Guesthouse for Young Widows

PHILOXENIA. Curated by Tessa Szyszkowitz

Tuesday, March 8th 7 pm

Bruno Kreisky Forum für internationalen Dialog | Armbrustergasse 15 | 1190 Wien

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Tessa Szyszkowitz in conversation with Azadeh Moaveni

Guest House for Young Widows

Since the collapse of the Islamic State in Syria 2019 the fate of widows of ISIS fighters has become even more uncertain than during the short lived caliphate. In her book Guesthouse for Young Widows the American journalist and academic Azadeh Moaveni follows the lives of 13 women who went to the Islamic State. One of them is Shamima Begum, who left her home in London to become wife & widow of an ISIS fighter.


Was it empowerment, boredom or a radical political mind that drove these women to join Islamists in the Middle East? How come they decided to join a movement so particularly repressive to women? In conversation with Tessa Szyszkowitz Azadeh Moaveni will shed light on the biographies of these women, but also explore the question of their future: Do countries like the UK or Germany, from where these women took off, have a responsibility to take them back? Shamima Begum for example has been stripped of her British citizenship. Moaveni, who heads fhe Crisis Group’s Gender and Conflict Project, scrutinises states’ policies to see whether they are working and not adding to their problems with militants.


Azadeh Moaveni is a journalist, writer, and academic who has been covering the Middle East for two decades. She is the author of Lipstick Jihad, Honeymoon in Tehran, co-author, with Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, of Iran Awakening, and Guest House for Young Widows. She lectures in journalism at New York University, London and directs the Gender and Conflict Project at the International Crisis Group. Her work often appears in The Guardian and The New York Times, among others.

Tessa Szyszkowitz is a journalist, writer and historian currently working for Falter, profil & Cicero. Her last book was Echte Engländer, Britain & Brexit (2018). She is also Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London.

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