SULAIMANIYAH- Radical Islamists who decide to embark on suicidal missions often do so with the expectation they will be rewarded with 72 virgins if they die in battle; however, it turns out there is one major caveat to the scenario, according to a U.S. lawmaker.
That is, if they are killed by a woman, the deal is off.
Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House International Relations Committee, told the New York Post, “These ISIL [Islamic State] soldiers apparently believed that if they were killed in battle, they went to paradise as long as they were killed by a man.”
In this Thursday, July 3, 2014 photo, a woman from an elite unit of female Kurdish Peshmerga fighters trains in Sulaimaniyah, 160 miles (260 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad, Iraq. Some Kurdish women living in Northern Iraq are training to be peshmerga, as the self-ruled Kurdish region's militia is known, to fight against the imminent threat of Islamic militants and to protect their land. (AP Photo)
In this Thursday, July 3, 2014 photo, a woman from an elite unit of female Kurdish Peshmerga fighters trains in Sulaimaniyah, 160 miles (260 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad, Iraq. Some Kurdish women living in Northern Iraq are training to be peshmerga, as the self-ruled Kurdish region’s militia is known, to fight against the imminent threat of Islamic militants and to protect their land. (AP Photo)
The issue is of some relevance, especially in Iraq, where female recruits are among the ranks of the Kurdish peshmerga forces, now fighting the Islamic State jihadist group.
“[T]hese female soldiers were communicating their satisfaction with the fact that they had taken the fight to ISIL and had stopped the advance, turned back the advance — slayed a number of these fighters, who would then run away,” Royce said adding that the female fighters have been fighting “very bravely.”
Royce said heard at a meeting with the Kurdish foreign minister that female fighters were “laughing” when they saw Islamic State jihadists flee from them.
“I think [the Islamic State] were more afraid of us than of the men,” a female Kurdish fighter named Tekoshin told AFP, the New York Post noted. “They believe they’ll go to hell if they die at a woman’s hands.”
Al-Monitor, an online publication that covers the Middle East, ran a profile on the female battalions in August. While the battalions were set up in 1996, the female peshmerga fighters are being further motivated by hardline rules being imposed on women by the Sunni radical group including enforced wearing of Afghanistan-style head-to-toe covering of women, marrying women off against their will and female genital mutilation, Al-Monitor reported.
The female peshmerga fighters are now on the front lines against the Islamic State jihadists.
Al-Monitor reported that there are four female battalions, including some recruits who are mothers, while the highest ranking women are colonels.
“We are now on the battlefield, but I’m married and I have a daughter, whom I left with my parents to fight against extremists. I’m happy to perform my national duty to defend Kurdistan,” one fighter told Al-Monitor.