Al-Shabaab: why women join the Islamist militant group – podcast

Al-Shabaab: why women join the Islamist militant group – podcast
Lamu in coastal Kenya is an area where women and girls have been recuited by Al-Shabaab. Eric Lafforgue/Alamy Stock Photo

The Conversation Weekly podcast is taking a short break in August. For the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing you extended versions of some of our favourite recent interviews.

This week, we speak to a researcher who interviewed Kenyan women about why they joined the militant Islamist group Al-Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab is in a violent stalemate with the Somali government and a coalition of foreign peacekeeping troops. Attacks and car bombs continue on a regular basis, and in recent weeks the US government targeted Al-Shabaab militants with air strikes.

From its bases in Somalia, Al-Shabaab recruits people from the coastal region of neighbouring Kenya – including women. Fathima Azmiya Badurdeen, a lecturer in the department of social sciences at the Technical University of Mombasa in Kenya, has interviewed some of these women to understand the complex dynamics surrounding their involvement in Al-Shabaab. Some joined willingly, and others were forcibly recruited, but the line between voluntary and involuntary is often blurred.

Badurdeen explains how she gained the trust of the women and their families and what her findings mean for their rehabilitation.

Read more:
Why we did it: the Kenyan women and girls who joined Al-Shabaab

This episode of The Conversation Weekly features an extended version of an interview first published on April 22. The episode was produced by Mend Mariwany and Gemma Ware, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. Our theme music is by Neeta Sarl. You can find us on Twitter @TC_Audio, on Instagram at theconversationdotcom or via email on [email protected]. You can also sign up to The Conversation’s free daily email here.

You can listen to The Conversation Weekly via any of the apps listed above, download it directly via our RSS feed, or find out how else to listen here.

The Conversation