Thursday, September 25, 2014

ISIL’s "Caliphate": the Gender Aspects

[Update 12 Feb 2015]   Alongside the English-language Dabiq, ISIL has launched a new magazine series in French, called Dâr al-Islâm; the second issue came out today.  Neither number displays a single photograph of any women, whether veiled or unveiled.   Today’s issue is devoted largely to lauding the murderer Amedy Coulibaly (whom they dub with a nom de guerre,  “Abu-`Abdallah al-Ifriqi” -- i.e. ‘the African’).  Along with that, they publish a supposed interview with his consort, who fled France and is now in Syria.  Not only do they not show her photo -- they do not even give her name, whether the Franco-Maghrebi one of Hayat Boumedienne, or some Islamised equivalent.  Given what a twisted path she has taken in her life, there could have been much material of interest;  but there is none, just boilerplate generic propaganda.

Sexy assassin Leila Khaled
And now:

La divine Bernadine
[Below, the original post.]

The Islamic State has garnered much publicity over its treatment of non-Muslim women -- nay, has even sought the same, in its magazine Dabiq and in other public pronouncements.   Such practices are historically not unknown in that part of the world -- an example at random:

The horrors inflicted on the Armenians  are some of the worst of any war. … Kurdish tribesmen looted the columns of survivors, and carried off marriageable girls slung over their saddles.
-- Nicole Pope & Hugh Pope, Turkey Unveiled (1997), p.  43

What’s new is  boasting about it on the world stage, and rubbing Western noses in it.



In discussing the video of ISIL rule in Raqqah (Syria; now impacted by the airstrikes), we mentioned the curious detail that women and girls were almost nowhere to be seen.    Indeed, the whole aura of that group oddly resembles that of bare-chested Putin and his eastern-European proto-fascist death-squad admirers, of unbridled hypermasculinism -- though, in the case of the Islamic State, without the leather-bar aesthetic that prevails among many of the Mad Max warriors in eastern Ukraine.


A reader of Le Figaro just posted this comment:

Les soldats du califat vont être inquiets car les Emirats Arabes Unis envoient leurs avions avec la première femme pilote de chasse ! comme les combattantes Kurdes : ils n'iront pas au paradis s'ils sont tués par une femme ! bravo !

A bit of research confirmed this, in the case of the Peshmerga:

المقتول على يد امرأة لا يدخل الجنة!
وجود عدد من النساء في صفوف البشمرجا يحظى باهتمام اعلامي عالمي واسع، وجزء من الاخبار والمقالات ادعت ان قوات داعش تخشى هؤلاء النسوة المقاتلات لان مقاتلي داعش يعتقدون ان الموت على يد امراة سيمنع دخولهم الجنة

And, confirmation of the UAE angle, along with portraits of the lovely takfiricidal aviatrix:

I'm in your airspace ... messing with your martyrdom  

[Update]  She is quickly becoming something of a celebrity in the Arab world.
But before people start chattering about how enlightened the UAE is, in allowing female combat-pilots, notice that her own family has already disowned her:

[Update November 2015]  More fetching yet than Maryam al-Mansuri, is the Kurdish sharpshooter Rehane,  said to have slain no fewer than a hundred men of ISIL.
(This motif echoes that of another centicidal hero, the pre-Islamic poet al-Shanfarâ’, who swore he’d slay that number yet died having dispatched but ninety-nine:  until one further foeman casually kicked the hero’s bleaching skull -- from which a bone-splinter entered his foot, occasioning a lethal gangrene, thus posthumously fulfilling the prophecy.  -- Both legends have about equal claim to credence.)

ISIL, in turn, claims to have beheaded her, offering the following as visual proof:


Even before the emergence of Islamic State, small numbers of women — mostly Europeans — began arriving in parts of Syria as wives of foreign fighters, which "encouraged the original image of Syria being a five-star jihad".
One online poster, Umm Ubaydah, claims to have traveled alone to Syria to take care of her husband and fellow Islamic State fighters. Three days after American reporter Steven Sotloff was executed, one person asked on her Tumblr page, where she occasionally writes in Swedish, what she thought of his execution. "I wish I did it," she answered simply.
The recruitment of women defies the conservative Muslim belief that a woman needs permission from her male guardian to travel or marry. Recruiters insist that the obligation to live in the caliphate trumps the requirement for permission.
Women formed the Khansa Militia, an armed morality squad whose job one anti-Islamic State activist summed up as "detaining and whipping."
During one raid, the militia detained several high school students and teachers for such transgressions as wearing niqabs that were too transparent, having visible eyebrows or wearing a hair clip under the hijab. Each one was whipped 30 times.

[Update 26 September 2014]  The meme replicates:

There may, however, be less to all this, than meets the eye.
More, when I know more.


