Volume 13, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1878-9714
  • E-ISSN: 1878-9722
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Since the proclamation of the Caliphate in 2014, an unprecedented number of women have fled to Syria to join the Islamic State (IS). This fact, a matter of national security for many countries, has spotlighted the two major official propaganda magazines of the organisation, and , since both publications are considered potential recruitment tools. This paper studies the sections addressed to women in the aforementioned magazines to find out: (a) the roles of women within IS as depicted by the two official propaganda channels and (b) the legitimation strategies used by the organisation to justify their claims. To reach these aims, I will study the data considering the legitimation models proposed by van Leeuwen (2008) and Reyes (2011). The analysis will unveil the ideal type of woman any Muslim female joining the armed group should aspire to become.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Azzam Dhiab-Hassan, Miguel Ángel Benítez-Castro & Encarnación Hidalgo-Tenorio
    2018Nutcracker: The JIHAD Corpus. University of Granada.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Benítez-Castro, Miguel Ángel and Encarnación Hidalgo-Tenorio
    2019 “Rethinking Martin & White’s affect taxonomy. A psychologically-inspired approach to the linguistic expression of emotion.” InEmotion in Discourse, ed. byJ. Lachlan Mackenzie, and Laura Alba-Juez, 301–331. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/pbns.302.12ben
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.302.12ben [Google Scholar]
  3. Boutz, Jennifer, Claudia Brugman, and Alia Lancaster
    2017 “Quoting the Prophet Communicative Functions of Hadith Quotation in Web-Based Arabic Discourse.” Journal of Arab and Muslim and Media Research10 (1): 3–23. 10.1386/jammr.10.1.3_1
    https://doi.org/10.1386/jammr.10.1.3_1 [Google Scholar]
  4. Boutz, Jennifer, Hannah Benninger, and Alia Lancaster
    2019 “Exploiting the Prophet’s Authority: How Islamic State Propaganda Uses Hadith Quotation to Assert Legitimacy.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism42 (11): 972–996. 10.1080/1057610X.2018.1431363
    https://doi.org/10.1080/1057610X.2018.1431363 [Google Scholar]
  5. Bunzel, Cole
    2015 “From paper state to Caliphate: The ideology of the Islamic State.” The Brookings Project on U.S Relations with the Islamic World. Analysis Paper, 19. RetrievedMarch 23, 2020fromhttps://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/The-ideology-of-the-Islamic-State.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Chilton, Paul
    2004Analysing Political Discourse: Theory and Practice. London: Routledge. 10.4324/9780203561218
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203561218 [Google Scholar]
  7. Cohen, Katie, and Lisa Kaati
    2018Digital Jihad. Propaganda and the Islamic State. Department of Justice of Sweden. RetrievedJanuary 24, 2020fromhttps://www.foi.se/rapportsammanfattning?reportNo=FOI-R--4645--SE
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Cottee, Simon
    2017 “‘What ISIS Really Wants’ Revisited: Religion Matters in Jihadist Violence, But How?” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism40 (6): 439–454. 10.1080/1057610X.2016.1221258
    https://doi.org/10.1080/1057610X.2016.1221258 [Google Scholar]
  9. Dagli, Caner K.
    , “The Phony Islam of ISIS.” The Atlantic, February 2015 RetrievedOctober 17, 2020fromhttps://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/02/what-muslims-really-want-isis-atlantic/386156/
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Fairclough, Norman
    2003Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research. London: Routledge. 10.4324/9780203697078
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203697078 [Google Scholar]
  11. Farwell James, P.
    2014 “The Media Strategy of ISIS.” Survival56 (6): 49–55. 10.1080/00396338.2014.985436
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00396338.2014.985436 [Google Scholar]
  12. Gartenstein-Ross, Daveed, Nathaniel Barr, and Bridget Moreng
    2016The Islamic State’s Global Propaganda Strategy. The Hague: International Centre for Counter-Terrorism. 10.19165/2016.1.01
    https://doi.org/10.19165/2016.1.01 [Google Scholar]
