What prompts young women in England to consider joining the Islamic State? According to one woman who claims that she was radicalized by Muslim men in her home country of England, flattery and a sexual attraction had a great deal to do with it. And it all started with three words.
Speaking to a BBC reporter, a woman in her 20s, with her identity masked for her own protection, told the story of how she was first contacted and eventually drawn into radical thinking when she was a teenager.
All of the radicalization explained in the video happened before the formal establishment of the Islamic State. However, it is believed the organization and its supporters are using similar tactics today.
How was this woman drawn into the world of radicalized Muslim thinking? She tells the BBC she was just 17-years-old at the time a Muslim man approached her via social media: "It was on Facebook, I was just approached one day online by him, and he said, 'You're very attractive.'"
The online recruiter also told her, "Now's your time to cover that beauty because you're so precious."
The woman, called "Ayesha" by the reporter, said the order to cover up was "borderline harassment" but also said that it worked in getting her attention.
She began checking out online videos posted by various radical Islamic groups and admits she was looking to find "eye candy." Apparently, her search was fruitful.
"Ayesha" told the BBC, "In all the YouTube videos, for some reason, they were all really really attractive."
She was then instructed to attend local mosques and listen to specific imams, but also given an interesting charge: "We were encouraged that we should not identify ourselves as British."
The reporter asked the woman, "Did you ever get the sense from any of the people, the preachers that you were associating with, that they were pushing you towards martyrdom, towards jihad, towards criminal acts?"
She responded, "They did touch on martyrdom being a positive thing." Adding, "You're a martyr, you're a warrior for the religion."
What finally changed "Ayesha's" view on Islam? She claims two things pushed her away: equality for women and "this idea that you have to kill someone that is not Muslim."
Watch the BBC interview:
H/T - BBC Newsnight
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