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Why do girls join Islamic State?

To find out the answer we need to study their stories

By Kawther Alfasi   December 2019
Renu, eldest sister of Shamima Begum holds her sister Shamima's photo. Photo: Laura Lean/PA Wire

Renu, eldest sister of Shamima Begum holds her sister Shamima's photo. Photo: Laura Lean/PA Wire

After three teenage girls from East London—including Shamima Begum, now stripped of her UK citizenship—left to join Islamic State (IS) in 2015, analysts were in a quandary. “Making sense” of their actions, argues Iranian-American journalist Azadeh Moaveni, bore a perilous resemblance to sympathy. This tension lies at the heart of her new book. Can we understand the grievances and motivations…

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