"I am very happy here": Female jihad in Syria as self-accomplishment

Thomas Pierret, Meriam Cheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In October 2014, a 19-year female Syrian tweeter known as Ahlam al-Nasr announced her departure from her home in Saudi Arabia and settlement in the territories held by the Islamic State Organisation ( ISO). As a piece of propaganda, Ahlam’s account of this jihadi migration tells as much about the author’s personality as about the kind of subjectivities ISOis trying to appeal to. Ahlam appears as a strongly individualist figure as she forcefully asserts ownership of her life plan despite the fact that it was decided with her family’s consent. The reasons she give to account for her migration, and to encourage her readers to follow suit, also testify to an individualist break with previous rationales for transnational jihad: jihad in Syria is not about helping coreligionist in distress, but rather about participating in the edification of an ideal Islamic State that offers attractive opportunities of self-accomplishment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-269
Number of pages28
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • women
  • Syria
  • Islamic movements
  • Islamic State Organisation
  • jihadism
  • foreign fighters


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