The Times(£), 10 March 2015
Muslim parents must warn their daughters about the threat of sexual from grooming posed by Islamic State, just as they would alert them to any other risk to their safety, a campaigner as urged.
Sara Khan, director of the anti-extremism charity Inspire, said that jihadist fighters were using highly sophisticated techniques to lure impressionable teenage girls by exploiting their tendency for forming crushed on older boys.
Ms Khan said she was particularly concerned about the new Isis propaganda campaign group al-Zawra which had been specifically set up to lure girls by romanticising the jihadist fighters.
“First there is radicalisation, then there is froom. Then, Thrown into the mix are normal teenage crushes. Instead of lusting after someone like Zayn Malik from One Direction it is these jihadi men. They have become pun-ups,” she said.
She named Omar Yilmaz, the Dutch fighter whom some girls are calling their “jihadi pin-up”, adding : “It’s quite sick. For girls at that stage, already radicalised, already groomed, they become convinced that the most masculine man is a jihadi warrior who want to be a martyr, so what could be better for a girl [than] t be married to one.”
Ms Khan, who set up Inspire in 2009, said she felt “aggrieved and upset” when she heard that three girls from east London had flown to Turkey last month to join Isis. Shammia Begum and Maira Abase, both 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, crossed into Syria shortly afterwards .Just like other child abusers, the fighters were grooming the girls online and persuading them to leave their families. She was shocked at some of the responses to the girls’ plight, especially after the review into victims of sexual grooming in Oxford, who were labelled “very difficult girls making bad choices”. Ms Khan said: “This ‘let them go’ attitude is how we dealt with sexual grooming 20 or 30 years ago…We are blaming them instead of helping them.”
Little was being done to warn the girls of the risks they were running, she added, and parents had a key role to play. “Too many parents are afraid to speak about Isis at home, fearing they may be bringing the risk into the family. In reality it is already there, everyone is talking about it because it is all over the news.”
She recommend an open-ended conversation, with parent asking their daughter what they think about Isis and what they have heard.