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Promises of paradise?: A study on official ISIS-propaganda targeting women
Swedish National Defence College.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011 close to 30 000 foreign recruits from more than 100countries have migrated to the area of Iraq and Syria in support of the terrorist organization this thesiswill refer to as ISIS. Among those traveling is a historically unprecedented number of women. Whywomen are drawn to violent Islamic extremist groups is rather unexplored. Through a qualitative textanalysis of official ISIS-propaganda this thesis investigates what promises the organization makes towomen, examining pull-factors derived from social media studies of female migration to ISIS-heldterritories. The thesis concludes that women are promised the possibility to fulfill their religious duty,become important state builders, experience deep and meaningful belonging and sisterhood, to live anexciting adventure and find true romance, as well as being increasingly influential is also promised.Official propaganda does not make explicit promises to women of exerting violence. A secondarypurpose of the thesis is to assess the potential risk that ISIS-affiliated women returning to the West,pose to society. This thesis further concludes that women who gain limited knowledge of handlingweapons and explosives in ISIS-territory are not probable participants in armed terrorist attacksdirected towards the West. However, through increased social networks acquired while in Syria orIraq, women may play an important supporting role in the process of planning, crowd funding andexecuting attacks. Based on these findings the thesis provides some gender specific policy proposalsintended to counter the recruitment of women to ISIS.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 53 p.
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-6222OAI: diva2:942997
Subject / course
Statsvetenskap med inriktning mot krishantering och säkerhet (Master's programme in Politics and War)
Educational program
Master's programme in Politics and War
Available from: 2016-06-27 Created: 2016-06-27 Last updated: 2016-06-27Bibliographically approved

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Swedish National Defence College
Political Science

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