Love and Jihad. Female Trajectories from North Caucasus to the Islamic State

In: Central Asian Affairs
Author: Denis Sokolov1
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  • 1 Independent scholar, Kiyv, Ukraine,

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In the 2000s, Al-Qaeda, represented by the Caucasus Emirate, took over the first Chechen resistance, as well as local Islamist armed groups in Dagestan and other republics of the North Caucasus. However, a decade later, the Islamic State won the competition with Al-Qaeda, by including the involvement of women in its project. Hundreds of Russian-speaking Muslim women followed men to live by the rules of Islam. Some joined their husbands or children. Others travelled to the Islamic State in pursuit of love and romance with future husbands they had met on the internet. Based on exclusive interviews done with women detained in the Roj detention camp in the Kurdish territories in northeastern Syria near the Iraqi border, this article analyzes some of the trajectories that has pushed young North Caucasian women to the Syrian war theater in the name of love.