At a bus station in Nigeria last Tuesday, 10 people were killed and 30 were injured by a female suicide bomber who was allegedly associated with Boko Haram.
Boko Haram is an Islamic extremist group that the United States recognizes as a terrorist organization in Nigeria. Boko Haram is most known for their abduction of almost 300 schoolgirls in April of 2014.
“Their vision for the world can lead only to misery and death, though in their leaders’ minds they may think that they’re working for something great. Unfortunately, the Nigerian government is so corrupt and incompetent that it lacks the capacity to fight the group,” said John Brown University professor of history Preston Jones.
“I imagine that the corruption helps to explain the rise of the group. The government lacks effective control, so other groups arise. This is unnecessary because Nigeria is rich in resources. Nigeria could be a wealthy country,” Jones said.
The terrorist organization has recently been using women as a tactic of war. While there are women who they have kidnapped and forced to be bombs, there are still a number who are joining Boko Haram out of necessity.
According to BBC Nigeria analyst Naziru Mikailu, the women who are joining Boko Haram are doing so not out of fear but because of poverty. Women are joining the organization for the guarantee that they and their children will be fed.
There is also a religious influence on the situation. Boko Haram, similarly to ISIS, is creating a war against the “infidels” in order to form an Islamic utopia.
Anat Berko, who served as a lieutenant colonel in the Israel Defense Forces, conducted a study focusing on the purpose behind female and child suicide bombers. Berko infiltrated Israel’s prisons and interviewed both women and children.
Berko found that women who were committing crimes of terrorism were driven by the fact of hopelessness. These women had already been sexually exploited, condemned as barren and suffered from poverty. Other women just followed the footsteps of their husbands who had joined terrorist organizations.
ISIS is also receiving an influx of female supporters, but their supporters are coming from the west. These women are coming from the United States, France, Austria, Canada, Norway, and Sweden.
They are not only signing up to marry ISIS soldiers and to perform domestic work, but they also would like to play a role in the genocide that ISIS is committing.
“The whole idea of suicide bombing within itself is a violation of Islamic law, because it involves suicide. So they are already operating outside of what most of the tradition believes,” said professor of history Robert Moore.
Khadijah Dare, a 22 year old woman from London, tweeted that she wanted to be the first female jihadi to kill a western hostage, as reported by BBC.
The question as to why western women would join a group like ISIS is baffling. One popular hypothesis is that western women have romanticized what ISIS is and stands for. These women see ISIS as has having bravery for coming against the west and are attracted to the power that ISIS is showing.