Ayman al-Zawahiris uttalelse om at kvinners oppgaver i jihad er å oppdra krigere, har utløst en intens debatt på internett, der kvinner deltar og krever å få kjempe på linje med menn. Man kan snakke om en jihad-feminisme. Nettet er arenaen for likestilling innen jihad.

Flere kvinner har den senere tid opptrådt som selvmordsbombere. Kan det være en sammenheng?

A’eeda Dahsheh is a Palestinian mother of four in Lebanon who said she supports al-Zawahri and has chosen to raise children at home as her form of jihad. However, she said, she also supports any woman who chooses instead to take part in terror attacks.

Another woman signed a more than 2,000-word essay of protest online as Rabeebat al-Silah, Arabic for «Companion of Weapons.»

«How many times have I wished I were a man … When Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahri said there are no women in al-Qaida, he saddened and hurt me,» wrote «Companion of Weapons,» who said she listened to the speech 10 times. «I felt that my heart was about to explode in my chest…I am powerless.»
«Women were very disappointed because what al-Zawahri said is not what’s happening today in the Middle East, especially in Iraq or in Palestinian groups,» said Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, an organization that monitors militant Web sites. «Suicide operations are being carried out by women, who play an important role in jihad.»
amas, another militant group, is open about using women fighters and disagrees with al-Qaida’s stated stance. At least 11 Palestinian women have launched suicide attacks in recent years.

«A lot of the girls I speak to … want to carry weapons. They live with this great frustration and oppression,» said Huda Naim, a prominent women’s leader, Hamas member and Palestinian lawmaker in Gaza. «We don’t have a special militant wing for women … but that doesn’t mean that we strip women of the right to go to jihad.»

Al-Qaida’s stance on women sparks extremist debate