The sex jihad is back in the news. Last Thursday, September 19, during an address to the National Constituent Assembly, Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi Bin Jeddo announced that Tunisian girls who had traveled to Syria to perform “sex jihad” had returned after being sexually “swapped between 20, 30, and 100 rebels and they come back bearing the fruit of sexual contacts [from pregnancies to diseases] in the name of sexual jihad and we are silent doing nothing and standing idle.”
Several video interviews with Tunisian females who went to the sex jihad further testify to the veracity of this phenomenon. For example, 19-year-old Lamia, upon returning, confessed how she was made to have sex with countless men—including Pakistanis, Afghanis, Libyans, Tunisians, Iraqis, Saudis, Somalis, and a Yemeni, all in the context of the “sex jihad, and that she and many other women were abused, beaten, and forced to do things “that contradict all sense of human worth.” Now back in Tunisia, Lamia has been to a doctor finding that she is five months pregnant. Both she and her unborn are carrying the aids virus (read her whole story).
Other interviewed women have told of how they were “fooled,” or how their husbands (they being one of four wives) divorced and sent them to Syria for the sex jihad, with assurances that they would be guaranteed paradise in the afterlife. One 16-year-old explained how her father ordered her to have sex with several jihadi “liberators.”
Due to the severity of this matter, since March, 6,000 Tunisians were banned from travelling to Syria; 86 individuals suspected of forming “cells” to send Tunisian youth to Syria have been arrested.
Back in April, Sheikh Othman Battikh, former Mufti of Tunisia, said before reporters that, “For Jihad in Syria, they are now pushing girls to go there. Thirteen young girls have been sent for sexual jihad. What is this? This is called prostitution. It is moral educational corruption.”
He was dismissed from his position as Mufti of Tunisia days later.
However, as I wrote back in June when reporting on the sex jihad phenomenon:
Muslim women prostituting themselves in this case is being considered a legitimate jihad because such women are making sacrifices—their chastity, their dignity—in order to help apparently sexually-frustrated jihadis better focus on the war to empower Islam in Syria.
And it is prostitution—for they are promised payment, albeit in the afterlife. The Koran declares that “Allah has purchased of the believers their persons [their bodies] and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain (Yusuf Ali trans. 9:111).
At any rate, while news that Muslim girls in hijabs are prostituting themselves in the name of Islam may be instinctively dismissed as a “hoax,” the fact is, Islamic clerics regularly issue fatwas permitting forbidden, if not bizarre, things.
The fundamental criterion is that they help the jihad to empower Islam.
For instance, not only did the original “underwear bomber” Abdullah Hassan al-Asiri hide explosives in his rectum to assassinate Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Nayef—they met in 2009 after the 22-year-old Asiri “feigned repentance for his jihadi views”—but, according to Shi‘ite talk-show host Abdullah Al-Khallaf, he had fellow jihadis sodomize him to “widen” his anus to fit more explosives.
Al-Khallaf read the fatwa that purportedly justified such actions during a 2012 Fadak TV episode. After praising Allah and declaring that sodomy is forbidden in Islam, the fatwa asserted:
However, jihad comes first, for it is the pinnacle of Islam, and if the pinnacle of Islam can only be achieved through sodomy, then there is no wrong in it. For the overarching rule of [Islamic] jurisprudence asserts that “necessity makes permissible the prohibited.” And if obligatory matters can only be achieved by performing the prohibited, then it becomes obligatory to perform the prohibited, and there is no greater duty than jihad. After he sodomizes you, you must ask Allah for forgiveness and praise him all the more. And know that Allah will reward the jihadis on the Day of Resurrection, according to their intentions—and your intention, Allah willing, is for the victory of Islam, and we ask that Allah accept it of you.
Two important points emerge here: first, jihad is the “pinnacle” of Islam—for it makes Islam supreme; and second, the idea that “necessity makes permissible the prohibited.” Thus, because making Islam supreme through jihad is the greatest priority, anything and everything that is otherwise banned becomes permissible. All that comes to matter is one’s intention, or niyya (see Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s discussion along these lines).
Hence the many seeming contradictions in Islam: Muslim women must chastely be covered head-to-toe—yet, in the service of jihad, they are allowed to prostitute their bodies. Sodomy is forbidden—but permissible if rationalized as a way to kill infidels and/or apostates. Lying is forbidden—but permissible to empower Islam. Suicide is forbidden—but permissible during the jihad—when it is called “martyrdom.” Intentionally killing women and children is forbidden—but permissible during an Islamic jihad raid, as happened last weekend in both Peshawar and Nairobi.
One may therefore expect anything from would-be jihadis, regardless of how un-Islamic their actions may otherwise seem.
And yet, here in the West, many still refuse to believe the existence of such fatwas, habitually dismissing them as “hoaxes”—despite all the evidence otherwise: from a top Tunisian government official openly bemoaning the effects of the sex jihad on Tunisian girls, to several Arabic-language videos and reports of women discussing their experiences in the sex jihad.
Few things are more demonstrative of the arrogant mindset that proliferates amongst Western “progressives” than this inability to believe.
And it’s quite ironic: for while supposedly “closed-minded” and “bigoted” conservatives tend to take the words, teachings, and deeds of Muslim clerics and jihadis at face value—and thus respect them as autonomous individuals—liberals, who always claim to “respect other cultures,” often reject as “hoaxes” any news that contradicts their culturally-induced worldviews—since apparently everyone in the world shares in their standards.
If that’s not an ethnocentric position—an especially dangerous one at that—what is?
RAYMOND IBRAHIM, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. A widely published author, best known for The Al Qaeda Reader (Doubleday, 2007), he guest lectures at universities, including the National Defense Intelligence College, briefs governmental agencies, such as U.S. Strategic Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and has testified before Congress regarding the conceptual failures that dominate American discourse concerning Islam and the worsening plight of Egypt’s Christian Copts. Among other media, he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, CBN, and NPR.