Pink headscarves and straw hats: how to deradicalise the women ...


Pink headscarves and straw hats: how to deradicalise the women of IS

The idea in this Syrian camp is to make small changes before attacking deeper ideology. It's a huge challenge

Josie Ensor

The women of the Islamic State group wore loose pink pussy-bow blouses and wide-brimmed straw hats. The al-Roj detention camp for the families of IS fighters in northeastern Syria was once a sea of faceless black silhouettes. Now, it looks like something out of Little House on the Prairie.

The Kurdish-led and Western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have begun efforts to deradicalise the thousands of foreign women in their custody as it has become clear their countries do not want them back.

The first step has been to ban the austere-looking garb that was mandated by IS during the days of the caliphate. Shamima Begum, the London schoolgirl who fled to Syria, was pictured this week in the camp wearing a pink headscarf, a pastel jersey and jeans, rather than her trademark black burka. Knitted Valentine’s hearts could be seen hanging from the rafters of her tent...

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