Calling on Women: Female-Specific Motivation Narratives in Danish Online Jihad Propaganda

Authored by: Sara Jul Jacobsen

Categories: Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Violent Extremism
Region: Europe and Eurasia
Year: 2019
Citation: Jacobsen, Sara Jul. "Calling on Women: Female-Specific Motivation Narratives in Danish Online Jihad Propaganda." Perspectives on Terrorism 13, no. 4 (2019): 14-26. Accessed January 15, 2020.

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Based on a monitoring of 16 official social media profiles of three Danish jihadi-Salafi organizations over a five- year period, this article explores how these jihadi-Salafists motivate women to take part in defensive jihad (jihād al-daf ’a). The issue is explored through the analytical lens of discourse, and intersectionality theory as well as the theoretical perspective on affect and the social construction of gender. The article finds that women are motivated to take part in jihad by referencing classical doctrines of defensive jihad and by means of records of charismatic female fighters from the time of the Prophet. However, the female-specific motivation narratives are as contemporary and empowering as they are regressive and founded in classical sources such as the Quran, ahadith and Sīra. The motivation narratives show strong push-back against Western feminism and counter-narrate Western views of Muslim women as oppressed, passive victims of male-dominated ideologies. Instead they (de-)construct ‘the Muslim woman’ in motivation narratives in which jihadi-Salafism is an important source not only of authenticity but also of strong self-identity and (em)power(ment).