Sexual jihad: propaganda or truth?

Abdulrahman al-Rashed
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During the confrontation between American troops and al-Qaeda in Iraq, a Saudi divorcee and her children disappeared from their house in the kingdom. A few weeks later, security forces found out that the woman had joined al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. At first, no one believed that a woman from such a conservative society could leave her home and family to travel to a battlefield. Some even refused to believe this story altogether. However, it later turned out that she volunteered to join the organization. The move was organized by al-Qaeda affiliates in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. She and her children crossed the borders using forged Yemeni passports and went from Sanaa to Syria, from where she was smuggled into Iraq by al-Qaeda operatives.

Years later, it turned out that the woman went there to marry the organization’s chief, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He married her and divorced her a few days later. She then married another, and another, and was ultimately killed along with thousands of others who died during violence in Iraq.

This is a true story that reflects the ability of sheikhs and terrorist leaders to brainwash the region’s youth and push them towards killing themselves. It also highlights their ability to brainwash women into working as maids and slave girls.


Terrorism advocates do not hesitate to promote certain beliefs for the sake of marketing their products

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Although some thought that he had lost his mind, Tunisia’s Interior Minister Lotfi bin Jiddo wasn’t wrong when he warned that there are Tunisian women going to Syria to work as sex slaves for the fighters. Jiddo said: “there are women who went to Syria out of their belief of the sexual jihad fatwa. They performed sexual acts with tens of men, and some of them returned [home] pregnant.”

The issue is not strange. If young men are going there to die in the name of religion, it is not unlikely that women will go there to serve them sexually under the false belief that this is a form of jihad.

A business

Terrorism advocates are similar to some market traders. They do not hesitate to promote certain beliefs for the sake of marketing their products. Al-Qaeda used all means, including sex, to recruit young men and women from anywhere they have a recruitment network. They promise them martyrdom, gardens of delight and 72 virgins after death and they seduce them with female slaves while alive. Algerians suffered from these barbarous groups for two decades. They took refuge in the mountains and then attacked towns and city suburbs in order to loot, kill and kidnap women to use them as sex slaves and maids.

Let us remember that raping the mind poses the biggest threat. It is through this act that brainwashed people can be directed to commit any crime. These victims of brainwashing enter Syria, where people are either besieged or pursued and the world has given up on them. They have deceived many people into joining them under the slogan of fighting the Syrian regime. People have thus found that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is not any less evil than the Assad regime which they revolted against.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on September 25, 2013.


Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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