The Hijrah of Female Muslims to Islamic State: the case of the guest house in Syria
In May 2018 the Combatting Terrorism Centre (CTC) published an analysis of the register of an all-female guest house of the Islamic State in Syria which housed Muslims who undertook Hijrah to Islamic State. There were 1, 139 entries with some level of information in the register with 1, 138 of them stating a name or an alias. Islamic State designed the register to collect the following information from Muslims entering the facility: Name, Alias, Age, Marital Status, Number of Children, Name of Husband, Location of Husband, Date of Entry, Date of Exit. Muslims chose to supply which demand for information they complied with but the bureaucratic zeal of Islamic State to profile all those within the ambits of the state is now a treasure trove for those seeking to identify those who undertook the Hijrah.
The register indicates contrary to the attempt by western media to normalise IS and Muslims undertaking Hijrah to IS with the concept of “jihadi brides” the demographic characteristics of Muslims at the guest house were in keeping with Islamic sensibilities.
Of the 1, 132 Muslims who indicated their age on the register the mean age of this group was approx. 29 years old with five percent under seventeen years old or younger and 20 per cent for those 21 years old and younger. There was then no preponderance of young women undertaking Hijrah for the purpose of becoming jihadi brides who passed through this guest house. This reality is potently illustrated by the number of women indicating on the register that they were married. Of the 1,135 women who indicated their marital status on the register seventy-seven per cent indicated they were married. The next highest category was that of widowed or divorced Muslims with thirteen per cent which was higher than those Muslims who indicated they were single. The kaffirun writers of the article in their continual quest to normalise Muslims simply cannot admit that the motivation to undertake Hijrah to IS flowed from Islamic discourse therefore it illustrated the impact of Islamic sensibilities. The overwhelming number of Muslims entering the guest house undertook Hijrah in a family context. Seven hundred and forty-eight Muslims indicated the number of children they had, two hundred and forty-nine reported one child and two hundred and fifty reported two children. The demographic profile is then clear with married Muslims and married Muslims with children being the dominant demographic. The Hijrah was then dominated by the migration of Muslim families not jihadi brides and foreign fighters for the significant number of foreign fighters were part of a family undertaking Hijrah.
The CTC analysis places great emphasis on their origin as reported by the Muslims who stayed at the guest house. The fact that the language of the register was Russian indicated that IS placed an administrator with Russian language capability at the guest house for a reason as the language of the bureaucracy of IS was Arabic. Possibly the IS earmarked this facility for use by Muslims who came from the former Soviet Union. In the article the Muslims reported their origin from sixty-six different locations around the globe with those in the former Soviet Union being dominant. The top twenty locations of origin (table 1) were as follows: 1. Dagestan, 2. Turkey, 3. Xinjiang, 4. Tajikistan, 5. Azerbaijan, 6. Russia, 7. Indonesia, 8. Kyrgyzstan, 9. Chechnya, 10. Uzbekistan, 11. Morocco, 12. Kazakhstan, 13. Egypt, 14, France, 15. Tunisia, 16. Germany, 17. Syria, 18. Iran, 19. Sweden and 20. Kabardino-Balkaria. The composition of the top twenty source locations (table 1) is revealing. The top 20 locations of origin per capita (table 2) were as follows: 1. Dagestan, 2. Chechnya, 3. Ingushetia, 4. Kabardino-Balkaria, 5. Kyrgyzstan, 6. Tajikistan, 7. Karacayevo-Cherkessia, 8. Azerbaijan, 9. Abkhazia, 10. Xinjiang, 11. Maldives, 12. Kosovo, 13. Trinidad and Tobago, 14. Tunisia, 15. Kazakhstan, 16. Tartarstan, 16. Turkey, 18. Macedonia, 19. Uzbekistan, 20. Georgia, 21. Guyana.
The top twenty locations of origin by number of Muslims contain three western European nations France, Germany and Sweden with the overwhelming number of locations of origin being in a band from Xinjiang in China through Central Asia, the Caucasus, Russia, the Balkans and Turkey. The specific history of Islam in especially the belt through Central Asia to the Caucasus and the Balkans has contributed to the potency of the call of IS for Hijrah in this area. This belt is then the prime operational area for IS in the post Caliphate incarnation hence its aggressive operational activity in Afghanistan. The presence of Turkey in both tables sends a message that begs understanding and preparation in the west. Given the failure of IS to motivate Muslims of the west to undertake Hijrah in effective numbers the question arises of the specific realities of Muslim existence in the social orders of France, Germany and Sweden that motivated them to Hijrah unlike the rest of the west especially the UK and the USA. The reality on the ground was then effectively usurped by political discourses of the west which were utilising a discursive engagement with the discourse of Islamic State to justify and mask their political agendas. Both agents of the engagement peddling their specific discourse of truth/lies of power. The top twenty locations of origin per capita presents a changed yet similar picture with specific lessons on offer. The three west European countries are absent which illustrates the chronic failure of the State security apparatuses to deal with the threat posed by a small minority of the population. This failure continues from the colossal failure of the apparatus to disrupt attacks of September 11, 2001 and thereafter. The problem lies in the continued racist attempt to normalise Islam and Muslims refusing to view Islam and Muslims in terms of their specific realities rather than through western worldviews and sensibilities. The belt from Xinjiang, China to the Caucasus, through Russia to the Balkans and Turkey continues to be dominant in the per capita top 20 ranking but specific spaces in this belt dominate which are noteworthy. Turkey and Tunisia are in both tables and noteworthy entrants are: The Maldives and Trinidad and Tobago. In table 1 there is no location in the western hemisphere and in table 2 Trinidad and Tobago is the only country from the western hemisphere which flows with the position of Trinidad and Tobago as the top location per capita for IS western hemisphere foreign fighters. Both flows from Trinidad and Tobago were then part of a movement of families to IS. Guyana is the 21st location on table 2 which is noteworthy as to-date there has been no public issue in Guyana of Muslims undertaking Hijrah to IS. This is then a revelation that points to the possibility of Guyana being a source location for Hijrah to IS in the western hemisphere.
The case of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago raises the question if in the absence of Islamic State propaganda on foreign fighters of T&T origin in the IS if this reality would have ever made it into the public domain and north Atlantic geopolitics? In the absence of IS propaganda on those who undertook Hijrah from Guyana to Islamic State is the silence on this reality expressive of the failure of north Atlantic intelligence on the operational activities of Islamic State in the southern Caribbean or is Guyana given a Bligh given the nature of its present engagement with Maduro and the identity of the player in the offshore oil fields? The data on T&T and Guyana from the study of the register of an Islamic State guest house i.e. just one guest house is as follows: T&T: 3 Muslims, per capita: 2.21; Guyana: 1 Muslim, per capita: 1.30.