ISIS defends enslaving women in new magazine


In an article in the latest edition of its English-language online magazine, militant group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), defended its enslavement of women.

The article claimed that the taking women and girls of the enemy is firmly established in the Quran and allowed under the strict Islamic laws by which ISIS claim to abide.

Anyone who criticized the group’s taking of women and girls as sex slaves, the article continued, would be criticizing Islam and mocking the Prophet Muhammed. 

The article came as the Human Rights Watch (HRW) published an extensive report on ISIS’s sexual enslavement of women, specifically of the Yezidi minority in Iraq. The organization interviewed 76 Yezidis displaced in Duhok, Zakho, Erbil and other areas of Iraqi Kurdistan.

ISIS is believed to be holding hundreds of Yezidi men, women, and children from Iraq captive in formal and makeshift detention facilities in Iraq and Syria.

HRW says that the group systematically separates young women and teenage girls from their families and has forced some of them to marry its fighters. Boys were also taken away, apparently for religious or military training, and captives forced to convert to strict Islam.

“The Islamic State’s litany of horrific crimes against the Yezidis in Iraq only keeps growing,” said Fred Abrahams, special adviser at Human Rights Watch.

“We heard shocking stories of forced religious conversions, forced marriage, and even sexual assault and slavery – and some of the victims were children.”

The women interviewed by HRW said that they had not been raped, though four of them said that they had fought off violent sexual attacks and that other detained women and girls told them that Islamic State fighters had raped them. One woman said she saw Islamic State fighters buying girls, and a teenage girl said a fighter bought her for US$1,000.

According to the HRW, the systematic abduction and abuse of Yezidi civilians may amount to crimes against humanity.

“The statements of current and former female detainees raise serious concerns about rape and sexual slavery by Islamic State fighters, though the extent of these abuses remains unclear,” HRW said.

“Islamic State should immediately reunite children with their families, end forced marriages, stop sexual abuse, and release all civilian detainees. International and local actors with influence over the group should press for those actions.”

It said that the UN investigation into serious crimes by Islamic State odereded on September 1 should be swift.

“That investigation should be prompt and thorough, and expanded to include serious abuses byIraqi state forces and allied Shia militia,” the HRW said.

“Iraq should become a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to allow for possible prosecution of crimes such as war crimes and crimes against humanity by all parties to the conflict. The authorities could give the court jurisdiction over serious crimes committed in Iraq since the day the ICC treaty entered into force, on July 1, 2002.”