Contrary to myth, Islamist female suicide bombers are neither “liberated” nor empowered women. They are not driven by feminist or nationalist ideologies. They are not always “black widows”—women, (most recently in the Moscow train bombings), who have lost terrorist husbands to the enemy and who want revenge.
Some female (Palestinian suicide bombers) are clinically depressed after years of family abuse, or upon discovering that they are infertile and that their husbands are divorcing them. Some female (Iraqi suicide bombers) are desperate for “mothering,” and are easily indoctrinated by an older woman figure who “mothers” them into martyrdom. Some female (Palestinian suicide bombers) are trapped by male indoctrinators who seduce them, then threaten to tell their husbands or families if they do not go out in a redemptive blaze of glory; otherwise, they will be honor murdered.
According to Israeli criminologist and author, Dr. Anat Berko, a researcher at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, and quoted today in Ha’aretz:
“Although no one will admit it openly, people talking behind closed doors will make all sorts of negative comments about female terrorists and will refer to them as ‘damaged goods.’ When a woman becomes a terrorist, her status is invariably diminished in the eyes of the average Palestinian. Female terrorists who are caught and sent to an Israeli prison are ‘damaged goods’ because they were behind bars, and that fact does not enhance their status, in blatant contrast with male terrorists. Female participation in terrorism does not advance female empowerment; it holds it back.”
Berko is the author of The Path to Paradise: The Inner World of Suicide Bombers and Their Dispatchers.
The good news is that she has written a new book in Hebrew which is now being translated into English. It’s title? The Smarter Bomb. Women and Children As Suicide Bombers.
Expect to see more and more female suicide bombers—as well as male bombers dressed in burqas. Iran has sworn to send an army of such women our way.
But don’t forget: Their main victims so far are other Muslims. Infidel civilians are targets of course, but suicide bombers, both male and female, have done their greatest damage to other Muslims.