The whole affair is turning into a sort of amazonian-warrior porn.  So meanwhile, enjoy these dick-stiffening images:

See my big gun?  How big is yours?

And even, with the decapitation motif so dear to ISIL itself:

Said Holofernes to Judith, “You want a piece of me?”
She took him at his word.
For the story of a modern Judith:

For a frenzied popular hypopornographic celebration of it all:

[Update 26 September 2014]
Frauen wurden von den Kämpfern des Islamischen Staats gerne auch vergewaltigt, versklavt oder zwangsverheiratet. Die überflüssigen Männer mit ihrer gebrochenen Identität brauchen die rohe Macht über die Frauen, die sie auch mit brutaler Gewalt gegenüber allen demonstrieren, die nicht ihrem Weltbild angehören. Erschreckend ist, dass auch junge Männer und einige Frauen aus dem Westen der alten religiösen Ideologie verfallen, die auch die Geschlechterverhältnisse zementiert. Die Angst der Männer vor neuen Beziehungen mit den Frauen scheint größer als der Tod zu sein. Lieber sprengt man sich in die Luft, als gleichberechtigt mit unverhüllten Frauen umzugehen
-- Florian Rötzer 26.09.2014

[Update 27 Sept 2014]  The following  article has just appeared:

The analysis is mostly excellent;  but its justified critique of the killer-aviatrix frenzy   wraps itself protectively in the epithets "racist" and "sexist" (even "misogynist") to characterize what is going on -- labels that are always safe to brandish.  But the reality is quite otherwise.  Those who gloat at the idea of Islamist fighters dying miserably beneath Maryam's missiles and bombs, under a supposedly (but falsely so supposed) Islamic doctrine concerning martyrdom, are sliming a religion, not a race -- something that's pretty cool to do  on much of the Left (though they are more comfortable sliming the Catholics).   And the whole Maryam-celebratory imagery of a woman humiliating men  is clearly misandrist and autogynophilic, not misogynist.

It is also a bit mischievous;  vide the incident in Tunisia, that launched the whole ill-starred Arab Spring.


Meanwhile, groups like Femen launch provocation after provocation.

Such acts are comparable to that idiot preacher in (where else) Florida, threatening repeatedly to burn the Koran.

The next one is too gross to reproduce;  but if you can stand to see how far these feminists will go (answer:  No limit), here they are purportedly menstruating and defecating on the Islamic flag:
[link deleted, for safety's sake]

Since the flag itself contains the word for God, this goes far, far beyond those Danish cartoons.  People may very well die as a direct result of such provocations.  Ce sont des agentes provocatrices, pour ainsi dire.


[Update 4 October 2014]  And now this:

[Update 15 October 2014]  There is a mirror-image duality or (anti-)parallelism, between the organizations Femen and ISIL:  each is at a stretch, to top yesterday’s atrocity with some new one.   It is grand guignol on the world stage,  provocations that simply dare the rest of the world to react.

France has finally got a bit of gumption up, refraining (supposedly) from continuing to fund terrorist groups via massive multimillion euro ransoms (though that, only after having been “outed” by the NYTimes), and purporting to join the actual fight against ISIL (though so far they don’t seem to have done much).   Before the spectre of Femen, however, the Hollandaise socialos quake and quiver.

Éloïse Bouton comparaît mercredi devant la justice pour «exhibition sexuelle». En décembre 2013, elle avait fait intrusion seins nus dans l'église de la Madeleine et simulé un avortement avant de souiller les lieux d'urine.
Elle termine son «happening» à la sauce Femen en urinant devant une assemblée interdite. Sur sa poitrine est inscrit un message en référence au «manifeste des 343 salopes», en faveur de l'avortement. «Noël est annulé! Du Vatican à Paris. Le relais international de Femen contre les campagnes anti-avortement menées par le lobby catholique continue, la sainte mère Éloïse vient d'avorter de l'embryon de Jésus sur l'autel de la Madeleine», communique alors le mouvement Femen sur les réseaux sociaux.

The mealy-mouthed charges here are merely for “exhibitionism”;  but you can be certain that, had the target of this vicious display been Judaism or Islam, the perpetrator would already be in prison, denounced from all sides.

I tried looking up this story in Google News, but all it returned were French accounts:  the anglophone media are so far apparently mum (or else  for some reason  refuses to index the English media that do reference the story, content to return zero  rather than let them have their say.

[Update 20 December 2014] A “lone wolf” targeting women:

L'homme abattu aujourd'hui après avoir agressé un policier à l'arme blanche au commissariat de Joué-lès-Tours (Indre-et-Loire) était un islamiste connu de la DGSI pour "ses positions radicales." L'homme était originaire du Burundi et avait des antécédents judiciaires.

