Document Type : Research Paper


American Studies Department, Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Piety for Muslim women is an internal source of agency that motivates their social presence and fulfills their political commitments. In spite of the prevalence of Orientalist views on Muslim women for centuries, a new space opened under the transnational feminism in recent years to re-consider their socio-political interpretations. The present paper was located in the West Asia where global terrorism emerged with a recently developed counter-terrorism outlook among Muslim women. Defending the Shiite holy shrines in Syria and Iraq against the Takfiris symbolically embodies this counter-terrorism ideology for which hundreds of Muslims have sacrificed their lives. This study, thus, explored the ideas and ideals of Shiite Iranian and Afghan women who have lost their husbands in Syria or Iraq fighting against ISIS. Deep semi-structured interviews indicated their definitions of “martyrdom” as a transnational identity formation. Their understanding of opportunities and challenges, within the family or in social scale, was also grasped. Five major themes were extracted from the interviews as follows: a) transnational solidarity of the Islamic Ummah, b) the significance of jihadi culture to preserve the global peace, c) Strong Shiite leadership/Wilayat al- Faqih, d) Motherhood a simultaneous opportunity and challenge, e) Intersectionality of Motherly Challenges for Afghans.


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