Friday, 19 July 2013

At least thirteen young Tunisian girls are said to have joined the rebels in the north of Syria. Their goal? Offer themselves as sexual workers for the opposition fighters. For months now, the Tunisian press has been denouncing this phenomenon of disguised prostitution, which leads young girls, more or less consenting, to participate in the jihad via sex.

A fatwa, attributed to a radical Saudi leader, Mohamed al-Arifi, and disseminated on the internet, legitimates this form of sexual slavery in the name of "holy war". Faced with concern, the Tunisian minister for religious affairs has asked Tunisians not to succumb to the siren calls of foreign Islamic preachers, who are trying to recruit the girls. He has passionately condemned this fatwa, which is not recognised by the religious institutions.

In reality the girls are said to have been recruited by pseudo-charitable associations and send to the Syrian "front". And rumours are going round, stirring up tension. For example the case, never verified, of the couple who divorced so they could go to Syria, allowing the separated woman to engage sexually with the mujihadeen, has been widely known. A video, shared on the social networks, has also stirred up great feeling. The parents of Rahmah, 17, tell how their daughter disappeared one morning. They learned later that she had travelled to Syria to join the "sexual jihad". Since then, Rahmah has rejoined her family, who are keeping her out of sight. Her parents say that she wasn't a fanatic but that she was influenced by Salafist students. They are said to have brainwashed her.

According to Al-Hadi Yahmad, a specialist in Islamist groups, in Syria, these fatwas can encourage girls to marry and consummate their union, before divorcing a few hours later. Salma al-Raqiq, a Tunisian opposition figure, has called "these jihad marriages" an absolute disgrace. She also denounces the fact that girls, sometimes minors, have been sent to Syria to marry the mujihadeen for 24 hours.
Source: Le Parisien


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