SHAFAQNA- The Independent reported Monday that up to 60 British women have gone to Syria and joined Islamic State’s al-Khansaa brigade, an all-female police unit that administers strict shari’a law and punishes those who don’t follow the extreme interpretation of Islamic law imposed by the terror group.
One of the prominent leaders in the police force is a 20-year-old from Glasgow, Scotland named Aqsa Mahmood, who has been in Syria since November 2013, according to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation. Her parents, Muzaffar and Khalida Mahmood, self-described moderate Muslims, were shocked by their daughter’s turn for the extreme.
“Our daughter is brainwashed and deluded and helping those engaged in genocide,” her parents said. Aqsa Mahmood reportedly married an Islamic State fighter after her arrival in Raqqa, Syria, the group’s de-facto capital.
Reportedly, most of the women who have fled to Syria to fight are between the ages of 18 and 24.
A Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium (TRAC) report said the women in al-Khansaa are paid a monthly salary equivalent to NIS 593.28.
An unnamed Islamic State official said the gender-specific police force was created to prevent mixing between men and women. “We have established the brigade to raise awareness of our religion among women, and to punish women who do not abide by the law.”
TRAC also said the group arose from a need to expose men who dress up as women in order to avoid imprisonment.
Among the identities of other Britons who have fled to fight in Syria are 16-year-old twin sisters Zahra and Salma Halane from Manchester and a mother-of-two convert to Islam named Sally Jones, who left her Kent home to reportedly marry a jihadi she met online.