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Allah’s Angels: Chechen Women in War

Submitted by on Monday, 13 December 2010.    2,848 views One Comment
Allah’s Angels: Chechen Women in War

Allah’s Angels: Chechen Women in War
Writer: Paul J. Murphy
Publisher: Naval Institute Press (November 15, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1591145422
ISBN-13: 978-1591145424
320 pages

In this comprehensive portrait of the women of Chechnya in modern war, Paul Murphy argues that they are the principal victims of the 1994 and 1999 wars with Russia and the present conflict with Islamic jihadists. War forced Chechen women to venture far beyond their traditional roles and advance their human rights, but the current movement championing traditional Islam is taking those rights away. The book challenges conventional thinking on why women fight and are willing to kill themselves in the name of Allah. Drawing on personal interviews, insider resources, and other materials, Murphy presents powerful portrayals of women who fight in the Chechen jihad, including snipers and the mysterious Black Widow suicide bombers, as well as women who collect intelligence, hide arms, and perform other noncombatant roles.


Few Western studies more accurately portray the suffering of women during wartime than Paul Murphy s Allah s Angels. His moving account shows the political and military aspects of this violent conflict while also underscoring its especially devastating impact on women. By the end of this valuable book, the picture that emerges is not a pretty one. STEPHEN R. BOWERS, Professor, Helms School of Government at Liberty University

Dr. Murphy provides a strikingly poignant view of the Chechen woman in Allah’s Angels. It is a thoroughly documented portrait of the traditional, cultural, historical, religious, political, and geographical influencers that have challenged and changed the face of Russia, the Caucasus, Chechnya, the Chechen family, and the Chechen woman. Personal interviews, documented reports from human rights organizations, and police, military, and news sources focus on extremism from all sides, proving the changing gender roles and responsibilities for the Chechen woman. Dr. Murphy has profiled not only a culture but the individual women, the names, the faces, the families, the stories that have marked a tragedy in geopolitical reconstruction at the turn of the 21st century. L. MITCHELL, former Communications Director, Russia-Eurasia Terror Watch

Paul Murphy’s work exposes the nuances of how fragments of Islam, tribalism, and the responses to heavy-handed Russian tactics weave together a new regional militant Islamist narrative. The book discusses the complexity of recruiting female suicide bombers by Chechen militant Islamist groups. It highlights an amalgam of family honor, sexual exploitation, and revenge that is given the veneer of Militant Islamist narrative to compel direct action. Murphy’s book is critical of Russia’s handling of Chechnya and offers lessons on what not to do in countering an insurgency. This book can only enhance the debate on countering Militant Islamist groups in this troubled region and offers clarity of thought. CDR. YOUSSEF ABOUL-ENEIN, MSC, USN, author of Militant Islamist Ideology

One Comment »

  • Minna said:

    I don’t think this seems to be a good book.

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