There is a long article in the Guardian online this morning which describes in detail the way young girls are persuaded to become Jihad brides.
The image of the girls dressed in their niqabs willingly submitting to their new lives has always puzzled me. We have travelled a long way from Victorian ideals of feminine virtue. Women in their emancipation no longer have to consider them selves second class citizens in this country so why on earth any girl would willingly become the bride of an unknown IS fighter was a puzzle.
The article this morning goes a long way to explain it. It's heading was "You don't have to pay for anything if you are the bride of a martyr."
Most of the brainwashing is conducted on line. Young men and women can find plenty of promises for their future if they join the caliphate. The women must submit in a way that is unthinkable for western women but sex plays its part in this too and only makes the excitement of escape more thrilling. Unfortunately the reality may not live up to the fantasy.
I have never advocated any sort of censorship . Freedom of speech and expression is inherent in everything I hold dear but for the first time now I see that somehow these boys and girls have to be protected from the romantic dream being offered to them.
By crossing into Syria and living with the young men destined to be martyrs the girls are persueing a dream of glory...of being the wife and then the widow of one of the martyred dead.
How to shut down these web sites is beyond me....but the number of converts to this way of life is growing...and although they don't know it these young women still need our help.
I just have no idea how best to give it.