Despite its stance as a devout religious group — and in twisted support of that stance — the Islamic State is systematically enslaving women from a religious minority and allowing fighters to rape them, saying it is permissible by the Quran.
Rukmini Callimachi of The New York Times wrote an expose on the Islamic State’s (also known as ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh) practice of capturing Yazidi women and trafficking them as sex slaves.
The process has been well-documented by the group itself and built into the organisation’s political process. Local authorities draw up contracts for “ownership” of the slaves and sign off on documents if the slave’s owner decides to set them free.
ISIS propaganda has also sanctioned and defended slavery while the terrorists use the sex slaves as a method of recruitment “to lure men from deeply conservative Muslim societies, where casual sex is taboo and dating is forbidden,” according to the Times.
A pamphlet released in December justifies the slave trade and human trafficking of Yazidi women. It says: “What makes al-sabi permissible [i.e., what makes it permissible to take such a woman captive] is [her] unbelief. Unbelieving [women] who were captured and brought into the abode of Islam are permissible to us, after the imam distributes them [among us].”
The Times notes that Yazidis are polytheists that lack written scripture, they are not considered “people of the book” like Christians and Jews, they are therefore treated as even less than non-Muslims.
ISIS’ online propaganda magazine “Dabiq,” which is published in English, featured an article on slavery in May:
Dabiq reads: “Saby (taking slaves through war) is a great prophetic Sunnah containing many divine wisdoms and religious benefits, regardless of whether or not the people are aware of this. The Sīrah is a witness to our Prophet’s (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) raiding of the kuffār [unbelievers].
“He would kill their men and enslave their children and women. The raids of the beloved Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) convey this to us. Ask the tribes of Banī al-Mustaliq, Banī Quraydhah, and Hawāzin about this.”
Nevertheless, some ISIS supporters have spoken out against the enslavement of these women and children or denied its occurrence completely.
The article goes on to state: “After all this, saby becomes fornication and tasarrī (taking a slave-girl as a concubine) becomes rape? … So the supporters started denying the matter as if the soldiers of the Khilāfah had committed a mistake or evil.”
The Times notes that ISIS uses a selective interpretation of verses in the Quran to justify sex slavery.
Some of these women have managed to escape their imprisonment, and there’s now a black market for smugglers who are helping slaves make it out of ISIS confinement and into refugee camps.
Mashable reported in June that ISIS fighters are also selling slaves’ freedom, with smugglers acting as intermediaries between the victims’ families and the militants, for as much as $US10,000 per person.
And it’s not just sex slaves that are used to lure young men into the ranks of ISIS fighters. The group also recruits young “brides” for the militants to wed in arranged marriages.
Some of these girls are from Western countries and have been roped in by ISIS propaganda online. They sometimes meet ISIS fighters online and then travel to the Middle East to join them in ISIS territory. These fighters often become “martyrs,” dying in suicide bombings or other operations soon after they marry and bear children.
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