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Beyond the Jihadi Bride: Our Distorted Understanding of Women’s Motivations to Join Extremist Organizations

This article aims to first, examine the growing phenomenon of female foreign fighters from the West to Iraq and Syria and second, discuss possible motivations and situational factors that contribute to the influx of women into terrorist organizations. Within that discussion, we seek to distinguish personal and private motivations from political and pragmatic ones. Finally, we briefly discuss how women might shape the future of the Islamic State and how situational factors present in certain countries, like Jordan or Lebanon for example, may make its female population more or less susceptible to joining the Islamic state.