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Multi-Faceted Roles of Women Inside Al-Qaeda

NCJ Number
Journal of National Defense Studies Issue: 6 Dated: May 2008 Pages: 139-176
Date Published
May 2008
38 pages
This paper explores the multifaceted roles of women in the al-Qaeda movement, with acknowledgement of the importance of their roles as ideological supporter and operational facilitator for the long-term maintenance and ideological motivation of al-Qaeda.
Women’s supportive and ideological role in the al-Qaeda movement is argued as reasons why more women are not carrying out suicide attacks. It is argued that women associated with al-Qaeda follow a gender-specific interpretation of the radical ideology, the female Jihad, meaning that the women act by supporting their male relatives, educating their children in Salafist ideology, and in facilitating terrorist operations. Because male terrorists are more subject to arrest as suicide bombers, and often die in attacks, women are in a position to provide continuity, handle the financial issues of the organization, and provide moral and ideological support by educating children in the “right” belief. The purpose of this paper is to explore and analyze the multifaceted roles of women in the al-Qaeda movement. It analyzes the ideological concept for the women involved in al-Qaeda, reviews the online activity of radical women, explains the notion of “sisterhoods,” considers the role of women as operational facilitators and organizational supporters and explains their role as suicide bombers. Figures, notes, and references

Date Published: May 1, 2008