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December 6, 2016: The researchers of George Washington University Programme have stated that there is an increase in the role of female American jihadists involved in terror activity in the last five years. And, they use social media for communication. A steep increase in the participation of American jihadi women has been recorded where American women are seen choosing the path of becoming jihadists. A research paper “Cruel Intentions: Female Jihadists in America,” was released on Thursday, almost exactly a year after Pakistani national Tashfeen Malik and her Pakistani-American husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, shot 14 people at a holiday party in San Bernardino in the US.

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“The couple’s path to radicalisation is still the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation, but Malik’s active role in carrying out the plot was a shock to many who categorise extremist women as taking an auxiliary role in jihad,” said Audrey Alexander, Program on Extremism research fellow and author of the new paper.

American women have found to be working as travelers, plotters, and supporters in the scheme. Audrey Alexander has been recorded to say that, ” This report refutes the misconception that women are naively duped into participation or are depraved instigators of violence. By presenting comprehensive accounts of female jihadist activities, we can see that they are an evolving threat even though they are not the most prominent or visible proponents of jihadi ideology,” The study said that women were usually found to be working alone on these projects but were also found working in a romantic union, with their siblings or friends too.

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Women participate in both online and offline missions but are mostly seen working through online mediums. Lorenzo Vidino, the director of the GW Program on Extremism says, ” The increasing involvement of women in jihadi groups is a global phenomenon. Even though women rarely perpetrate violence, their diverse contributions advance and sustain the jihadi movement in the US and abroad.”

The report concluded on the note that it is important for policymakers to offer alternatives to arrest and emphasize that de-radicalization and prevention are necessary steps to countering violent extremism by women, particularly in instances where individuals engage with the ideology but do not break the law or become violent.

prepared by Shambhavi Sinha of NewsGram with PTI inputs. Twitter: @shambhavispeaks


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