The disappearance of three schoolgirls in February 2015 hit the headlines, with it thought that Kadiza Sultana (16), Shamima Begum (16) and Amira Abase (15) had gone to Turkey to join Islamic State (IS) militants by slipping across the Syrian border.
A “growing sisterhood is being cultivated,” Razia Iqbal declared this week on the BBC website. An estimated 200 to 300 European Muslim girls have made the same journey as the three London teenagers.
Iqbal’s interviews with mothers of young women who had made the trek to the conflict zone produced evidence that IS is using love as a recruitment tool. One mother said her daughter was lured to Syria by a man she claimed to be in love with.
“We should, I suppose, remember it’s a ‘state’ that is being created. And it needs loyal subjects, not just fighters,” Iqbal wrote on February 28.
It’s difficult to imagine IS recruiting with more conventional techniques. Due a (likely) complete lack of governance and reasonable accountability, and a backdrop of a chaotic warzone, it can hardly convince would-be candidates of job security, or decent career progression.
We feel for these girls and the “vortex into which they have disappeared.”