De source policière, l'individu serait entré dans le commissariait avec une arme blanche et l'intention d'agresser les policiers. Il a hurlé "Allah Akbar" ("Dieu est le plus grand" en arabe), avant de blesser une femme policière au visage. 
-- Le Figaro

Update 16 Jan 2015] An interesting wife's-eye take, from Madame Figaro:


[Update 26 January 2015]  Today the Los Angeles Times reports that, in ISIL-ruled Mosul, “Militants have instructed pregnant women that it is haram, or unholy, to give birth at a hospital, so they have had to use midwives at home.”  This, however, is likely not out of some eco-friendly feminist-organic concern for women’s traditions : concern over a male obstetrician having contact with a female parturient  may play a role, as well as more pragmatic considerations of prioritizing available resources:

"Entire hospitals have been commandeered for the [jihadi] fighters," he said. "I tried to take my son because he was sick to the hospital, but they said, 'Get out of here! This is for fighters!' and they gave me 20 lashes of the whip."

At the same time,  ISIL is pushing front-and-center  a woman hitherto obscure:

Subterraneously beneath the confessional currents,  and parallel to them (like the river Styx), a deep contention over gender is playing itself out -- the more obscurely, as in part unconscious  even to the combatants.
Thus, the Kurds frontpage their amazons -- too marginal to affect the course of actual battle, but key on this other parallel plane -- and ISIL replies with a Pasionaria of their own -- though one notably shopworn (not a real warrior or even rabble-rouser, but a suicide-bomber -- and a failed one at that).
That is not entirely a move aimed at the Western media:  Salafi jihadis really do have a peculiar horror at the thought of Muslim women in captivity.

[Update 6 February 2015]
Produced by ISIL’s Al-Khansaa Brigade, the manifesto enumerates the ways Muslim women should behave in ISIL-controlled territory. These ideas, originally written in Arabic, stand in stark contrast to much of ISIL's rhetoric in English. Many European women fighting with the group have emphasized the more "adventurous" aspects of joining its cause. The guide's sober picture of what is expected of Muslim women exposes as fabrications the social media accounts posted by many Western female ISIL fighters. The treatise was disseminated in Arabic and not in English, despite the presence of English speakers in the Al-Khansaa Brigade.

[Update 1 March 2015]  A lot of people found this Dakota Johnson SNL skit almost unmouthably offensive.  It's actually pretty bland.
Indeed, to the extent that the sketch is deft, this relies precisely on its decision to remain low-key, about a subject inherently inflammatory, the reality being too over-the-top for satirical exaggeration.

It is not only in the lands of the Caliphate that the politics of gender leaves something to be desired:

Vergewaltigungen werden im Osten von Kongo-Kinshasa häufig verübt. Aber diesen Frühling nahmen sie in der Provinz Orientale sprunghaft zu.

[Update 22 March 2015]
As you probably heard, the social-media mavens in ISIL have just put out a kill list  of 100 service members, complete with name, photos, and addresses.   All in a day’s work for the Islamic State.  But here’s the oddity:

Several women are included on the list, but their faces in the photos were blurred.

Not: “blurry”;  but deliberately blurred.  

If you pore through ISIS publications, you will notice that women seldom appear in them:  and if they do, any hijabless face is blurred-out.  (Oddly enough, politically-correct European publications sometimes do the same thing;  an example here.)  The reason is, the Caliphate deems barefaced display an affront against female modesty.  (For an amusing account of the contortions this leads to, read the account by Morten Storm of his efforts to find a wife for Yemeni terror-chieftain Anwar al-`Awlaqi.)  And, even though the whole point of the hit-list is to get those people killed, and blurring the photo on a Wanted poster is comically counter-productive, still, that is still a line they will not cross:  They’ll be happy to kill you, ladies, but they won’t show your face.

[Update 23 March 2015]

[Update 31 March 2015]  ISIL just released the latest issue of Dabiq.  It contains an article written by an Arab Muslim woman, extolling the Caliphate as a terrific place to be a girl.  At one point, upbraiding men who don’t join the Islamic State, she expresses mixed feelings about her Kurdish warrior sisters, in this interesting imprecation:   

“May Allah disfigure the turbans of the PKK women,
yet they have more manhood than your likes!”

[Update 1 April 2015]

[Update 1 June 2015]  Angling for Hillary Clinton’s endorsement, no doubt:

Irak: Daech autorise les femmes à conduire à Mossoul
Rien dans l'islam n'interdit aux femmes de conduire, assure un cadre djihadiste. Une façon de «ringardiser» l'Arabie saoudite voisine, où prendre le volant de son véhicule reste prohibé pour la gent féminine.

One reader suspects a less generous motive:

Ils pourront les former pour faire des attentats à la voiture piégée.

