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Photo: Brian Dell  (Wikimedia Commons); Licence: CC0 1.0  

It's that time for another of E&M's editors to suggest their favourite reads: Chris Ruff reflects on what the female involvement in the Islamic State could represent and how far did social media impact the british elections.

Chris, Heart / Legs editor

Chris

The women of IS

A powerful article that caught my eye this week is the latest in the New York Times' "State of Terror" series, focusing on the story of three young girls from London who flew to Syria to join the Islamic State in February this year.

The long read has numerous strands to it, including the identity dilemmas of second generation Muslim immigrants in Britain and other Western countries, and the tactics used by IS to lure young women from their safe homes in the West to their violent and dangerous "Caliphate" in the Syrian desert.

But what struck me most was the links to female empowerment and the "twisted form of feminism" that the IS female brigades represent. Of the 4000 foreign fighters who have joined the movement, 550 are estimated to be women and girls. Yet what is clear is that the phenomenon is misunderstood and authorities still don’t know how they should deal with it. One cannot help but notice that the fundamentalist Islamic critique – young Western girls being sexualised from a young age – has some truth to it. But their solution – the complete covering of the face and head and a life of purity and devotion to one’s husband, not to mention actively supporting a murderous regime – is an anathema to our liberal Western values

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