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NCJ Number: 218400 Find in a Library
Title: Female Jihad: Al Qaeda's Women
Journal: Studies in Conflict & Terrorism  Volume:30  Issue:5  Dated:May 2007  Pages:397-414
Author(s): Katharina Von Knop
Date Published: May 2007
Page Count: 18
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explores the various roles of women in the al Qaeda organization.
Abstract: The main argument is that although the public generally perceives the role of female terrorists as that of suicide bomber, their role as ideological supporter and operational facilitator is more important for the maintenance of al Qaeda’s operational capabilities and for the ideological motivation of the terrorist group as a whole. Women within al Qaeda define their role through a gender-specific interpretation of the radical ideology, known as “female Jihad.” Given the importance of women to the al Qaeda organization, the author stresses the need for counterterrorism groups to more carefully examine women participants. The primary roles of a female Jihad are: (1) to support their male relatives in their Jihad functions; (2) to educate their children in the principles of al Qaeda’s ideology; and (3) to facilitate terrorist operations when called upon to do so. In fact, the female Jihad role is considered defective when the women follow the male Jihad interpretation by carrying out attacks. The author illustrates how al Qaeda’s best interests are served when women carry out the female Jihad role rather than stepping into the male role of carrying out attacks. While the men may be killed, injured, or arrested carrying out their attacks, the women Jihads are left behind to care for and educate the children in al Qaeda’s ideology and to handle the financial issues governing the organization. In making this argument, the author analyzed the motivation of women participants in terror organizations and the motivation of terrorism organizations to use women for its purposes. Also examined are the female suicide bombers who operate under the umbrella of the al Qaeda organization. Notes
Main Term(s): Females; Terrorist ideologies
Index Term(s): Arab terrorist groups; Counter-terrorism intelligence; Terrorist tactics
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