ISIS recruiting ‘Jihotties’ to marry its fighters

'Jihotties' being recruited as brides of ISIS terrorists. (Courtesy: CNN)

WASHINGTON, (CNN) –  Analysts say ISIS is running what you might call its own version of Match.com.  It’s a recruitment site targeting mostly young women to become brides of jihadists.

She writes in flowery detail, of her first meeting with her future husband.

On a blog, written by a woman who calls herself ‘Shams’ and goes by the handle ‘Bird of Jannah,” there’s the post, “After a few minutes, I flip my niqab. He looked at me. Our eyes catch each others’. I had palpitation that is faster than the speed of light.”

Analysts say this blog is a recruitment tool for ISIS, targeting mostly women.

“Where it’s about romance, about a perfect life, it’s about making everything bad in their past go away, because now they’re going to have a perfect future,” said Prof. Mia Bloom, author of the book “Dying to Kill.

Experts say there’s even a catch-phrase circulating: ‘Jihotties’

“The Jihotties refers to men who are displaying their masculinity, showing what heroes they are, and how amazing they are, as good Muslim men who appear and are willing to fight,” said Katherine Brown, a lecturer in Islamic studies at the University of Birmingham.

It’s part of an explosion of online recruiting for ISIS that’s eye-catching, and inviting.

Young women are promised free housing, health-care and cars. Men are promised beautiful brides– true to the faith. And in many cases, it seems to be working.

It’s been estimated that more than 500 western women had left their families, to travel to Syria and Iraq, and join ISIS.

So, is part of what entices them the glossy presentation online?

“Yeah,” said Lorenzo Vidino, the director of George Washington University’s program on extremism.  “It appeals to the demographic, which is people in their teens, early 20s, so it’s a presence online, on the platforms that people that age use: Twitter, Instagram, but it’s also very well done. It’s a lot of pictures, not a lot of words.”

Analysts say when the women actually get to ISIS-controlled territory, they’re placed in female dorms for indoctrination.  They often don’t have a choice of who they marry.

And in reality, they say housing, water and electricity are scarce.

The stories often don’t end well.

A U.S. counter-terrorism official tells CNN ISIS’s use of foreign fighters as “cannon fodder” suggests many of these marriages will be short-lived.

But, it’s a badge of honor for a woman to be widowed.

However, there is a downside, says Bloom.

“In many ways it’s hugely disappointing because the women are treated like chattel. They are gifted to foreign fighters, and then they are recycled. When the first husband dies, they’ll be recycled again.”

Western officials are trying to encourage young recruits, especially the women, to leave ISIS.

But for many, if they try to leave, or if someone helps them leave, experts say, it’s a sin punishable by death.

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