[Update 30 June 2015]  To some extent, the public impression that violence against women is more prominent in Daesh than in any other group, is skewed by the fact that, whatever they do, they boast about and publicize.   Meanwhile, in darker corners of the world, even worse crimes are perpetrated by groups that shun the light of publicity.   Here is just the latest:

[Update 5 Aug 2015]

In a You-Tube video of a militant Salafist demonstration in Bonn, posted in February of 2015, the remarkable German convert and Hass-Prediger  finishes his tirade by exhorting the onlookers:  “The Jews say the Prophet [Muhammad] left only girls.  But no!  He left men.” (He adds in Arabic:  khalaf rijâl.)
Meaning:  Biologically, the Prophet had, as a matter of historical fact, only daughters (that survived infancy);  but as a legacy, he left men -- warriors.

[Update 10 Sept 2015]

Britain: Women terror suspects hit record levels because of Isil lure

[Update 21 Nov 2015]

The New York Times this morning provides an intimate glimpse into the exciting life of the “Daesh dames”:

Dua had only been working for two months with the Khansaa Brigade, the all-female morality police of the Islamic State, when her friends were brought to the station to be whipped.
The police had hauled in two women she had known since childhood, a mother and her teenage daughter, both distraught. Their abayas, flowing black robes, had been deemed too form-fitting.
 “Their abayas really were very tight. I told her it was their own fault; they had come out wearing the wrong thing,” she said. “They were unhappy with that.”
Dua sat back down and watched as the other officers took the women into a back room to be whipped. When they removed their face-concealing niqabs, her friends were also found to be wearing makeup. It was 20 lashes for the abaya offense, five for the makeup, and another five for not being meek enough when detained.

Former member of the Khansaa brigade,
dressed for success

A reader comments:

What an odd article. I began it expecting to feel sympathy, empathy, for these women. I want no part of the vicious xenophobia now spreading throughout the West. I do understand that humans are conditioned by culture and hard circumstance, but what I experienced as I read was a growing impatience and irritation with the shallow, narrow, passive, self-absorbed priorities these women reiterate.

Yazidi peoples are being massacred and their women and children taken into brutal slavery by their husbands' genocidal cult, and they miss Facebook and Evanescence; neighbors are being tortured and killed and their bodies hung in the square, and they're pleased that their future husband has nice eyebrows and provides air conditioning; they seem to join the Morality Police in order to get out of the house and have some power and money (I get that, but something's missing - real moral unease? Guilt rather than just social shame?); they were essentially collaborators. They miss personal freedoms like bikinis, but these are literate women and they sound oddly vague and ambivalent about the worldview of ISIS beyond its intersection with their own missed freedoms and pleasures.

[Update 27 Oct 2015]   “Former Model” speaks out!
Hanna Bohman, a.k.a. Tiger Sun, joined the Yekîneyên Parastina Gel (YPG) women's militia army of the People's Defense Unit, known as the YPJ, in the Kurdish region of Syria.
How is it as a woman fighting with the YPJ?
They're so ahead of us on gender equality. To get equal treatment we [in the West] have to protest and then laws are changed. Over there it is so equal, there is no conscious division, the women are naturally included and work with the men equally at every level—they're in the trenches, they take positions, sometimes they're the only ones fighting. It's just so equal that it's hard to explain. It's more of a matriarchal society, I never felt threatened by the men or objectified.

[Update Dec 2015]

[Update Jan 2016]

Im November 2012 und auch schon zuvor kam es auf dem Tahrirplatz zu Gruppenvergewaltigungen. Verschiedene Frauen wurden von Männergruppen auf dem Platz und in seiner Umgebung öffentlich vergewaltigt. In einem Fall vergingen sich 70 Männer an einer Frau. Die Frauen, die es traf, waren aktiv während der Revolution. Diese Vergewaltigungen geschahen in systematischer Form. Es war ein politisches Zeichen: Die arabische Frau sollte die Öffentlichkeit wieder verlassen. Manche Männer hielten die Frauen fest, andere vergewaltigten sie, dann wurden die Positionen gewechselt. Einige nutzten Werkzeuge oder scharfe Waffen, anderen ihre Finger. Inmitten unseres Platzes, inmitten der hupenden Autos, der Passanten, der Stadt, wurde der Körper der arabischen Frau wieder aufgelöst, so als gehöre er einfach zum öffentlichen Raum, so als sei er beliebig bespielbar, benutzbar, betastbar."
(Tageszeitung vom 25.01.2016)

Update 15 Feb 2016]  The broader cultural background, of which ISIS is but a burning-glass concentration:

[Update 29 May 2016]

Free shipping if U act now !!

“To all the bros thinking about buying a slave, this one is $8,000,” begins the May 20 Facebook posting, which was attributed to an Islamic State fighter who calls himself Abu Assad Almani.

FYI -- “Almani” means ‘German’ in Arabic.

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