|Part of a series on|
|Notable jihadist organisations|
|Jihadism in the East|
|Jihadism in the West|
Sexual jihad (Arabic: جهاد النكاح, jihad al-nikah) is a controversial practice of women within some Wahhabist groups who are allegedly voluntarily offering themselves in sexual comfort roles to men fighting for the establishment of Islamic rule.
Allegations of this practice are related to the Tunisian government's war effort against Al Qaida-linked terrorism in the mountainous Jebel ech Chambi region bordering Algeria. The Tunisian coalition government alleges that the practice began with Tunisian girls sympathetic to the Islamic jihad movement there, and then spread with Tunisian girls volunteering comfort to Syrian jihadis.
Publicity first arose in 2013, and the veracity of the alleged practice became the subject of greater debate in September 2013 after the Interior Minister of Tunisia made a public statement as a significant issue.
Reports and allegations
The concept originated in a fatwa titled Jihad ul Nikaah and attributed to Saudi Wahhabi cleric Sheikh Mohamad al-Arefe around 2013, that called for Sunni women supporters to come forward for sex jihad and boost the mujaheddin fighting the Bashar al Assad regime in Syria. Sources close to Sheikh Mohammad al-Arefe denied issuing the fatwa. Sheikh al-Arefe himself has denied allegations that he issued such a fatwa, dismissing it on his Twitter account as a "fabrication."
In April 2013, the Grand Mufti of Tunisia, Othman Battikh, alleged that Tunisian girls were visiting Syria to take part in a sexual jihad. In July 2013, President Moncef Marzouki replaced him as Mufti with Battikh alleging that he was replaced as punishment for speaking out. The Tunisian allegation is that this practice is based on the concept that "the Law of Necessity allows forbidden things in exceptional circumstances." On the basis of the fatwa, it was reported in Tunisian media that young Tunisian Sunni Muslim girls traveled to Syria to comfort jihadis. At least thirteen Tunisian girls were reported to have traveled to the rebel-held north Syria for sex jihad. Interviews of worried parents were published in the Internet. One girl, who was interviewed by Egyptian news agency Masrawy, regretted her action when she realized that she was exploited.
In July 2013, on a Facebook page claiming to be connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, a commentator allegedly promoted "sexual jihad". The page has been deemed a "hoax," and a senior Muslim Brotherhood supported called the page a "smear campaign".
On September 19, 2013, Lofti bin Jeddou, the Interior Minister of Tunisia stated in the National Constituent Assembly that Sunni Tunisian women traveling to Syria for sex jihad were having sex with 20, 30 and even up to 100 rebels, and that some of the women had returned home pregnant.
On October 6, 2013, a Tunisian official downplayed this prior claim, saying at most 15 Tunisian women traveled to Syria, though some were forced to have sex with several Islamist militants.
On October 7, 2013, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported that "sex jihad" to Syria was "an elaborate disinformation campaign by the Assad regime to distract international attention from its own crimes."
The Tunisian Jihadist Abu Qusay who was interviewed by Tunisian TV after his return from Syria confirmed that stories about "Jihad al-Nikah" or what is also referred to as "sexual Jihad" are not just a rumors but are real, as he himself had experienced it firsthand. He also confirmed the nationalities of the girls who travel to Syria to partake in this kind of Jihad. But some sources cast doubt on his story, and said he was not in Syria never.
According to some media outlets, after this supposed fatwa ISIL fighters allegedly told families to "hand over [their] daughters for sex". Despite Sheikh Mohamad al-Arefe's denial, the Daily Mirror reported that "leaflets in the captured cities of Mosul and Tikrit claim the women—virgins or not—must join jihad (...) and cleanse themselves by sleeping with militants. Those that refuse to do so are violating God’s will, it is claimed, and will be beaten or killed. ISIL fighters have been taking women captive in Syria since last year  when a Saudi-based cleric issued a fatwa (...) telling them to." It has also been suggested that Sunni women from Australia, the United Kingdom and Malaysia have voluntarily joined ISIL as comfort women.
In June 2014, it was reported by the Egyptian Daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm that the Islamist group ISIL (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) put up posters calling on the people of Mosul to bring them their unmarried girls to participate in “jihad al-nikah” or sex jihad.
In December 2014, the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights announced that one member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant had killed at least 150 females, including pregnant women, in Fallujah who refused to participate in sexual jihad.
- Salama, Vivian (25 September 2013). Are Arab Women Flocking To Syria For 'Sex Jihad'?, The Daily Beast
- Sex Jihad raging in Syria, claims minister. The Daily Telegraph. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
- (23 May 2013). شيخ سعودي يدعو العراقيات إلى جهاد.... المناكحة, Al Chourouk (Tunisia) (Arabic)
- El Alam: "Mufti: serving Syrian terrorists sexually is haram - Giving sexual services to terrorists under the name of religion (jihad) in Syria constitutes adultery, which is religiously haram (forbidden), according to the Mufti of Tunisia." April 20, 2013
- BBC: "Tunisia's 'sexual jihad' - extremist fatwa or propaganda?" 26 October 2013
- Al Arabiya: "Pro-Mursi protesters are awaiting signal for ‘sexual Jihad’: report" 13 July 2013
- Al-Masryalyoum: "إعلامي كويتي: «داعش» يطالب أهالي الموصل بتقديم غير المتزوجات لـ«جهاد النكاح" 18-06-2014 (Arabic) | Arabic: نطالب أهالي هذه الولاية بتقديم النساء غير المتزوجات ليقمن بدورهم في جهاد النكاح لإخوانهن المجاهدين في المدينة، ومن يتخلف سنقيم عليه الشريعة وتطبيق قوانين الشريعة | Translation: We call upon the people of this county to bring their unmarried girls so they can fulfill their duty in sex jihad for their warrior brothers in the city and anyone who will not appear will feel the full force of the sharia [Islamic law] upon him.”