Security officials have grown concerned about the emergence of “a more independent, feminist type of jihadist,” citing the discovery of radicalized women at the heart of three foiled terrorists plots during the past month in France.
At least two women, Inès Madani, 19, and Ornella Gilligmann, 29, allegedly placed full gas canisters in a car, tried to light them, and left the car parked overnight near Notre Dame. After finding the car, police traced Madani to a plot with two other women who reportedly planned to attack a train station. And in Nice, two teenagers were arrested after allegedly speaking with Rachid Kassim, a Frenchman who joined ISIS, about the feasibility of conducting an attack of their own.
These women, according to Farhad Khosrokhavar, a sociologist at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, are part of a new breed of terrorists — independent women, willing to organize and carry out their own attacks. Khosokhavar said he had spoken with radicalized women who called government efforts to prevent them going to Syria “an insult to their dignity and an insult to their autonomy,” feminist language far-removed from the reality of life for women under ISIS rule.
Whether these women constitute a trend or amount to just a blip is not yet clear. Recruiters still encourage online betrothals, said François Molins, the Paris prosecutor in charge of terrorism investigations nationwide. In fact, noted Molins, one of the women implicated in the recent plots had been engaged online to two different extremists — both of whom were killed while carrying out terrorist attacks in France.
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