The concept of female suicide bombing adopted by Islamic extremists is a political and military tactic, not a religious act, says a new study.
"Radical Islam reinterprets, and even misinterprets Islamic jurisprudence, as a tool to legitimise female suicide bombers," said Margaret Gonzalez-Perez from Southeastern Louisiana University in the US.
Perez reveals that mainstream scholars of Islam, the Qur'an, the Hadith (traditions and practices of the Prophet Muhammad), and other principles of Shari'a (Islamic law) clearly condemn terrorist acts and oppose suicide operations.
However, in order to justify suicide bombings, leaders of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Al Qaeda have formulated their own interpretations of Islam that are based more on military strategy than theology.
Perez explains that a two-stage radicalisation process, which started in the thirteenth century, has prompted the justification of female suicide bombing.
This is against the Qur'an, which does not include women as soldiers and explicitly categorizes women and children as non-combatants.
In the views of Perez, terrorist groups recruit women by exploiting vulnerable females, including some with mental health issues and girls as young as 14.
The study is published online in Springer's journal, Gender Issues.