Women are challenging al-Qaeda's refusal to include females in its ranks as an "equal rights" debate rages in the Muslim terrorist organization, press reports said on Sunday.
In an online response to a female questioner, al-Qaeda second in command Ayman Al-Zawahiri said in April that a woman’s role was limited to caring for the homes and children of al-Qaeda fighters, UK daily The Telegraph reported.
The remarks prompted an outcry from fundamentalist women, desperate to fight for al-Qaeda.
One woman, who dubbed herself a “companion of weapons”, wrote a 2,000-word essay of protest at the organization's position, the paper said.
“How many times have I wished I were a man ... When Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri said there are no women in al-Qaeda, he saddened and hurt me,” she wrote. “I felt that my heart was about to explode in my chest...I am powerless.”
Such postings have appeared anonymously on discussion forums of websites that host videos from al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, said SITE, which monitors the forums.
According to the Telegraph, Zawahiri said a Muslim woman should “be ready for any service the mujahideen need from her,” but advised against traveling to a war front like Afghanistan without a male guardian.