The Sunni Iraqi women after the 'Caliphate': why have they been ignored?

Busranisa Sarac

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As of March 2019, ISIS lost control of all of the territories it had once occupied. While most of the discussion concerning women in ISIS has focused on whether foreign female fighters who fled ISIS’s last strongholds, Baghouz, should be allowed to come home, little has been written on local Sunni Iraqi women’s lives during and after ISIS, who spent years living under the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate. As these women are both Muslims and Sunni, many believe that they collaborated with ISIS to repress local people. As a result, they are even less likely to have access to any resources when they end up living in refugee camps. Consequently, this situation raises the issue of why Iraqi Sunni women who have not embraced ISIS’s ideology have been overlooked by scholars and international media. This paper argues that this situation has arisen because these Iraqi Sunni women who have lived under ISIS-controlled territories are consigned to being labeled as either suspected ISIS members by local authorities or infidels by ISIS (i.e. guilty of apostasy (takfirism)). Therefore, in order not to relegate these women’s current issues, it is imperative to gain a better grasp of how these women can be provided with enough resources so as to help them reintegrate into society as their lives are severely affected after all the atrocities they have endured.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-106
JournalGlobal Politics Review
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2019


  • Iraqi Sunni women
  • ISIS
  • Takfirism
  • jihad
  • violence against women
  • gender-based violence

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