At age 17 I moved 2,000 miles from the family hearth and started my life as a young adult. Essentially, I was an emancipated minor. Yes, I paid a bit of rent for the spacious bedroom that was my private space within a large residential home. However, now I was on my own. The decisions made, risks taken and consequences contemplated were my responsibility. Sink or swim, my father was determined in his decision. It was time for me to learn what it meant to be an adult. Whilst my mother cried, my father chose to hug my shoulders, give me a clock radio and hand me $ 50. I was expected to find a job, save for my first car and pay for college. I was already fiercely independent. My father knew my backbone was strong. After all, he had carefully snapped it into place. The mandate was simple: work, manage my own transportation and become the woman of my own vision. I loved my father a lot. However, I was even more afraid of him. He rarely raised his hand against me but it was the look in his eye that could send a chill down my spine. So, every early adult decision was based on the calculated hope that Dad would not stride back into my life with his deadly look. Even though I was emancipated, his influence continued to shadow my every move.
Early into my emancipation I sought the advice of a more experienced woman regarding dating and men in general. She was 24 or 25 years old, beautiful, career-oriented and had the assurance that is only gained from life experience. I still remember the evening we sat across from each other warming our hands over our coffee cups. We were seated in a booth at a local diner. I gathered the courage to ask her about dating. She opined, “You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a Prince Charming.” She encouraged me to casually date several men. “If you only date one man, then you have nothing for comparison.” She then followed through in a grand manner and bequeathed some of her wardrobe to me. I still remember the night I wore a short green dress and danced my life away at a disco. I dated the good, the bad and the ugly. I dated men who bored me to tears and others who enriched my life with their presence. These choices made in young adulthood also strengthened my backbone. Eventually, I settled down with my husband. This was no “starter marriage”. This was, and remains, a forever-kind-of-thing.
Western girls who are self-emancipated minors are leaving the family hearth for a far different reason. They are not focused on furthering their education and figuring out how responsible adults behave. They are focused on jihad. But it is jihad in the path of...sex. We are witnesses to a tragedy playing out with increasing frequency. Do not shy away from this topic. We are all adults. We can converse on an adult level without the inclusion of vulgarity or graphic detail. But jihad in the path of hormones is on the rise. If you have a daughter who has started her menses, the hormones are fully activated. But when biology interfaces with a jihadi flesh trader, your home is about to be raided and ransacked. When the man is done, you will have lost an important family treasure. She will never return.
Young girls are being recruited. They are being indoctrinated. And they are utterly duped. There is nothing quite so romantic as the image of a strong man grasping an AK-47 and opining about the glories of war. The men of jihad are legends in their own eyes. The girls are getting caught up in a legend too. It is jihad in the path of something that they do not quite grasp. They imagine themselves as future war brides. Unfortunately, the path they take may well lead to that of being a coerced brothel prostitute. Jihad in the path of sexual exploitation. They just do not know it until they find themselves tied to a bedpost in Syria or Iraq.
March 2014: A girl from Grenoble, France notified her parents via text message that she had been “selected” to join the jihad in Syria. After being detained prior to boarding an aircraft bound for Istanbul she was interviewed and it was determined she was heavily indoctrinated. She maintained the legend that she was going to Turkey as a “tourist”.
April 12014: Sabina Selimovic and Samra Kesinovic (ages 14 and 16, respectively) vanished on April 10, 2014. Social media posts have surfaced with the girls wearing Islamic dress. The posts appear to be manipulated and photo-shopped. Interpol is now actively seeking these Austrian teens. They are in harm’s way.
August 2014: A 16-year-old girl was picked up by border patrol agents at an airport in France. Her recruiter, a 22-year-old Chechen male, had radicalised her and paid for her ticket into Turkey, which is a gateway country to ‘join’ the jihadists. According to a statement by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, the girl’s family stated they “knew nothing of her intentions”. Jihad starts with intent. I know the doctrine well.
Joining the list of hormonal jihadists is 15-year-old Moezdalifa El Adoui, a Dutch Moroccan, who was stopped at the airport in Dusseldorf. Sixteen-year-old twins Salma and Zahra Hulani did manage to make their getaway. They slipped out of the family home in Manchester, UK and dashed off on their little secret mission. They have vanished into thin air. If you have not seen the film Taken with actor Liam Neeson, now is the time to view it. Watch it with your daughter. Think your little girl might not be taken? Think again. Her mind has possibly already taken flight. See her innocent smile at the dinner table tonight? Tomorrow, she is gone.
The writer is a freelance journalist and author of the novel Arsenal. She can be reached at email@example.com