazkiya” — a legal endorsement of one’s integrity — issued to those who have lived in IS territory for at least six months. Applicants’ credentials are then submitted to single women, who have their pick from among “hundreds” of lonely Islamist fighters.
The recruit describes himself as so “desperate,” in fact, that he adjusts his preferences, writing that “ethnicity won’t matter” and that “my wife can be a bit older and taller than me.”
The reality of the group’s dreary singles market contrasts sharply with the image that it presents. Analysts have remarked that the group’s recruiters focus on disaffected and economically depressed young men, luring them to terrorism with the promise of Islamic governance and social stability, including marriage.
Some English-language supporters of the group on Twitter have bragged of its racial egalitarianism, including the children of mixed-race marriages that were matched after “migrating” to its territory. But besides the Finnish recruit’s reluctant acceptance of an ethnically unfamiliar mate, the group also has a history of assigning its most unpleasant tasks to South Asians and other non-Arabs. (RELATED: Indian ISIS Recruit: They Made Me Clean Jihadi Toilets)
In a February 2015 e-book described as “Lonely Planet: Islamic State,” a member of the group advises prospective female recruits: “If you want to get married, you send in a request. If you don’t want to get married, I don’t think anyone can force you.”
But an investigation of IS materials by analyst Charlie Winter shows that despite attempts to show its women as strong and independent, its practices and ideology groom female recruits for “mundane” lives as wives and mothers. And though it condones a well-publicized all-female brigade for policing other women’s behavior, it otherwise endorses a female “mode of existence that facilitates the violent jihad of men.” (RELATED: Islamic State Uses Female Brigade To Crack Down On Women, Says Activist)
In other words, while Islamic State’s single women may have their pick of desperate young suitors, they don’t have too many options once they settle down with their jihadi husbands.
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