  13. Ghanem-Yazbeck, Dalia. The Female Face of Jihadism
  14. Ingram, Kiriloi M.
    2016 “More than ‘Jihadi Brides’ and ‘Eye Candy’: How Dabiq appeals to Western women.” The Hague: International Centre for Counter-terrorism. RetrievedOctober 14, 2020fromhttps://icct.nl/publication/more-than-Jihadi-brides-and-eye-candy-how-dabiq-appeals-to-western-women/
  15. Jasko, Katarzyna, Arie W. Kruglanski, Ahmad Saiful Rijal Bin Hassan, and Rohan Gunaratna
    2018 “ISIS: Its History, Ideology, and Psychology.” InHandbook of Contemporary Islam and Muslim Lives, ed. byM. Woodward and R. Lukens-Bull, 1–25. Cham: Springer. 10.1007/978‑3‑319‑73653‑2_30‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73653-2_30-1 [Google Scholar]
  16. Kneip, Katharina
    2016 “Female Jihad. Women in the ISIS.” Politikon. IAPSS Political Science Journal29: 88–106. 10.22151/politikon.29.5
    https://doi.org/10.22151/politikon.29.5 [Google Scholar]
  17. Lahoud, Nelly
    2014 The Neglected Sex: The Jihadis’ Exclusion of Women From Jihad, Terrorism and Political Violence, 26 (5), 780–802, 10.1080/09546553.2013.772511
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09546553.2013.772511 [Google Scholar]
  18. Lakoff, Robin
    1973 “Language and Woman’s Place.” Language in Society2: 45–80. 10.1017/S0047404500000051
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404500000051 [Google Scholar]
  19. Marone, Francesco
    (ed.) 2019Digital Jihad: Online Communication and Violent Extremism. Instituto per gli studi di Politica Internazionale. RetrievedJanuary 18, 2020fromhttps://www.ispionline.it/it/pubblicazione/digital-Jihad-online-communication-and-violent-extremism-24459
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Martín-Rojo, Luisa, and Teun A. van Dijk
    1997 “There was a problem and it was solved!”: Legitimating the expulsion of ‘illegal’ migrants in Spanish parliamentary discourse.” Discourse & Society8 (4): 523–566. 10.1177/0957926597008004005
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0957926597008004005 [Google Scholar]
  21. McCants, William and Sohaira Siddiqui
    2015 “Experts Weigh In (Part 2): How Does ISIS Approach Islamic Scripture?.” Brookings Institution. RetrievedMarch 15, 2021fromhttps://www.brookings.edu/blog/markaz/2015/03/26/experts-weigh-in-part-2-how-does-isis-approach-islamic-scripture/
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Milton, Daniel
    2016Communication Breakdown: Unraveling the Islamic State’s Media Efforts. Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. RetrievedNovember 20, 2019fromhttps://www.ctc.usma.edu/communication-breakdown-unraveling-the-islamic-states-media-efforts/
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Pelletier, Ian R., Leif Lundmark, Rachel Gardner, Gina Scott Ligon, and Ramazon Kilinc
    2016 “Why ISIS’s Message Resonates: Leveraging Islam, Sociopolitical Catalysts, and Adaptive Messaging.” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism39 (10): 1–66. 10.1080/1057610X.2016.1139373
    https://doi.org/10.1080/1057610X.2016.1139373 [Google Scholar]
  24. Perešin, Anita
    2015 “Fatal Attraction: Western Muslimas and ISIS”. Perspectives on Terrorism9 (3): 21–38. RetrievedMarch 15, 2021fromwww.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/index.php/pot/article/view/427/html
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Perry, Samuel P., and Jerry Mark Long
    2016 “‘Why Would Anyone Sell Paradise?’: The Islamic State in Iraq and the Making of a Martyr.” Southern Communication Journal81 (1): 1–17. 10.1080/1041794X.2015.1083047
    https://doi.org/10.1080/1041794X.2015.1083047 [Google Scholar]
  26. Reyes, Antonio
