Isis jihadist brides aren't 'naive' victims and knew what they were doing, say experts

ISIS jihadist brides aren't naive women lured to Syria but often have stronger ideological conviction than their male counterparts, a new study has revealed.

Experts in Norway found that while women are often portrayed as having been tricked or lured into fleeing their homes, they are actually motivated by the same idealism attributed to men.

Research published in Norwegian journal Nytt norsk tidsskrift found the ideological conviction of women who fled their homes to join IS was often much stronger than men who did the same.

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BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout still taken from CCTV issued by the Metropolitan Police of east London schoolgirl Shamima Begum, going through security at Gatwick airport, before catching a flight to Turkey in 2015 to join the Islamic State group, she is now heavily pregnant and wants to come home.
BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout file still taken from CCTV issued by the Metropolitan Police of (left to right) 15-year-old Amira Abase, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Shamima Begum before catching a flight to Turkey in 2015 to join the Islamic State group, Shamima Begum is now heavily pregnant and wants to come home.
BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout photo issued by the Metropolitan Police of east London schoolgirl Shamima Begum, who left Britain as a 15-year-old to join the Islamic State group and is now heavily pregnant and wants to come home.
Sahima Begum (sister of Shamima Begum) and Abase Hussen (father of Amira Abase ) leave the Houses of Parliament in London, after giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee after three schoolgirls are feared to have joined Islamic State in war-torn Syria.
Handout comp of stills taken from CCTV issued by the Metropolitan Police of (left to right) Kadiza Sultana,16, Shamima Begum,15 and 15-year-old Amira Abase going through security at Gatwick airport, before they caught their flight to Turkey on Tuesday. The three schoolgirls believed to have fled to Syria to join Islamic State.
The famiiles of Amira Abase and Shamima Begum after being interviewed by the media at New Scotland Yard, central London, as the relatives of three missing schoolgirls believed to have fled to Syria to join Islamic State have pleaded for them to return home.
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 10 : In this photo taken from video, Shamima Begum's sister Sahima Begum attends an evidence session at Parliaments Home Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons, on three girls who are believed to have travelled to Syria to join Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) in London, England on March 10, 2015. (Photo by House of Commons/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 10 : In this photo taken from video, (L-R) Kadiza Sultana's Cousin Fahmida Aziz, Shamima Begum's sister Sahima Begum, Amira Abase's father Hussen Abase and Lawyer Tasnime Akunjee representing the families of the three schoolgirls missing in Syria attend an evidence session at Parliaments Home Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons, on three girls who are believed to have travelled to Syria to join Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) in London, England on March 10, 2015. (Photo by House of Commons/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Urging people not to be "blinded by the image of the naive jihadist bride", Professor Brynjar Lia, professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oslo in Norway, said: "The ideological aspect was important for many of those who went.

"This was not just about women who became part of something that they did not understand the extent of. To many, idealism and a strong desire to help Muslims in Syria were their main reasons for going."

Shamima BegumThe research comes after jihadist bride Shamima Begum was found in a refugee camp in Syria four years after after leaving her home in Bethnal Green to join IS, sparking anger over her apparent lack of remorse.

Begum is one of many female sympathisers from across the world who travelled to Iraq and Syria.

Prof Lia said women followed ISIS via their own media channels, especially by communicating with other women who had already gone to Iraq and Syria and while some created a "romantic image" of life there, others were "brutally honest about life's harsh realities but described an experience of sisterhood and solidarity in the struggle and self-sacrifice".

MOMBASA, KENYA - MARCH 30: Three women on Monday were brought before a court in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa on March 30, 2015 after having been arrested by security forces at the border with Somalia for allegedly planning to travel to Syria. The three young women, one Tanzanian and two Kenyans, were arrested on Saturday near El Wak, a Kenyan town less than 10km from the Somali border. (Photo by Yassin Juma/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)He said many women were helped to go, with communities making their journey easier.

One expert who had interviewed a number of captured ISIS fighters found the motivation of men who joined up to be more shallow than women.

David Hansen, a researcher at the University College of Norwegian Correctional Service, said: "To begin with, they give some statements about defending Islam and the prophet's honour, but this is a superficial approach to a politicised religion.

"They have been looking for an extreme community and found one that was accessible to him.

"The women seemed much more ideologically motivated. They had specific plans about state building, about creating a nation, and they planned several generations ahead.

"The men I have spoken to went there to die. They did not think they would return to Norway.

"Several of the male foreign fighters that have returned home are serving prison sentences of approximately seven years.

"These sentences are much longer than what foreign fighters have got previously, and this makes the women reluctant to go home,"

Professor Lia added that the women who joined ISIS in Iraq and Syria were not merely bystanders but some were active in the front line.

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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