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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 August, 2004, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
'Jihad' magazine for women on web
By Sebastian Usher
BBC World Media correspondent

Al-Khansa website [screen grab]
Articles are written as if by women, but it is not clear if they actually are
Radical Islamists have launched a new magazine publication on the internet especially for women.

The aim of the magazine is to show women how to reconcile the apparent contradiction of fighting jihad while maintaining family life.

The magazine is called Al-Khansa, after a famous Arab woman poet in the early days of Islam, who wrote eulogies to male relatives who had died in battle.

It appears to be the first "jihadist" publication aimed exclusively at women.

The magazine says it is published by an organisation called "The Women's Media Bureau in the Arabian Peninsula".

The main objective seems to be to teach women married to radical Islamists how to support their husbands
And it claims that the former leader of al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, Abd-al-Aziz al-Muqrin - who was killed by Saudi security forces in June - was one of its founders.

Al-Khansa also appears to be linked to the most well-known jihadist outlet on the internet, Sawt al-Jihad - or Voice of Jihad.

The first edition of the magazine uses fierce language similar to that found on Sawt-al-Jihad.

One of its encouragements to jihad reads: "The blood of our husbands and the body parts of our children are our sacrificial offering."

TV presenter attack

The main objective of the magazine seems to be to teach women married to radical Islamists how to support their husbands in their conflict with the authorities.

It also gives them specific advice on how to bring up their children in the path of jihad, how to provide first aid and what kind of physical training women need to prepare themselves for fighting.

Most of the articles are written as if by women, although it is not clear if they actually were.

Some take a somewhat patronising attitude, dwelling on supposed female weaknesses that must be overcome in the cause of jihad - such as over-dependence on home comforts like TV and air conditioning.

A section on current affairs also devotes some space to an attack on the recent development of having women presenters on Saudi TV, suggesting it is a kind of prostitution.

The issue of Saudi women's rights also comes in for scorn.

The publication of the magazine is another sign of how radical Islamists have developed the internet as an essential tool for information and propaganda.


SEE ALSO:
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Saudi presenter shows beaten face
16 Apr 04  |  Middle East
Saudi Arabia's veil challenge
21 Jan 04  |  Middle East



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