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Knowledge Library

Women in Extremist Movements: Not Just Passive Victims

Dec 13, 2016
  • Getty/Ghaith Abdul-Ahad
  • Author: USIP
    Language(s): English

In October 2016, two female suicide bombers killed 24 people in northeast Nigeria. In September, Paris police arrested three women for plotting a terrorist attack on behalf of the Islamic State (ISIS). The same month, in Kenya, police killed three women who attacked the main police station in Mombasa. In a headline fairly typical of the news and commentary in such cases, the Daily Beast reported that “ISIS is turning women into cannon fodder.” But the findings of more than 80 interviews the United States Institute of Peace conducted with women involved in or close to violent movements belie that idea of an entirely passive role, and it’s a dynamic that the international community must understand more fully to effectively prevent or counter extremist violence.

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