While cruising the abyss of shareable linkbait that is facebook's newsfeed this morning, I ran across the following gem:
They described in glossy generalities:
"The Islamic State fighters are terrified of dying at the hands of women fighting alongside Kurdistan's Peshmerga, as many fear that getting killed by a female would mar their chance to go to heaven."
Well, that certainly fits conveniently into my ISIS-is-the-devil worldview, and it doesn't surprise me that ISIS members might feel that way. However, it's a little strange that a member of the group with such an allegedly aggressive focus on marketing themselves would tell someone that they were afraid of women (or the Kurds). Hoping to find some more information on where and why such a nefarious black-clad supervillain would say such a thing, I discovered the following articles, all with lazily regurgitated ledes:
"Kurdish fighters battling ISIS desperately want more guns and armor, but they already have a secret weapon: The fanatics they’re fighting fear that if they get killed in combat by a woman, they won’t go to heaven."
While it's comforting to know that the confused and time-constrained members of our fourth estate still have some job security in the cut-and-paste culture of media aggregation that passes as reporting these days, I still hadn't found an answer. I continued to search for the earliest article about female PKK fighters, hoping to find the source of this widely repeated story -- perhaps some intrepid freelance journalist had uncovered this gift-wrapped nugget of misogynistic cowardice?:
Oh. Maybe a news organization that operates from the inside the United States Department of Defense used its journalistic integrity and investigative chops to snag a comment from an intel insider or a snippet from one of those classified but conveniently leaked reports that seem to come at just the right time:
Karhan (a female PKK fighter) said she'd heard stories about the extremists' fear of being killed by the opposite sex. In northern Iraq, it is said that the Islamic State fighters, who are exclusively male, believe that they won’t be admitted to heaven if they are killed by a woman."
Unfortunately, the trail ended here since “it is said” could not be reached for comment.