Tunisian women have traveled to Syria to wage ‘sexual jihad’, performing intercourse with dozens of Islamist fighters and returning home pregnant, Tunisia’s Interior Minister Lotfi ben Jeddou told MPs.
The Tunisian girls “are [sexually] swapped between 20, 30, and 100 rebels and they come back bearing the fruit of sexual contacts in the name of sexual jihad and we are silent doing nothing and standing idle,” the minister said during an address to the National Constituent Assembly on Thursday.
“After the sexual liaisons they have there in the name of ‘jihad al-nikah’ [sexual holy war] they come home pregnant,” ben Jeddou continued.
Ben Jeddou did not elaborate on how many Tunisian women had returned to the country pregnant with the children of jihadist fighters.
Former Mufti of Tunisia Sheikh Othman Battikh in April said that 13 Tunisian girls “were fooled” into traveling to Syria to offer their sexual services to rebels fighters.
The mufti, who was subsequently dismissed from his post, described the so-called “sexual Jihad” as a form of “prostitution.”
“For jihad in Syria, they are now pushing girls to go there. Thirteen young girls have been sent for sexual jihad. What is this? This is called prostitution. It is moral educational corruption,” Al Arabiya cites the mufti as saying.
Some Sunni Muslim Salafists, however, consider sexual jihad as a legitimate form of holy war.
The sexual Jihad Fatwa made its first appearance in Syria several months back. It allows for fighters to enter sexual relations with a woman after agreeing upon a temporary contract that loses effect after a few hours, Fars News reported in August.
The temporary nature of the contract allows the woman to have sex with multiple partners a day.
In August, general director of public security service in Tunisia Mostafa Bin Omar said that a “sexual jihad cell” had been broken up in an area west of the country known for its concentration of Al-Qaeda fighters.
Bin Omar told Al Arabiya that Al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar Shariah was offering minor girls with their faces covered as sexual offerings for jihadist fighters.
Meanwhile, Bin Jeddou said the Interior Ministry has banned 6,000 Tunisians from traveling to Syria since March 2013. Eighty-six more individuals had been arrested on suspicion of forming ‘networks’ that send Tunisian youth for ‘jihad’ to Syria.
He also hit back at human rights groups who criticized the government’s decision to ban suspected militants from leaving the country. Many of those facing travel bans are under 35 years of age, he said.
“Our youths are positioned in the frontlines and are taught how to steal and raid [Syrian] villages,” Bin Jeddou said.
Hundreds of Tunisian men have set off for Syria to wage jihad against the government of President Bashar Assad, while thousands more have joined the ranks of militant Islamists in states like Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 15 years.