No turning back? : a case study of the Norwegian women in the Islamic State
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With the rise of the Islamic State (IS) and the proclamation of the establishment of a caliphate in 2014, Western countries have experienced a growing stream of individuals traveling to the area (The Soufan Center, 2017). The terrorist organization has received vast attention for its incorporation of women. Scholars and policymakers have tried to make sense of this relatively new phenomenon of Western women joining a terrorist organization in a different country, making them participants of a global conflict. More recently, the focus has shifted, as the Islamic State has faced major setbacks, losing both territory and power throughout Syria and Iraq, creating an exodus where men and women have returned to their home countries. However, research shows that women return at a much smaller scale than men (ICSVE, 2017). This thesis analyzes the motivations and radicalization process for Norwegian women joining the Islamic State. The research builds its analysis on primary data collected from interviews with the friends and family of these women to assess the processes of radicalization, the reasons behind their departure as well as discuss why none of them have returned. The purpose of this research is to establish an understanding surrounding the phenomenon of female participation in terrorism, and discuss what the Islamic State offer women in comparison to that of the secular emancipation of women.