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I’ve been wondering for a while why there hasn’t been much of a crackdown on westerners who join up with Islamic State. Not all that long ago, getting involved with a foreign terrorist organization would get you in very hot water. But today, there have been calls – especially from the UK – for mercy. There have also been excuses, like the following:

The government has announced a raft of new counter-terrorism powers to combat what security officials regard as a severe threat from so-called Islamic State fighters returning from Syria and Iraq.

These powers are not necessarily aimed at prosecuting more people – they are aimed squarely at disrupting them.


There are many Brits who went to fight in Syria with no intention of joining violent extremists like ISIS. They say they picked up arms to defend civilians from President Assad’s regime.

The nightmare scenario for the government is that these people, many of whom have naively walked into a situation they hadn’t expected, are scared of returning home and facing arrest. Their families back home fear they could be further radicalised.

And that’s why there are voices inside both security circles and Muslim communities who say that the exit plan for returning fighters must amount to more than just prosecutions and jail sentences.

What could be behind this?

I think I’ve found one of the answers.

This time, the internal enemies list includes large numbers of women recruited for “sexual jihad;” women who have eagerly taken up the banner of Islam not so much by raising it as by lying down. There is an entire English speaking community of these women, in Syria and Iraq at the moment, including UK nationals, Americans, Canadians and probably some Australians as well. Most are apparently Muslim by birth, but a number of converts have joined up as well.


That women from our own countries are enthusiastically flying into the arms on America-hating jihadis is an enormous political embarrassment. Imagine the political risk of prosecuting these women. Politicians would face a strong feminist backlash, as feminists do not believe that women’s sexual choices are ever fair grounds for criticism, and they would be forced to admit that their own policies are alienating many young people and providing a fertile breeding ground for terror (and for the jihadis’ virile seed, apparently).

When many people look at what these women are doing, they come to the conclusion that they are insane, fools or indoctrinated in a cult-like manner. But if you consider what interests young women, it isn’t really that crazy at all. After being indoctrinated for years to hate their own men, to regard them as equals, and to hold them in contempt for having “unearned privilege,” those jihadis must look pretty sexy in comparison. Young, chivalrous men who fight for faith and family. Daring and bold in the face of a ruthless enemy. Unapologetic warriors, husbands and fathers who provide their women with a sense of belonging to a greater cause.

As I grow older, it becomes easier to forget the passions of youth. I have to stop to recall how it was from time to time so that I can better understand what the young do. In the West, it seems that our political and intellectual actors have forgotten entirely, and don’t even try. Perimenopausal feminists and professionals think that young women’s feelings and tastes must be similar to their own. They forget what it was like to want adventure and romance with strong, passionate men, and project their haggard contempt for their male colleagues and inferiors onto every other woman.

As these women have gained power, they have set about remaking America in the image of their office: a space where bland, meek, cowed and subordinate men know their place and do not step out of it. This environment can only repel young women. As it happens, it is pushing a number of them straight into the arms of our enemies.

Because every recruit for the sexual jihad is a repudiation of the contemporary Western ideal, this mass defection of women to the Islamic camp will be ignored and played down as long as possible. That’s too bad, because there’s a valuable lesson there — a lesson we used to know well.

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