In the heart of the Syrian civil war, there is a group of young Tunisian women doing everything they can to aid Syrian opposition fighters. They are determined to overthrow the cruel regime of Bashar al Assad with one sexually-satisfied rebel at a time.
"They have sexual relations with 20, 30, 100 [rebels]" Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi ben Jeddou claimed in an address before the Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly on Thursday, explaining that the girls are coming home pregnant. "They come back bearing the fruit of sexual contacts in the name of sexual jihad and we are silent doing nothing and standing idle," he added.
What this sounds like is a modern-day flashback to "comfort women", the term given to women and girls forced into prostitution and sexually servicing the men of the Japanese Imperial army during World War II. Historians estimate that nearly three-fourths of these women died, and many were left infertile due to trauma and disease. Ben Jeddou "did not say how many Tunisian women were thought to have gone to Syria for such a purpose, although media reports have said hundreds have done so," the AFP reports.
Local media reports also say that a startling number of these sexual jihadists are young girls. Earlier this month, the controversial Salafist Saudi Sheikh Mohamed al-Arifi's issued "a fatwa that permits fighters to marry few hours with girls as young as 14," the Al Bawaba news site reported. Mohamed al Arifi's fatwa explains the call for young girls. But it also explains how how religion can be used to justify all this sex.
"Jihad al-nikah, permitting extramarital sexual relations with multiple partners, is considered by some hardline Sunni Muslim Salafists as a legitimate form of holy war, " the AFP reports. And Al Bawaba adds, "Hezbollah – Lebanon’s party of God - has reportedly promoted the practice of temporary marriage in the past, notably during the July war with Israel in 2006."
The question that remains is if this is prostitution and exploitation of teenage girls, or are they autonomous women really supporting Syria. Jeddou and the Interior Ministry believe this is closer to prostitution and a reason to stop Tunisians from traveling to Syria. He explained that these women are the reason the country has banned around 6,000 Tunisians from traveling to Syria since March and that they've arrested 86 people involved with "networks" involving sexual jihadists, Al Arabiya reports.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.