Islamic State appears to be preparing to send the brides of its militants on suicide missions without the consent of their husbands, as the terror group's leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi claims he has the final authority over the jihadi wives, according to reports.
An ISIS wedding certificate, written in Arabic and signed by both husband and wife and which allows jihadi brides to carry out suicide mission without the husband's permission, has emerged, the U.K.'s Mail Online reports, carrying a scanned copy of the document.
The certificate defines "conditions of wife," one of which states: "If the Prince of believers [Baghdadi] consents to her carrying out a suicide mission, then her husband should not prohibit her."
While this is an extremely worrying development, it shows desperation among the ISIS leadership and reveals their sense of "losing the war," Professor Anthony Glees, director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham, was quoted as saying.
Glees suggested it could pose a major threat to the U.K. and other Western nations given the possibility of their return. Women from the West are believed to have joined ISIS and married militants.
The Independent newspaper interviewed one such woman, identified as Aysha (not her real name), a 32-year-old mother of two children, who decided to flee her home in Mosul after the issuance of a fatwa saying a wife should obey her husband in all matters, including becoming a suicide bomber.
"He [the husband] was coming home once a week, but recently he came home every day, and finally asked me to attend a new course showing how a Muslim woman could support Muslim society with her soul and body," she was quoted as saying.
Aysha had to attend the course for two days. "The course was a sort of brainwashing, teaching women to sacrifice cheap worldly things – blood, flesh, soul – for the victory of more precious things – religion, Allah, the Prophet, and, most importantly, the eternal afterlife."
She fled her husband's house last month.
However, Charlie Winter, a researcher at the U.K.-based counter extremism think tank Quilliam, said the emergence of one certificate cannot be interpreted as a new ISIS policy.
"The certificate does say that the wife's terms are that of if the caliph consents then she is allowed to go on a martyrdom operation and her husband can't forbid her from doing so," he was quoted as saying. "Nowhere does it refer to 'orders,' nowhere does it suggest this is actually happening and nowhere does it suggest that this is a regular marriage contract. It was even being circulated among ISIS as a curiosity, as something funny."
ISIS is an offshoot of al-Qaeda and wants to establish a caliphate in the Levant region and beyond. It has gained control over large swathes of territories in Syria and Iraq, and also appear to be seeking to expand its territory.