A manifesto for women published by the Islamic State (IS) group has criticized Western attitudes to women, saying that this so-called "Western model" has failed, that a woman's place is in the home, and that Western women's fashions, like earrings, are the work of the devil.
The manifesto, titled Women of the Islamic State, was shared on the Internet on January 23 by the IS group's all-women unit, the Al-Khanssa Brigade. An English version of the manifesto was shared on February 5 by the Britain-based antiextremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation. It focuses on women's daily lives and the role of women in an Islamic society and in the "caliphate" (the name given by the IS group to the areas under its control).
The overarching message of the manifesto is that women should be "sedentary" while men are characterized by "movement and flux."
Women of the Islamic State does not beat around the bush, but states unequivocally that a woman's "fundamental function" is "in the house with her husband and children."
According to the manifesto, the Western idea that women should be "liberated" from the home has been a failure. This model, which is "preferred by infidels in the West" is a falsehood, according to the IS group, because the Islamic "Prophetic tradition" says that women should not leave the home even for prayer.
"Verily God has ordained this sedentary existence for women, and it cannot be better in any way," the manifesto insists.
The manifesto offers some explanations as to why it is very difficult for women to work outside the home.
"They have 'monthly complications' and pregnancies and so on," the manifesto explains, adding that women also have "responsibilities to their husbands, sons and religion."
Women, Know Your Limits!
Women of the Islamic State also -- unsurprisingly -- criticizes what it says is the Western idea that women should obtain "worldly knowledge" with the aim of trying to "prove that her intelligence is greater than a man's."
However, the manifesto does not say that women should be illiterate, but that God intended them to learn to "read and write about their religion and fiqh [Islamic jurisprudence]."
Studying for university degrees in such useless disciplines as science and other "Western" inventions is clearly a step too far for women, according to the Islamic State treatise, which is scathing about women who "flit here and there to get degrees and so on" and who "study the brain cells of crows, grains of sand, and the arteries of fish!"
Earrings and hair "shaved in some places and not others" are the Devil's work
The Islamic State's manifesto on women also covers the important issue of women's fashion which, unsurprisingly, it condemns as the work of "Iblis" or the devil.
The manifesto conflates jewelry such as earrings with plastic surgery, claiming that the devil encourages vulnerable women to "spend huge amounts of money to change God's creation" including via surgery to alter "the nose, ear, chin and nails."
The devil, according to the manifesto, preys on women in "fashion shops and beauty salons," encouraging them to have "things dangling from ears" and "hair shaved in some places and not others."
Unseen And Unheard
The IS women's manifesto insists that women should not leave the home except in "exceptional circumstances" but says that women can wage jihad in cases where an enemy is attacking her country and there are not enough men to fight.
Women are also allowed to work as doctors or teachers, but only if they observe strict Shari'a Law.
Although women are permitted to go outside in these extreme cases, the manifesto reiterates that, under normal circumstances, women should be unseen and unheard.
"It is always preferable for a woman to remain hidden and veiled, to maintain society from behind this veil," the manifesto says.
It is "legitimate" for girls to be married at the age of nine, the manifesto adds, noting that their husbands should "not be more than twenty years old."
Even if they fail to attract a husband at nine, the manifesto points out that "most pure girls will be married by sixteen or seventeen."
The manifesto ends by detailing some of the horrors that women are forced to endure in Saudi Arabia, where "women are able to work alongside men in shops like banks, where they are not separated by even a thin sheet of paper."
Saudi women are also "allowed to appear in ID photographs," while in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, "males and females are able to mingle in the hallways as if they were in an infidel country in Europe."