Apparently it’s not only radical Islamist men who are making pilgrimage to Syria to join the warriors of jihad, but women are reportedly also contributing their part. Tunisia’s interior minister made a shock claim that Muslim women are flocking to Syria to perform “sex jihad.”
Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou said, “They have sexual relations with 20, 30, 100 militants and they come back bearing the fruits of sexual contact in the name of sex jihad.”
“After the sexual liaisons they have there in the name of ‘jihad al-nikah,’ they come home pregnant,” he said last week during a national security address according to AFP.
“Jihad al-nikah” has been described as a practice adopted by followers of extremist Muslim doctrine which encourages women to travel to war zones where they engage in sex with multiple militants in an effort to advance the "holy war."
Local media reports quoted by Time said that hundreds of women have traveled to Syria for that purpose.
A Tunisian interior ministry spokesman tells Lebanon’s Daily Star that the girls are transported via a trafficking system whose main transit point is Libya. Some of the traffickers are motivated by money, others by ideology.
A Tunisian newspaper interviewed one female veteran of the trade. According to Arabic media watcher Raymond Ibrahim, the newspaper Al Sharouk interviewed a 19-year-old identified as Lamia who traveled to Syria to have sex with jihadi rebels trying to topple President Bashar Assad and establish Sharia as the law of the land.
“Among other nationalities she recalls having slept with were Pakistanis, Afghanis, Libyans, Tunisians, Iraqis, Saudis, and Somalis, all in the context of the ‘sex jihad,’” Ibrahim described the paper as reporting.
Ibrahim, who is also author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians, writes:
According to Al Sharouk reporters, who went to interview Lamia at her home, the young woman began her story by saying that in 2011 she became religious, after watching an Islamic program; among other things, she took to wearing the hijab and came to believe that going out in public was a sin.
Then, “Lamia became convinced that a woman may participate in the jihad to eliminate the enemies of Islam by making her body recreational for the men after each and every raid, so that her body became their possession.”
Lamia said she was one of many women and girls living in an old hospital in the Aleppo area that was being used as a rebel camp. She said she lost count of the number of men with whom she had sex and that she was beaten and forced to engage in acts “that contradict all sense of human worth.”
According to the report, Lamia later discovered that she is five months pregnant and is HIV-positive.
Tunisia’s Interior Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Ali al-Aroui tells the Daily Star that just one week after the minister raised alarm about the issue, sex jihad travel from Tunisia has been halted. The spokesman says that since the minister first raised alarm last week, dozens involved in the trafficking network have been arrested. No word on the fate of Muslim women traveling from countries other than Tunisia or the status of any Tunisian women who may still be in the embattled country.
The Daily Star reports that “jihad al-nikah” gained notoriety after it was included in a fatwa issued by a Saudi cleric in March.
“Sheikh Mohammad al-Arifi had called on girls aged 14 and up to take up the cause of sex jihad in Syria through temporary marriage contracts and provide support to rebel forces. He has since retracted the comments, according to pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper,” reports the Daily Star.
Tunisia’s grand mufti has called the phenomenon “prostitution.”