After hearing about “Jihad Jane” and the increasing mentions in the media about women terrorists I thought it presented a very interesting social and moral issue. There’s something about the status of women in society that makes it seem to be a different issue. For me it was more troubling and difficult to comprehend the rationale behind women terrorists. I’m not sure what biases lie behind my feelings so I asked my penpal, Chinwei Wong, what he thought and below is our exchange. Hopefully others can provide more input because I still can’t resolve what quite differentiates a male terrorist from a female terrorist.

Me: “Have you heard of “Terror-mom”? I think it’s very interesting that women are becoming terrorists, especially ones who have children at home. To be perfectly honest I have more of a problem with it morally. I think it’s horrible that women would abandon their children in any case but especially to be a suicide bomber. It’s very difficult for me to think clearly about it.
What are your thoughts of women terrorists and Al Qaeda’s strategedy to train women?”

Chinwei Wong: “One thing your question triggered something i remembered reading/hearing about. I came across this story when during WWII, in this particular japanese family, this mother drowned herself, and her two kids, just so the husband can go pilot a kamikaze plane. A suicide trip, basically. I couldn’t take that down. In a conventional society where women are typically seen as givers of life, it’s mind numbing when we see the opposite of that happening!

The people recruited by Al Qaeda are people who thoroughly believed what they were indoctrinated. They most likely are convinced that their welfare, and that of their remaining families were going to be taken care of by their community.

If they believe that the west is a great evil, as they were brought up to believe, by extension dying in the battle of the west would be an ultimate sacrifice. Moreover, they may even desire their children to emulate them.

I’m sure the psychologies of these people are a complex matter, and much care has been taken to mould these suicide bombers, but i suggest that the only reason a mother would leave her child in this context is when she feels there is overwhelming need, and that the welfare of the child is not at stake.

Hope this helps! It is a difficult topic =/”

Me: “It is a very difficult topic! I couldn’t agree with you more. I think in society women are generally caregivers and protectors, it’s very strange to see them become suicide bombers. I wonder if many of the men who became terrorists had mothers in their lives?”