London: A group of 30 British women who travelled to Syria to join Islamic State have been encouraging other women in the UK to carry out terror attacks back home, overturning the belief that female jihadists are quite and passive, researchers here have found.
The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) at King’s College London has uncovered the group of British women in Northern Syria by monitoring their social media accounts, the ‘Observer’ newspaper reported.
Researchers believe the British female jihadists have been actively recruiting new members of IS and encouraging the beheading of Westerners and applauding the bloodshed in Paris.
It overturns the general view that women travelling to IS strongholds to become loyal and supportive jihadi brides are generally quiet and passive members of the terrorist group, the newspaper reported.
According to ICSR, which has a database of around 70 women it is tracking in total, there was a spike of activity online following the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ shootings in France, which the British women were seen applauding.
Melanie Smith, a research fellow at ICSR and the woman in charge of ICSR’s Female Foreign Fighters database, said the British women have been telling people at home, who cannot leave their family or afford to get to Syria to join IS, to carry out attacks in the UK instead.
“While they might not have the same military training, you can see women online being frustrated about the fact they can’t fight and they suggest to each other that they could do something else,” she said.