The Women of ISIS: Background information when reading The Spymaster of Baghdad

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The Spymaster of Baghdad

A True Story of Bravery, Family, and Patriotism in the Battle against ISIS

by Margaret Coker

The Spymaster of Baghdad by Margaret Coker X
The Spymaster of Baghdad by Margaret Coker
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  • Published:
    Feb 2021, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Peggy Kurkowski
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The Women of ISIS

This article relates to The Spymaster of Baghdad

Known for its brutal track record of executions and torture of hostages and civilians (including women and children), some may find it surprising that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadist group attracts a fair number of female recruits. While there are mitigating factors that vary for each woman, for many the appeal seems to lie (somewhat ironically for a group so harshly restrictive of women) in the increased level of agency that membership in this organization can provide.

According to the London School of Economics (LSE) Middle East Centre, as of July 2018 there were over 4,700 female members of ISIS. Among the myriad jihadist movements and groups formed and proliferating over the last two decades, ISIS has proven to be the most popular among potential female recruits. In research published in 2019, the Lowy Institute reports that since the establishment of ISIS in 2014, "15 per cent of voluntary migrants to the caliphate have been women."

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