The images are striking: women in the Islamic State regions of Iraq and Syria, dressed from head to toe in black burkas but armed to the teeth. They are firing semi-automatic pistols or wielding AK-47 assault rifles.
They look powerful, dangerous, deadly. For the West to ignore these extreme propaganda images would be fatal, because the pictures — spreading virally through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook — are extraordinary in many ways.
They are deliberately and cynically designed to appeal to disaffected European Muslim girls who might despise Western society but who still regard themselves as the equals of men.