- Tunisian government minister reveals women who travelled to Syria to comfort Islamist opposition fighters in sexual jihad are returning pregnant
- Lotfi ben Jeddou said women return home after ‘having sexual relations with 20,30,100’ front-line fighters
- Minister insisted border security has been tightened to restrict young people from travelling to war-torn country
- Earlier this year a group of girls reportedly went to rebel-held Northern Syria to offer themselves in ‘sexual jihad’
- Religious orders or ‘fatwas’ were reportedly circulated online calling on women to take part
PUBLISHED: 13:34 EST, 20 September 2013 | UPDATED: 13:35 EST, 20 September 2013
Tunisian women who have travelled to Syria to offer themselves to Islamist fighters are returning home pregnant with rebels’ children, it has been revealed.
A Tunisian government minister told members of parliament this week the women, who are waging ‘sexual jihad’, are ‘having sexual relations with 20,30,100’ men before returning to Tunisia pregnant.
Interior Minister Lotfi ben Jeddou made the revelations at the National Constituent Assembly on Thursday, though didn’t elaborate on the number of women who have returned in this condition.
Tunisian women who travelled to Syria to offer themselves to Islamist opposition fighters in sexual jihad are returning pregnant, a government minister has claimed
‘After the sexual liaisons they have there in the name of ‘jihad al-nikah’ — (sexual holy war, in Arabic) — they come home pregnant,’ he said.
Jihad al-nikah, permitting extramarital sexual relations with multiple partners, is considered by some hardline Sunni Muslim Salafists as a legitimate form of holy war.
The minister also did not say how many Tunisian women were thought to have gone to Syria for such a purpose, although media reports have said hundreds have done so, France 24 revealed.
However, Ben Jeddou also said that since he assumed office in March, ‘six thousand of our young people have been prevented from going’ to the country.
He has said in the past that border controls have been boosted to intercept young Tunisians seeking to travel to Syria.
Earlier this year a group of Tunisian girls travelled to rebel-held Northern Syria to offer themselves to opposition fighters.
Their action came after growing in concern in Tunisia about religious orders or ‘fatwas’ that circulated the internet calling on Muslim women to perform jihad through sex.
A Tunisian minister of religious affairs appealed to girls at the time not to be influenced by Islamic preachers outside of Tunisia who made a number of ‘sexual fatwas’.
Syrian rebels are pictured after taking control of Raqqa. Reports from suggest 13 girls travelled to the rebel-held North to offer themselves as sex workers
Noureddine al-Khadimi rejected ‘sexual jihad’ fatwas, urging Tunisian people and state institutions to not respond to them.
Tunisian newspapers reported that a young Tunisian man divorced his wife, and that they both headed to Syria almost a month ago to ‘allow her to engage in sexual jihad with the mujahideen’ there.
This report followed earlier ones of a video widely circulated on the internet and social websites in Tunisia shows the parents of a veiled girl called Rahmah, 17.
They said Rahmahat disappeared from home one morning and they ‘later learned that she had headed to Syria to carry out sexual jihad.’
The young girl has since returned to her family, who have kept her out of sight, and said that their daughter is not a religious fanatic ‘but was influenced by her fellow students who are known for their affiliation with the jihadist Salafist.’
Her parents said these fellow students may have brainwashed her and convinced her to travel to Syria ‘to support the mujahideen there.’
There are concerns in Tunisia about the influence of online videos calling for women to engage in a ‘sexual jihad’. Pictured Syrian rebel checks an anti-aircraft weapon
Free Syrian Army fighters are pictured taking their positions Syrian army forces
News websites and social networks in Tunisia circulated a fatwa attributed to Sheikh Mohamed al-Arifi in which he called upon ‘Muslim women’ to perform jihad through sex.
However, sources close to the sheikh denied that he had issued the fatwa, stressing that anyone who circulates or believes it is insane.
Saudi Arabia was widely considered to be financially backing the Syrian rebels fighting in Northern Syria and whose hardcore ‘Salafist’ strand of Islam influences a great number of the young fighters – many of whom are ‘jihadists’ and come from all around the world, including the UK.
Reports in Tunisia stressed though that the fatwa had gained much attention on pro-Syrian regime websites, the goal of which may be to tarnish the image of the Islamic fighters by stressing a key point of Syrian leader Bashar Al Assad that fundamentalists, supported by Salafist groups in Saudi Arabia, are amongst the Syrian rebels.
A Syrian opposition fighter runs for cover from Syrian army snipers. Tunisian have appealed to girls to ignore then ‘sexual jihad’ internet calls
Al-Hadi Yahmad, a researcher on the affairs of Islamic groups, told Al-Hayat: ‘The issue of sexual jihad was initially attributed to a Saudi sheikh who denied it, and this fatwa is abnormal and not endorsed by religious scholars.’
He added that this fatwa — had it indeed been issued — may involve Syrian girls living in Syria, who can ‘support the mujahideen by marrying them for a few hours.’
Under Islamic law, a man can marry and consummate a marriage with his bride, before divorcing her the next day without any resistance from the bride or her family simply by following religious etiquette.
Noor Eddin al-Khadimi, said that Tunisians should not abide by the fatwa.
Her calls were duplicated by the Tunisian opposition also.
Salma al-Raqiq, a Tunisian opposition figure, said that the ‘jihad marriages’ were a disgrace for the Tunisians.
She also called on the authorities to start dealing with the increasing phenomenon of Tunisian jihadis heading to Syria to join radical Islamist groups.
Al-Raqiq told the UPI press agency that the phenomenon was a dangerous one. She said that young girls, including minors, have been sent to Syria to ‘marry’ jihadis for a few hours
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