Bratislava, Slovakia—To honor International Women’s Day, UPF invited the noted journalist Iva Mrvova to speak on “Women and Violence in the Middle East.”
The meeting was held on March 8, 2023, in the Bratislava Peace Embassy.
The speaker writes for the conservative daily newspaper Postoj and researches religious extremism. Numerous articles recount her encounters with women in Middle East conflict zones.
“We often talk about violence against women—but what about the violence present in women?” was her key issue.
Iva Mrvova said she was aware that this issue sounds provocative. And at first, she couldn't believe that UPF would be willing to host to such a discussion—especially since International Women’s Day celebrations often have more pleasant contents.
However, the journalist's reputation was a magnet. Of the 35 participants, there were numerous new faces.
Iva Mrvova explained why women join terrorist or extremist organizations. Almost forgotten is the fate of the “jihadist brides” who were lured by the Caliphate to Syria. She visited a large camp housing multitudes of former ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) families who live in appalling conditions.
“Still, many of them do not want to return to Europe due to ideological indoctrination. They think it is better there, though they lack any comfort.
“First and foremost, we journalists should protect the children,” she said, showing pictures of children who were born in terrorist camps.
She also described a program for deradicalization of ISIS fighters in Vienna, where radical recruiters approach young Muslims who are disaffected with mainstream society or who have a thirst for adventure.
Another issue of her talk was the question of what to do with repatriates? Recently a woman was brought back to Slovakia and faces prosecution for founding, organizing and supporting a terrorist group, committing war crimes, as well as endangering the moral education of young people. If proven guilty of these offenses, she faces up to life imprisonment.
Naturally, the listeners asked her many questions. UPF-Slovakia Chairman Miloš Klas, who moderated the event, thanked the journalist in the name of the audience. During refreshments people commented that they appreciated this event.