Why the West Loves 'ISIS Brides'

The Islamic State has largely fallen out of the western press with the weird exception of ISIS brides. And when we talk about the Islamic State, western press often ignores its broader crimes. The plight of the Yazidi, specifically, is largely ignored by press and NGOs.

The plight of the so-called “ISIS bride,” however, is very much in fasion. But I wanted that photo and that testimony to lead off this post. Today’s episode is mostly about the women of the Islamic State, but the Yazidis are a crucial part of that story and we shouldn’t forget them.

When Islamic State still had a caliphate that galvanized Western militaries, young men and women from around the world left their homes to join up. Their reasons were varied but their passion seems unwavering. Now the Islamic State is fractured and the Caliphate is in ruin but many of the fighters and so-called ISIS brides remain. Now, some of them want to go home, and Western media has looked at them with a shockingly sympathetic eye.

Today’s show is a long interview with journalist Norma Costello, who has spent time in al-Hol where many of the women of the Islamic State now live. She’s written about them in UnHerd.

Around the beginning of the pandemic, family and friends of Isis members began to gently craft a new narrative about their women. They had never supported the caliphate. They were innocents forced to travel there by men. They were, in their own way, victims. These grown women had been “trafficked” into Isis territory. Ignore the fact that many of them bought their own tickets.

After we’re done talking about the Islamic State, Norma and I switch gears and get onto a very Angry Planet topic: Irish tankies and their strained relationship with Russia and its war in Ukraine.

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