An increasing number of British women are travelling to war-torn Syria to marry jihadists from the UK, with some seeing them as leading a "perfect life."
Many are thought to be marrying jihadists on the internet, as strict Islamic code forbids unmarried women to travel alone, according to researchers at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College, London.
Exact numbers are difficult to pinpoint, but the research centre believes that dozens of British women have married English-speaking jihadists – or are trying to - according to chatter that it monitors on forums.
It knows of two women from Portsmouth, one from London and one from Surrey who definitely have married English-speaking men fighting for opposition forces.
It said that one is a convert and that two were married prior to departure, with the other two marrying on arrival in Syria.
Women from other countries have also gone to Syria to be with jihadists - two from France, who both married jihadists before they left for the war, one from Sweden, one from Serbia, one from the Philippines and one from Germany.
What gives away the women’s intentions are the questions they pose to the fighters.
Researcher Shiraz Maher told The Times: ‘The thing that is interesting is the staggering extent to which so many women are asking questions. We think it is pretty significant.’
One woman asked British jihadist Abu Abdullah al-Britani: ‘How can a sister ask you for marriage? What are your standards? Are you interested after asking Allah, of course.’
Charles Lister, from the Brookings Institute, said that many women view jihadists in Syria as living the ‘perfect life’.
The revelation follows the court appearance in January of Nawal Msaad, 26, a student accused of trying to smuggle £16,000 in her underwear to terrorists fighting in Syria.
Nawal Msaad, 26, and her alleged co-conspirator Amal Elwahabi, 27, are the first British women charged with terror offences over the conflict.
Msaad, an undergraduate from Holloway, North London, was arrested at Heathrow as she prepared to board a flight to Istanbul with 20,000 euros wrapped in cling film in her knickers.
Hours later, police swooped on Elwahabi, who stands jointly accused of being part of an arrangement in which money was made available for the purposes of terrorism.
The court heard that the two Britons attempted to send the bundle of rolled-up notes to a suspected British jihadist fighting in Syria’s civil war.
The head of the Counter Terrorism Command, Richard Walton, said several teenagers had been enticed to join jihadists fighting in the war-torn country, as he warned that the conflict posed a growing threat to national security.
Earlier in January, two 17-year-old girls from London and West Yorkshire were held at Heathrow as they were boarding a flight to Istanbul. Officers spent five days quizzing the girls before releasing them without charge. But Mr Walton said that other ‘boys and girls’ were being lured to join rebel forces fighting in Syria.
He said the numbers of Syria-related terror arrests had soared, with 14 in the first three weeks of this year – more than half the total for the whole of 2013.
He said: ‘We’ve had a number of teenagers both from London and nationally who’ve been attempting to go to Syria. That’s boys and girls, unfortunately.
‘It’s not just the odd one. It’s shocking that they are such young people.’(original link)