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Matchmaking And Marriage, Islamic State-Style

Those who are interested in marriage must go through Islamic State militants who deal with “marriage affairs."
Those who are interested in marriage must go through Islamic State militants who deal with “marriage affairs."

A British Islamic State (IS) militant fighting in Syria has given information and advice to women who wish to come to Syria, join IS, and get married to a militant, and to the militants who wish to marry them.

The British militant, who uses the pseudonym Abul Qa’qa al-Baritani, explained the rules about women’s guardians permitting them to marry, and about conditions for non-Syrian Muslim women who come to Syria to live under Islamic State rule.

Baritani has offered advice on a wide range of topics and in previous blog posts has recommended “the use of poisons or chemical and biological weapons including scorpions against [enemy] population centers” and says that the United States, Britain, and France should be particularly targeted with such weapons.

The “Sisters Maqar” -- All-Female Housing

According to Baritani, women who come to Syria to join the Islamic State group live in all-female housing known as a “sisters maqar” until they get married.

Women do not go to training camps, he says.

“There aren't any training camps running as far as I know, but it's possible to receive that training from your husbands,” Baritani wrote on his account on January 1.

In response to another woman who asked whether women can take lessons in Arabic and in the Koran, Baritani said that this is possible, but adds a caveat.

“As I say to all sisters, it depends upon the man whom you marry. Whether he wants a simple house wife (sic) whom he can just lock in doors (sic) or a brother who is more outgoing and wants for his wife more than that simple life,” Baritani wrote.

Meeting The Right Man -- And That Important First Date

Baritani also offers some insights into how matchmaking and courtship takes place in Islamic State-controlled Syria.

Those who are interested in marriage must go through Islamic State militants who deal with “marriage affairs,” he says.

The prospective partners are then offered a sort of speed-dating session with each other -- a (very) short meeting to see if they like each other.

“Meetings are arranged for those who are interested in marriage by those in charge of marriage affairs. They have 5 minutes to speak to each other and are given the ability to see one another if they both desire to do so,” Baritani says.

Following that five-minute “date,” the prospective partners can make a decision about whether to make the ultimate commitment of marriage, according to Baritani.

“Then they have the choice to marry or refuse one another and Allah knows best,” the British militant explained.

Getting Permission From Dad

In a post on his Tumblr blog, Baritani explains that militants are allowed to marry foreign Muslim women who have come to Syria and joined an Islamic State “sisters maqar.” However, women who want to get married in Islamic State-controlled Syria will need to get permission from their guardian or mahram -- usually their father.

Since the women in question are in Syria, and their fathers are usually at home in the West, the women are allowed to contact them via the Internet to ask permission, Baritani says.

However, Baritani points out that if a woman’s father refuses to allow the marriage “to a suitor who is compatible in terms of his religious commitment and good character,” then the woman’s guardianship merely passes to her next closest male relative until someone consents.

Rent, Food, And Schools

Baritani also offers some information and insights into the conditions for newlyweds under Islamic State rule.

According to Baritani, married couples in Islamic State-controlled areas are provided with a monthly allowance for food and also given money and their own house, “unless there are not houses available at that moment of time.”

If no house is available, married couples share a house with other couples or they can find their own rental property. Islamic State helps with the rent, Baritani said.

Baritani also reveals that women in Islamic State-controlled Syria -- unlike their counterparts in Saudi Arabia -- are allowed to drive.

The question of whether women are permitted to drive by the Islamic State group appears to be a popular one, with two questions devoted to the issue on Baritani’s account.

“Who lied to you and told you women can’t drive,” he responded to one questioner.

“They can drive,” he told another.

The information about marriage and the conditions for women provided by Baritani match that given by other members of the Islamic State group.

Female members of Islamic State have tended, however, to focus on other details of life in Syria.

One woman who goes by the name Umm Layth and who writes a blog titled “Diary of a Muhajirah" -- that is, female foreign fighter -- advised wannabe Islamic State wives to bring clothes, books, and cosmetics to Syria.

“[For] the married sisters or soon to be married, bring makeup and jewelry from the West because trust me there is absolutely nothing here,” Umm Layth wrote.

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

About This Blog

"Under The Black Flag" provides news, opinion, and analysis about the impact of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. It focuses not only on the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, but also on the implications for the region and the world.


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