” … The new data suggest that women are actually more important than men for the terrorist organization's online war. …”
Given the brutal version of Islam promoted by the terrorist Islamic State group, which includes whipping—and much worse—for women who so much as show their hair, it may seem strange that many women recruits champion its cause.
Are they more than just tools of propaganda efforts to burnish the IS group’s image? Much more than that, according to a new study of pro–IS groups on social media. The new data suggest that women are actually more important than men for the terrorist organization's online war.
The surprising results also suggest a new way to fight groups like the IS group online, says Karl Rethemeyer, a political scientist at the State University of New York at Albany, who specializes in social networks but wasn’t involved in the new study. “Counterterrorism authorities may want to use gender” as a shortcut for identifying key people in the propaganda networks, he suggests.