Woman who escaped IS remanded in prison, but was she actively involved in jihad?

Laura Hansen on Kurdish tv
Laura Hansen on Kurdish tv

The authors of a report on Dutch jihadis have accused the public prosecution department of misrepresenting their findings by claiming that all women with IS in Syria are actively involved in the armed struggle.

‘The department is taking a very extreme interpretation of our research,’ Leiden University professor Edwin Bakker told the NRC.

The professors’ concern comes as the courts remanded a 20-year-old girl who claimed to have escaped from IS in Syria with her two children in prison for three months while her case is investigated.

The public prosecution department says Laura Hansen is being held on suspicion of being a member of a terrorist organisation and planning to commit terrorist acts. She says she did nothing more than look after her children during the months she spent under IS rule.

‘We don’t know that all women are involved,’ said report author and Amsterdam University professor Ruud Peters. ‘There are plenty of women who are married and take care of children.’ In addition, said Bakker, ‘many girls simply believe in the naïve idea that they can live the best life as Muslims in the caliphate.’

The public prosecution department says it also used secret police and security service reports in making its assessment. ‘They show that women who are living in combat zones cannot escape from serving the interests of IS,’ a spokesman said.

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