Helene Dancer
Writer, journalist, filmmaker

They were preparing their souls to die


When your daughters join ISIS

Olfa Hamrouni wipes the tears away from her face with the corner of her floral hijab. She points at the photos laid out before her on the table. Two young faces stare back up at her–her daughters, who are currently being held by anti-Islamic State militia in Tripoli, Libya after being radicalized by violent extremists. "Nobody talks to me from the neighbourhood," she says, glancing over to her two younger daughters who watch her from the kitchen in their modest house in a suburb of Tunis, Tunisia. "Other families don't let their children play with mine. They say they're terrorists."

Tunisia is the largest exporter of jihadi militants in the world. According to the UN, more than 5,500 nationals between the ages of 18 and 35 have joined militant organizations, including ISIS and al-Qaeda's affiliated al-Nusra Front, across Syria, Iraq and Libya. Of this number, 700 are women.

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