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I think what was important was that I came to their stories with the shared cultural and religious and historical understanding.

I think there was also that too and that was always really a great outcome when it felt like talking helped the young woman and I felt like I wasn't endangering her by having the conversation. Jon Alterman: Let me ask a strange question which I'm sure you have dealt with a lot because the nature of your reporting but I think most people don't appreciate when they're looking at the Islamic state from afar and that is, it wasn't clear that all these women could speak the same language.

I found our life in Silicon Valley suburbia soulless and vacant, chafed at my mother’s you-mustn’t-become-like-them strictness, and felt like I did not belong. Some were very young women who were vulnerable or women who had mental health problems.

In countries like Tunisia, which is better off than of course its neighbor, Libya, have not really politically liberalized or economically liberalized and are still very vulnerable. Were they in prison?” With a young woman from Hama, who was a very fierce ISIS loyalist, I asked her about her family and how they had experienced Hafez al-Assad’s siege in that city and what happened to her father. Those who know me more closely know that I never read that book with the exception of two paragraphs in the pre-publication phase. She won a Fulbright Fellowship to Egypt, and studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo. Asma, a sophisticated, well-read young woman who had been studying for a marketing degree, was charged with greeting those women at the Syrian border. She fled after her husband allegedly tried to kill her and lived in … I think two things drew me to recording this and writing the book. The crassness, the absence of political context, the craftily worded polls that concluded much of Muslim Britain lived in sympathy with Isis jihadism, were not surprising to me. And the second thing was, as an old Middle East hand, it was really evident that the march of women from across the region to join this jihadist group was unprecedented. Just last week, Priti Patel said “no way” could Shamima return to the UK. Everything that came next, everything that followed, turned on her, for Sharmeena was the first among them to walk through real darkness. Ebadi went on to shoulder some of the country’s most intractable human rights cases pro bono. Our handy cheat sheet for self-described “comedian and feminist killjoy” Lindy West, ahead of her talk at All About Women 2020. It was a truth universally acknowledged that all young women travelling from Britain to the Islamic State needed to go shopping first and in that strange winter when girls started to go missing, Westfield Stratford, a sprawling mall in east London, emerged as a favourite final destination before the journey.

Sharmeena needed a new mobile phone and some winter clothes, because it was already snowing in Syria, the clothes she’d ordered online from Forever 21 had not arrived and she was leaving the next day. Some of them hadn't even been seduced by any ideology. Unfortunately your tickets have been released back in to our pool. [4] She co-authored Iran Awakening with Shirin Ebadi. I remember sitting in Shoreditch in the tower block living room of the father of Sharmeena Begum, the three girls’ best friend, who had travelled to Syria two months before them.

Definitely those recruiting networks were very female, the very skilled propagandists online were female.

The New York Times reviewed it as “a powerful, indispensable book on a challenging subject… an illuminating, much-needed corrective to stock narratives, not only about the group that deliberately and deftly terrified officials and publics across the world, but also about the larger ‘war on terror’ and the often ineffective, even counterproductive policies of Western and Middle Eastern governments.”.

Azadeh Moaveni is a journalist, writer, and academic who has been covering the Middle East for nearly two decades.

You could even say that in its own twisted way, it had a women’s strategy.

I did all this as a correspondent for prestigious newspapers, reporting on how women’s lives in the region were impacted by conflict. They had come straight from school, Bethnal Green Academy, where they excelled in their studies and were admired by teachers and fellow students alike as examples of fine young women: intelligent and well spoken, joyful and vivacious. Azadeh, welcome to Babel. Documenting Iran’s greatest women. Were people actually not that resistant to start with anyway? In Turkey, I encountered defectors living among other displaced Syrians in the southern city of Sanliurfa. I lived in London, I was teaching in London, and lots of young people from London—from communities like the one I was teaching in—were packing up to go and join the Islamic state and I thought it was extraordinary. Two of them, Aws and Asma, were university students from urban Raqqa, where they’d had bookshelves filled with novels by Jane Austen and Dan Brown. There is so much hostility within the Islamic state to Shia Islam. It involved multiple trips. By Azadeh Moaveni. The al-Qaidas of the past wanted women to stay at home and raise militant babies, but Isis saw that a younger generation wanted more, and offered them a share of its action. different waves before and aft er the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The girl who was studying marketing and she spoke English and she wanted to work in tourism—she ended up being the meet-and-greet woman, who would go to the border and bring these women from Europe into the Islamic state. Azadeh is a lecturer in journalism at New York University, London, and her work often appears in the Financial Times, The Guardian and The New York Times, among others. Azadeh Moaveni is Tehran correspondent for TIME Magazine.

I thought nothing was more romantic than radicals who fought against all this injustice, and ached to run away to the Middle East to join some inchoate resistance struggle.

For the young women from Raqqa, the arrival of so many foreign women to their wartime dystopia was bewildering. Jon Alterman: Do you think that the fact that these women had in many ways been traumatized by a very patriarchal group made them more willing to trust another woman? Azadeh Moaveni is the author of Lipstick Jihad and the co-author, with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, of Iran Awakening.She has lived and reported throughout the Middle East, and speaks both Farsi and Arabic fluently.

And if they come and the child is left in their family there's such a long period of separation or such close oversight by social care and social workers that I think the eye on them is very sharp. Jon Alterman: It strikes me that you came to this and you were able to build remarkable trust with the women you spoke to in your book. I grew up as an Iranian, Muslim girl in the U.S. Even feminists who I would have imagined, would have been conscious of that didn't. Azadeh Moaveni: It’s a good question, because it is indeed a dark topic—and was a treacherous topic—to work on. Azadeh studied politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and received a Fulbright Fellowship to Egypt.

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