The sexual motivation of religious extremists
Make no mistake: it is indeed desire that lies at the heart of this storm. It’s astonishing the degree to which both ISIS and Boko Haram are openly obsessed with sex, and yet how little this is commented on in the media. Both groups routinely abduct, rape, and forcibly “wed” girls. ISIS issued a pamphlet delineating the proper way to handle one’s personal sex slaves, and has strict rules even for women that are voluntarily part of the movement; each is awarded to a man, and if widowed they are quickly married off to another fighter. Boko Haram gained notoriety for its mass abduction of schoolgirls, yet it was barely implied in articles about the incident, not openly stated as the foregone conclusion it surely was, that those girls were certain to be brutally and repeatedly raped by many fighters for as long as they managed to survive the abuse.
This misguided reticence is a product of archaic cultural mores that make sex a thing of shame for women, but one of pride for men. No one wants to call these groups what they actually are, roving bands of armed rapists, because that would inevitably damage the standing of the women who fall prey to them. But unless we accept that this is a large part, perhaps the largest part, of their motivation (remember even suicide bombers are dying for the promise of eternal, unlimited sex) we will never understand them and thus, never learn how to defeat them.
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