A holy terror in jihad's embrace
SAMANTHA Lewthwaite’s face is one we all know. For two weeks we have seen images of her staring back at us from a bogus South African passport. What we don’t know is how the hell this British national, a suspect in al-Shabaab’s Nairobi shopping mall attack, managed to flit in and out of our country while featuring on terror watch lists across the globe.
It is partly because she is a woman and a Catholic from Buckinghamshire, England, to boot. But the reality is that while unusual, her journey towards the bosom of East Africa’s most hardened jihadist group, one that likes to sell itself as the vanguard of Islam, is not unique.
While the reasons for women becoming radical insurgents sometimes differ to those of men, they are at a psychological level as vulnerable, and jihadist groups have been aggressively maximising this for several years. One reason for recruiting women is that they are, in some instances, far more dangerous than men, a London-based deradicalisation expert told the Saturday Dispatch.
They are particularly effective in surprise attacks on soft targets or as infiltrators, fund-raisers and honey-traps. Al-Qaeda, for example, to which al-Shabaab is affiliated, is reported to have started making statements about setting up women’s units as far back as 2003.
And its glossy magazine Al Shamikha, nicknamed “Jihadi Cosmo”, was in circulation by 2010 with advice on topics like how to marry a Mujahid (holy warrior), put on make up and become a suicide bomber.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at Daily DispatchSimilar Stories