A Second Chance? Dutch Muslim Women on the Reintegration of Female Returnees from Islamic State


  • Ashna Kanhai Leiden University
  • Tahir Abbas Leiden University


Foreign Fighters, Muslim Women, Returnees, Islamophobia, Reintegration, Deradicalization


This paper presents the results of a mixed-methods survey of the perspectives of 208 Dutch Muslim women on the reintegration of female returnees from the Islamic State (IS). Based on the responses and written statements made by Dutch Muslim women of Moroccan, Surinamese and Turkish ethnicities, respondents perceived greater risks associated with different female returnees, especially if the community in which respondents lived were resistant to the idea. However, Muslim female returnees were seen in sympathetic terms when perceived as presenting fewer risks to national security. The study demonstrates how receptive different Dutch Muslim women are to the reintegration of female returnees from IS, where issues of identity and political culture also play a role. The findings suggest that successful reintegration also needs sustainable reintegration into an emotionally supportive social network on the one hand and that programs need community support and acceptance on the other. The gendered approach offers valuable insights on how Muslim women can play a crucial role in deradicalization.


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