Tunisia looks to stop women from ‘sex jihad’ trips


Tunisia’s Women’s Ministry said Saturday it would come up with a plan to counter the growing number of women traveling to Syria to wage “sex jihad” by comforting militants.

“The ministry intends to boost its cooperation with both government and nongovernment bodies on this issue to come up with appropriate ways to thwart the plans of those who encourage such practices,” a ministry statement said. “The ministry will work to introduce a plan of information, sensitivity and education targeting women and families everywhere to warn them of the seriousness of these practices.”

Interior Minister Lotfi ben Jeddou told the National Constituent Assembly on Thursday that Tunisian women had gone to Syria, where “they have sexual relations with 20, 30, 100” militants.

“After the sexual liaisons they have there in the name of ‘jihad al-nikah’ [sexual holy war, in Arabic], they come home pregnant,” he said. He did not say how many women had returned pregnant with the children of jihadist fighters.

On Saturday, the Health Ministry statement said it had noted “an increase in the number of young women leaving for so-called jihad al-nikah,” although it did not give any figures.

Jihad al-nikah, permitting extramarital sexual relations with multiple partners, is considered by some hard-line Sunni Muslim Salafists as a legitimate form of holy war. Media reports have said hundreds of Tunisian women have gone to Syria for this purpose.