    2011 “Strategies of legitimation in political discourse: From words to actions.” Discourse & Society22 (6): 781–807. 10.1177/0957926511419927
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0957926511419927 [Google Scholar]
  27. Saltman, Erin. M., and Melanie Smith
    . “Till Martyrdom do us part. Gender and the ISIS Phenomenom.” Institute for Strategic Dialogue 2015icsr.info/wpcontent/uploads/2015/06/Till_Martyrdom_Do_Us_Part_Gender_and_the_ISIS_Phenomenon.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Sunderland, Jane
    2004Gendered Discourses. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. 10.1057/9780230505582
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230505582 [Google Scholar]
  29. Tziarras, Zenonas
    2017 “Islamic Caliphate: A Quasi-State, a Global Security Threat.” Journal of Applied Security Research, 12 (1): 96–116. 10.1080/19361610.2017.1228038
    https://doi.org/10.1080/19361610.2017.1228038 [Google Scholar]
  30. van Leeuwen, Theo
    2008New Tools for Critical Discourse Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195323306.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195323306.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  31. Von Knop, Katharina
    2007 The female Jihad: Al Qaeda’s women. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 30(5): 397–414. 10.1080/10576100701258585
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10576100701258585 [Google Scholar]
  32. Wignell, Peter, Sabine Tan, Kay L. O’Halloran, and Rebecca Lange
    2017 “A Mixed Methods Empirical Examination of Changes in Emphasis and Style in the Extremist Magazines Dabiq and Rumiyah.” Perspectives on Terrorism, 11 (2): 2–21.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Winter, Charlie
    2015The Virtual “Caliphate”: Understanding Islamic State’s Propaganda Strategy. Quilliam Foundation. RetrievedOctober 29, 2020fromhttps://www.stratcomcoe.org/charlie-winter-virtual-Caliphate-understanding-islamic-states-propaganda-strategy
    [Google Scholar]
  34. 2017ICSR insight: The ISIS Propaganda Decline. London: ICSR.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. 2019Researching jihadist propaganda: Access, interpretation and trauma. Resolve Network. RetrievedMarch 14, 2021fromhttps://www.resolvenet.org/research/researching-jihadist-propaganda-access-interpretation-and-trauma. 10.37805/rve2019.1
    https://doi.org/10.37805/rve2019.1 [Google Scholar]
  36. 2020 “Redefining propaganda: The media strategy of the Islamic State.” RUSI Journal. RetrievedMarch 14, 2021fromhttps://rusi.org/publication/rusi-journal/redefining-%E2%80%98propaganda%E2%80%99-media-strategy-islamic-state. 10.1080/03071847.2020.1734321
    https://doi.org/10.1080/03071847.2020.1734321 [Google Scholar]
  37. Wodak, Ruth
    2001 “The discourse-historical approach.” InMethods of Critical Discourse Analysis, ed. byRuth Wodak and Michael Meyer, 63–94. London: SAGE.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. 2002 “Discourse and politics: The rhetoric of exclusion.” InThe Haider Phenomenon in Austria, ed. byRuth Wodak and Anton Pelinka, 33–60. New Brunswick, N.J. &London: Transaction.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Wood, Graeme
    . “What ISIS really wants”, The Atlantic, March 2015 RetrievedOctober 16from What ISIS Really Wants – The Atlantic
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Zakaria, Rafia
    2015 “Women and Islamic Militancy.” Dissent Magazine62 (1): 118–125. Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press. 10.1353/dss.2015.0011
    https://doi.org/10.1353/dss.2015.0011 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): indoctrination; Islamic State (IS); legitimation strategies; propaganda; women
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error