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Posted: 10/30/2004 10:39:49 AM EDT

The cover of the first issue of al-Khansa admonishes women to "watch your weight!"

A good terrorist wife will educate her child in the ways of martyrdom, like Palestinian mom Reem Riaschi, who killed herself in a suicide bombing in January.

The cover of the first issue of al-Khansa admonishes women to "watch your weight!"  A good terrorist wife will educate her child in the ways of martyrdom, like Palestinian mom Reem Riaschi, who killed herself in a suicide bombing in January.

'Good Housekeeping' for Mrs. Mujahedeen
Oct 11

Der Spiegel - Had a chance to read al-Qaida's new online women's magazine? Get the latest tips on caring for your bleeding husband, home schooling your kids for the jihad, staying slim for combat and other essentials for a terrorist's wife.

For a male al-Qaida fighter, life's rules are fairly straightforward: you fight, you die. But what about for a woman? What about the wives and mothers who feed and care for husbands and rock babies to sleep? Theirs is usually a mysterious and impenetrable world, but recently, Al-Qaida experts reported an oddly feminine blip on the terrorist radar.

Al-Qaida, it seems, has begun publishing al-Khansa, an online women's magazine in Arabic. It's a far cry from Martha Stewart Living. Twenty-three rose-colored pages define just what an Al-Qaida woman's role is and how she can best succeed. The articles are so shocking they would be humorous if they weren't meant seriously. One provides instructions on caring for a husband's gunshot wounds. Another offers tips on educating children for holy war, while another admonishes women to watch their weight -- not in order to attract men -- but to be ready for battle.

"You are a crucial part of the preparation for jihad," the Webzine says. "You must be fit." As such, the authors recommend push-ups, "reduced-calorie regimens" and "occasional fasting."

Yet, while the magazine insists that "women have just as important a role as men in the jihad," in reality the female world is decidedly unemancipated. "Women's lives are terribly sheltered and private," said Henner Kirchner, the publisher of Mid East Press-Digest and a researcher at the Institute for Middle and Near Eastern studies in Giessen, near Frankfurt. That is part of what makes this magazine so "intriguing," he said. Al-Qaida has published a myriad of male-oriented magazines, but "there has never been anything like this."

Portrait of a terrorist household

Part of the magazine's goal is to instruct women how to conduct their households and how to best support their husbands. Forget the fun most 20-somethings enjoy and that traditional women's magazines exude. A good terrorist's wife, it says, must have a steady trigger hand and a gun at the ready. She is allowed to both carry and fire a gun in order to defend herself and her family. And, she should be versed in first-aid. No house should be without scissors, spoons and iodine to disinfect wounds.

"A Mujahedeen must be a role model at all times and places," the zine declares. A woman's job consists of "helping to finance the jihad, caring for her jihad-oriented husband and teaching her children to know God's will." Lessons are to begin "even when children are still in the mother's womb." There is more, and none of it is any cheerier.

Like other terrorism experts, Kirchner believes al-Khansa was written specifically for Saudi Arabian women. That's because all of the authors write under pseudonyms that use prominent Saudi names. Saudi women's lives are a study in contrasts. On the one hand, women are not allowed to go outside without a male chaperone nor can they hold their own passports independent of a male companion. Yet, most are pushed to attend private women's universities. They generally marry at age 17-18, with their families playing a large role in the decision. As such, the Internet is a perfect women's tool: it provides global access from home.

Kirchner also has another theory about the magazine: He thinks its authors are men. More precisely, he thinks they are men who want to justify jihad to their otherwise unconvinced wives, mothers and sisters. "They are using the voices of women to tell women what to think," he said. "It's a deliberate and quite smart approach." It's also a fascinating one, as it acknowledges the emotional struggle of the families -- particularly the women -- behind the stoic male faces so often presented in the media.

And, it is dangerous. Publishing such a magazine is a provocation, he said, and opens its publishers to detection by police and terrorism experts, which is why Kirchner does not expect the magazine to appear regularly, if ever again. "They've put their message out there," he said.

A bluff to show strength

The magazine takes its name from a female poet who lived during the formative years of Islam in the 7th Century and carries an implicit lesson. Born a pagan, Al-Khansa converted to Islam and sent her four sons to die in holy battle. According to the title page, today's ideal "mujaheda" is "an al-Khansa of the present."

Another theory espoused by European and American terrorism experts is that al-Khansa was designed to frighten terrorism investigators by making them believe Al Qaida is stronger and more deeply imbedded in Saudi Arabia than it actually is.

Like its readers' lives, much about the magazine rests in the shadows. Terrorism experts cannot even estimate how many people are reading it by studying Web site traffic because too many academics and investigators are furiously accessing it daily. So, as they do so often in their business, they will simply have to wait -- and be
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 10:48:22 AM EDT
So the popular thought is the goal of the magazine is pure propaganda...that sounds about right.  

Link Posted: 10/30/2004 11:16:42 AM EDT
that would actually be funny if it were a joke.  If you take it seriously, it is sad and extremely disturbing.  These people really are brainwashed.  

Edit, this is cat_aclysm, not geekdude.  
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 11:21:54 AM EDT
I wasn't aware the average muslim woman had internet access! At least not the kind of woman that needs to learn about treating her bleeding husband or strapping a bomb to herself.

learn something new everyday.
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 11:33:20 AM EDT
I don't see anything in there about pie.
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 3:17:55 PM EDT
More evidence that the entire middle east is poisoned.  The mid-east consists of 2 types of people:

1) Ones that hate us and will destroy us at all costs.

2) Ones that are too cowardly to do anything and will side with the victors.

In any event we can do without both.  We are not going to win their hearts and minds because their minds have been so poisoned for so long that the damage is irreversible.  We need to stop looking into our hearts and souls to understand theirs because they are so different from us that most people in the US cannot fathom the barbarism and hatred that are part of their daily lives.
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 5:38:26 PM EDT

More evidence that the entire middle east is poisoned.  

It's the water.  All that oil drilling/burning, etc. has poisoned the water and warped their minds.  Send them Evian for a few years and they'll all be wimps like the French.  
Link Posted: 10/30/2004 5:41:15 PM EDT
Put a scratch and sniff anthrax perfume card in each one and I will buy a 1000 subscriptions and donate them.
Link Posted: 10/31/2004 11:27:16 AM EDT
For some reason, after that thread a few weeks ago from the guy in texas about the muslim woman scolding her kids in wal-mart, I can't read the first thing about muslim women without the phrase "don't make me strap a bomb to you" popping in my head.
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