ISIS manifesto on women’s rights sparks outrage

If I lived in a territory controlled by ISIS, I would be married by now.

Let me back up.

At the end of January, the all-female Al-Khanssaa Brigade began circulating a document called “Women in the Islamic State: Manifesto and Case Study.” It was translated into English by the counter-extremism think tank The Quilliam Foundation,shortly thereafter.

The manifesto is Western-hating, equality-disregarding propaganda aimed at Muslim women. One of its suggestions is that girls be married as early as age 9, with most “pure” girls married by 16 or 17 years old.

I’m 17, and I don’t plan on getting married anytime soon. The document also advocates for women staying in the house except for mandatory jihad, to study religion or to work as a doctor or teacher for females.

I don’t plan on doing that, either.

This completely exaggerated recruitment attempt distorts the reality of life under ISIS rule, glorifies the group’s practices and justifies their beliefs.

This group of women, and the mindset they represent, think so highly of a terrorist group that has killed hundreds of local people and brutally executed many Westerners in the name of Islam.

ISIS and its affiliates should be horrifying, not appealing, to people. But strangely, this document and other propaganda like it have been surprisingly successful. The week of Feb. 17, three teenage girls from the United Kingdom ran away from home, allegedly to Syria.

Sexism has never been acceptable, but it’s increasingly dangerous when it is promoted online and can so easily reach such vulnerable adolescents.

The circulation of this manifesto could be the beginning of a whole new era of brainwashing innocent young people into sympathizing with violent, ignorant terrorists, all via the Internet.

The fact that the manifesto was only released in Arabic is a clear sign that its intended audience is Muslim women only. It was obviously not written for the Western eyes that it has reached.

In other words, even the authors of the document themselves knew we would take issue with it.

How can we not have a problem with the idea that a woman’s only value is in her “sedentariness, stillness and stability?”

While it might come as a surprise to this group, we’re in the 21st century. Women should be educated past secondary school, hold jobs outside of the home and be influential in their communities.

And woman should not live just to serve their husbands and reproduce, as the manifesto advocates.

It’s impossible to feel like the world is making any progress when there are people like this who not only believe in these outdated ideas but are working so hard to spread them to others.

ISIS isn’t just a terrorist threat. It’s a threat to the power and well-being of women across the Middle East.