Perhaps the term “sexlamism” best describes the dogma of these terror groups due to the presence of institutionalised sexism and/or sexual violence, along with the sexual motivation that plays a crucial role in their recruitment. The governance of Daesh is deeply sexualised. Men are given the provision of Daesh’s lustrous heaven upon joining, with wives and slaves in ample supply, sins legitimised. Supposed martyrdom is encouraged with the distant mirage of making love to seventy-two hoors in paradise. They believe, however, that being killed by a woman will deprive them of their imaginative sensuous paradise, and they will perish in hell. Thus, the hatred of women has proven to be largely beneficial for the Kurdish army, as the Women’s Protection Units, an all women faction of the YPG which is estimated to be 10,000 troops strong, is fighting ISIS to re-take territory in north-eastern Syria. It has therefore helped them win victories.
Their ideology of “sexlamism” encompasses abuse against homosexuals, transsexual people or people of other orientations and religions. Not only is it prevalent in terror groups, but it’s also legalised in some countries such as Saudi Arabia, where everyday sexism determines the political discourse. Some examples in Saudi Arabia include victims of rape being punished rather than the offenders. This notion also infers a racist doctrine that views the world in a binary – the Muslims vs. the Infidels. These “infidels” are perceived as being sexually immoral and looked down as being too liberal on women. The illusion of an Islamic Caliphate is also entwined in this seductive textual interpretation to unite the Muslim ummah into one nation.
Nonetheless, Sexlamists in their private lives are obsessed with pornography (in a February 17, 2015 article, New York Post reported that Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden found a fairly extensive stash of modern pornography in his possession), they communicate through it (media sources reported that terrorist cells embedded secret coded messages into shared pornography and onto pedophile websites) and justify their own salacious carnal practices on religious grounds. Al-Qaeda leaders, such as Osama Bin Laden and Anwar Al-waki, had also indulged in notorious promiscuity. Adultery and fornication are strictly prohibited in Islam, but in terror groups abhorrent sexual practices reign supreme. Daesh, for instance, has issued fatwas justifying rapes of Yazidi women to make them Muslims. Rape is the mechanism of Daesh to achieve their strategic objectives, since it humiliates and shames respective communities.
Daesh also sells Yazidi women held as captives in the slave market, where they are exhibited naked and priced according to their physique. Women are publicly gang raped and families and communities forced to comply with their code of conduct. Sexism dominates internal organisational structure of the Sexlamist groups where men occupy leadership positions; women on the contrary are placed in authority only over women to moralise their behaviour. The women in these groups serve patriarchal figures who protect the patriarchal misogynist structure within the organisation.
The issue of women’s rights, victimisation of women in terror groups gets sullied in terrorist debates. Pornography is rarely discussed in counter terrorism narrative, even though evidence suggests that increased consumption of pornography might cause radicalisation, it is a rare issue in the security discourse.
QotD: “Misogyny: The spirit of terrorism”