What attracts Japanese women to ‘Islamic State’?

Japan has been shocked by reports that a handful of Japanese women have been detained in Iraq, apparently after travelling to the region to marry fighters for the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) – although there seems to be little sympathy for their plight.

Media reports from Iraq specify that more than 1,330 foreign women and children are currently being held at a camp for displaced people in northern Iraq. The foreign nationals, who according to the Associated Press were families of “IS” fighters, surrendered to Kurdish forces in late August after the “IS” stronghold in Tal Afar near Mosul was captured. The foreign nationals are believed to be from 14 countries, with Japan’s Shukan Bunshun news magazine reporting that five are Japanese citizens.

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