ISLAMISTS
Women have largely been allotted a supportive role by the Islamic State. This includes propaganda aimed at winning young peopleREUTERS/Suhaib Salem

An undercover media investigation has exposed clandestine propaganda meetings organised by a British cell of women Islamists, calling on young Muslim women and children to join the Islamic State [Isis]. The meetings denounced the coalition nations "plotting against the believers" and promised that Allah will destroy them "one by one".

The reporter first made contact with the group online and was invited to the women-only talks, called Islamic Talks for sisters or Islamic Circles for women, the venue and time relayed very close to the event. It took the reporter from Channel 4 a year to infiltrate the group and get invited to the women-only talks.

Leading members of the group are women who have been associated with known extremists. One of the leaders is a mother of four who had set up a women's wing of an Islamist group, which is now banned. Rubana, who goes by the Twitter name Umm L, assures the gathering in a two-hour talk the "good days have already begun" because a Khilafah (Islamic State) has been established. She also accuses "filthy Jews" of killing innocent Muslim women and children, writes The Telegraph.

Another leader of the group is called Umm Saalihah, who lived with Mohammed Shamsuddin. He was arrested last year on suspicion of encouraging terrorism and being a member of al-Muhajiroun. A third woman exhorts the faithful to go to Sham (Syria) which is "the best of Allah's lands on earth".

Women in IS

Women joining the terror outfit have so far been allotted the role of supporting male combatants, typically by marrying and raising families for the Caliphate. About 600 women have traveled from western countries to Syria and Iraq, says the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College in London.

However, in places like Indonesia, there have been signs of women getting involved in more operational roles, terrorism analyst Sidney Jones said. Although the IS has banned women in combat role so far, Indonesian female IS supporters were eager to be more active and there was some suggestion that they could undertake frontline roles if their husbands agreed, Jones told Sydney Morning Herald.

The portrayal of IS as the perfect embodiment of Islamic law appeals to some women to the extent that they have been the main drivers of families to leave (for Syria), Jones said. "Twitter and Facebook are filled with accounts of lionesses who have gone with their cubs to Syria and want a bigger role," she said.