Why does ISIS recruit Filipina housemaids for their attacks?

ISIS exploits the maids’ economic, legal and social status, tricks them and communicates with them to later use them in violent operations

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Jeddah – Kuwait’s arrest of a Filipina maid on the accusation of belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has brought back the controversy about the tricks and approaches adopted by the extremist organization to recruit maids.

ISIS exploits the maids’ economic, legal and social status, tricks them and communicates with them to later use them in violent operations.

Kuwait said on Friday it arrested a Filipina, Linavi Ozoilo, whom it accused of joining the ISIS group through its affiliate in Libya and who planned to launch an attack. Authorities said she “confessed she was ready to carry out any terrorist attack once circumstances and means were ripe in order to undermine security and stability in Kuwait.”

Saudi Arabia witnessed a similar case in October 2015, when Saudi security forces arrested a Filipina maid identified as Gioi Aban Bali Nang. She was in charge of sewing and preparing explosive belts after being recruited for the organization by an ISIS member called Yasser Mohammed al-Barazi.

Hmoud al-Thayadi, a researcher on terrorism, told Al Arabiya that ISIS tries to diversify its tactics when attracting elements - particularly housemaids - that it recruits to serve its aims.

In the Saudi case, Gioi Aban Bali Nang was recruited by a cell inside Saudi Arabia, Thayadi explained, adding that the cell exploited the fact that she had escaped from her sponsor to recruit her.

In the Kuwaiti case, the housemaid was recruited by the group from outside Kuwait and this is worthy of attention, Thayadi said as her husband was attracted to the group before she arrived in Kuwait and therefore she was also influenced by her husband who went to fight with ISIS in Libya.

Thayadi said ISIS works on exploiting people who have certain circumstances, recruits them and then uses them by providing ideological justifications.

He noted that the danger here lies in the fact that it cannot be predicted who the elements to be recruited will be.

“The organization exploits gaps and weaknesses in society. It does not mind to employ any element that it believes will be of gain to it,” Thayadi said.

According to Thayadi, the role of these elements is often related to logistics. For instance, Lady Joy sewed explosive belts while Linavi Ozoilo was taking photos of sites which the organization wanted to target.

Thayadi said that most of the time, such members do not stay for long in the organization as the latter quickly assigns a mission to them; hence, this calls for social awareness to be able to identify them.

He added that ISIS’ exploitation of weaknesses and gaps in society calls on the latter to be more attentive to any violations which housemaids may commit and also calls on closely monitoring teenagers and resolving any social problems they confront.

He added that ISIS depends on two instinctive aspects, the sexual and the brutal one. The former depends on the idea of slaves and facilitating sexual practices and it’s used to attract young men while the latter depends on violence and the desire to practice it in its worst forms.

This article is also available in Arabic on AlArabiya.net.

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