Jihadi #MeToo? New al-Qaʿida Magazine for Women Calls on Them To Stay Indoors and Serve Their Jihadi Husbands

Gilad Shiloach takes a look at al-Qaʿida's new magazine for women.

Batuki.  Taken from an al-Qaeda affiliated Telegram channel.
"Batuki". Taken from al-Qaeda Telegram channel.

"What should I do when I get mad at my husband?"

“20 ways to make your husband love you more than himself.”

"Magic secrets to help you wash the dishes."

"Mashed potato recipe."

These headlines did not appear in a magazine for women in the early twentieth century or another lifestyle show on TV, but in a new online magazine published by al-Qaʿida. Baituki (Arabic for “Your Home”), is an Arabic-language online magazine launched in December 2017. The 20-page publication is produced by “Khair Ummah Institution,” a Dawa and propaganda wing affiliated with al-Qaʿida, and disseminated by the group’s supporters on social media in PDF files.

Analysis of the first four issues that were already published suggests that unlike the Islamic State (IS), which declared it permissible for women to fight alongside men on the battlefield and called on women to take up arms, as previously discussed in Jihadiscope al-Qaʿida has a different conception of what the role of women should be in its society. The ideal woman portrayed in this al-Qaʿida magazine is married to a Jihadi fighter, and her contribution to the Jihadi effort is very limited to serving him and making their home into a "paradise on earth.”

The magazine's content is not affected by the #MeToo zeitgeist and doesn't promote women's empowerment, but exactly the opposite. The magazine encourages women to stay indoors and spend time pleasing their husbands, cleaning, cooking, smiling, raising their children with a Salafi education, and obeying their men. The ideal Muslim woman is asked not to increase the pressure on her Jihadi husband, as he "sees bloodshed and body parts every day," as stated in the second issue of the magazine. Real women in “Your Home” should not appear with their faces uncovered, of course, and the few who do wear black burqas.

"Your Home" is just the latest publication to join the extended family of magazines published by jihadist organizations, from the legendary "Inspire" magazine by al-Qaʿida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to "Dabiq" and "Rumiyah" by the Islamic State (IS), including several aimed for women. Its first four issues may suggest another difference between al-Qaʿida and the IS, which only recently boasted of fielding women combatants for the first time and encouraged others to take an active part in the Jihadi effort. Moreover, the appearance of "Your Home" just a few weeks after IS invited women to join the fight may imply that "Your Home" may even be a direct reaction to the IS's new display of Jihadi feminism.