NBC News carried a special profile report on July 8, describing the actions of two young teen girls who have joined a growing trend of romanticism mixed with an alluring ideology. Writes NBC:
The sixteen-year-old twins slipped out of their beds in the middle of the night, grabbing passports and a few possessions. With that they were gone, hopping a flight from Britain to Turkey and sparking fears they were lost to a troubling and growing sisterhood: Jihadi brides.
Since the civil war in Syria erupted in 2011, numerous reports have surfaced of Western women traveling to marry Islamist fighters. Two Somali sisters from Norway reportedly took the same route as the teens who disappeared from England’s northern city of Manchester this week, flying to Turkey and disappearing along the border with Syria.
Haras Rafiq, from QuilliamFoundation.org, commented on this growing fascination of extremism affecting Western women. Quilliam’s web site says they are “the world’s first counter-extremism think tank set up to address the unique challenges of citizenship, identity, and belonging in a globalised world.”
“It’s a phenomenon that’s been going on for awhile,” said Rafiq. “It’s been going on since the beginning of the conflict and before that in Afghanistan and other places.”
Indeed, NBC noted that after the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) announced they had formed their own Islamic state, “the Sunni extremist group put out the call for doctors and others to help set up infrastructure.”
On that, Rafiq commented: “Of course when building a state, what better way to build a state for longevity than to have families. To have families you need women to come over as well… Psychologically some of them who believe in this particular theology and ideology now will feel it’s incumbent on them to go – and also that it’s not just to go and fight and satisfy the needs of Jihadi soldiers.”
Some women are not just traveling to marry or support the cause. They are taking up arms. But world leaders are urging caution against getting ensnared as an ISIS “fangirl.”
But just last week, Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Peter Fahy warned young women against becoming brainwashed by “perverted messages” and traveling to the Mideast to become “jihad brides.”
The Daily Mail out of the UK said the two British twin teens mentioned at the outset of the NBC article were among the top 20 students academically at their Manchester school. Salma and Zahra Halane evidently phoned their mother to tell her they are “not coming back.” It appears they followed in the steps of their older brother, who also left the UK to join ISIS fighters.
The Daily Mail reports that “officers are investigating how the girls funded their trip, over fears they may have been bankrolled by Jihadi fighters who want them as their wives.”