Two young teenagers who disappeared from Vienna 10 days ago may have joined the Syrian jihad—or they may have been groomed and trafficked.
They may or may not have gone to fight in Syria. They may or may not have married jihadis there. They may or may not be carrying guns in Facebook pictures, and in the later ones they may or may not be the women staring at the camera through slits in the full-face veil called a niqab. But there’s no doubt at all that the teenagers Sabina Selimovic, 15, and Samra Kesinovic, 16, from Vienna are now the poster girls for holy war against the Assad regime in Damascus. Some headlines are calling them “pin-ups.”
The sexual politics of jihadist movements can be so twisted, Western headlines so salacious, and Photoshop so deceptive that the whole thing needs to be viewed with a heavy degree of skepticism. And that’s even if the young women in question were sincere about their cause and not out to deceive their parents for other reasons. There are also suspicions they were “groomed” on the Internet to be kidnapped and trafficked.