Katherine Brown, Lecturer in Defence Studies, King’s College, London, Großbritannien
The ability of Islamic State to recruit young women from Europe and North America has unsettled dominant gender and security narratives. The appeal of Islamic State seems counter-intuitive for many, as young Muslim women are perceived to be among the main beneficiaries of these secular, liberal, secure and wealthy states. This paper presents three key elements of Islamic State’s gendered utopian politics that begin to explain this challenge. The first is the sense of adventurism. Jihadi adventurism and the excitement of creating a ‘new’ utopian state is ever present in their publications and propaganda. The perfectionist agenda gives awe, wonder and inspiration to the utopian vision. Thus while becoming a hyper-masculine Jihadi warrior is clearly a frontline adventure fuelled desire and largely denied to women, the ‘Islamicly pure’ state building project presents an enterprise that all Muslims can participate in and aspire to. Second is the binary jihadi politics where the creation of the utopian Caliphate is predicated on a clear ‘Other’ that seeks to attack the Umma (community of believers, that is those living within the Caliphate). It is here that ‘sex slaves’ become the spoils of war. This dichotomous world view presents a vision of global politics in which constant war (a Hobbesian state of nature) is inflicted upon ‘believing' Muslims unless a safe haven is created. Third, is the vision of the Jihadi ‘good life’ presented, a sense of meaning and belonging, tied up with living an ordinary civilian life within the safe haven of the Islamic State. Thus while the headline grabbing ‘jihadi bride’ has some truth - life of the individual and the state is bound up with the creation of families - the bride is located in a wider community of living. In Jihadi living theirs is a unity of effort between self improvement and the improvement of the Islamic State. Across the three elements, and like other Utopian visions, there is a critique of the current social disorder and a solution, rooted in a tightly controlled purity of belief and practice. This paper, through these three areas of Utopian politics, also critiques these claims of Islamic State, their roots, and their gendered narratives.
Dudu Kücükgöl, Muslimische Jugend Österreich
Ernst Fürlinger, DonauUniversität Krems