LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Girls may marry at nine, the “most pure” will be wed by 16 or 17 and all women should consider motherhood the purpose of their existence, according to a manifesto attributed to an all-female branch of the Islamic State (IS) militant group.
The Quilliam Foundation, a UK-based anti-terrorism thinktank, said the text states women should be hidden and veiled, stay at home and shun fashion boutiques and beauty salons as the work of the devil.
Produced by the Al-Khanssaa Brigade, the manifesto reveals a more sober picture of what is expected of Muslim women than the accounts of Western female jihadists who have exaggerated their role on social media, the foundation, which translated the document into English, said.
“Just as they have sexed up what it is to be a women living in the so-called caliphate, this document dresses it down. Women, it is unambiguously stated, are homemakers and mothers,” the foundation said in concluding remarks to its translation.
“The matters of adventure and excitement, themes most used by female Western recruiters trying to recruit young girls to IS, are the realm of men,” it added.
Islamic State, an offshoot of al Qaeda, declared an Islamic caliphate across parts of Syria and Iraq last summer. It has killed thousands in what the United Nations has called a reign of terror.
The document, which first appeared last month in Arabic, sets out what is permitted in terms of education and work.
From seven to nine, girls should learn religion, Koranic Arabic and science. From 10 to 12, there should be more studies relating to Islamic sharia law on marriage and divorce in addition to knitting and cooking.
The manifesto indicates that a girl’s education ends at the age of 15.
It states that a woman may leave the house if she going to study theology, if she is a woman doctor or teacher and if it has been ruled by fatwa that she must fight jihad or holy war.
Quilliam Foundation said no mention is made of the abuse of hundreds of women who human rights groups say have been kidnapped, raped, tortured and forced to convert to Islam or marry Islamic State fighters in the group’s drive to create a territory governed by Islamic law.
“There has been a huge amount of speculation about what the role of the women who join Islamic State – often dubbed jihadist brides – is,” Haras Rafiq, Quilliam Foundation’s managing director, said in a statement.
“(This translation) allows us to look past the propaganda banded about on social media by Western supporters of IS, enabling us to get into the mind-set of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of women who willingly join its ranks.”
Reporting by Katie Nguyen; Editing by Astrid Zweynert