An Actual War On Women, Ctd

by Dish Staff

The Islamic State’s “Research and Fatwa Department” is circulating a pamphlet on what the jihadis are allowed to do to the thousands of women and girls they have captured and enslaved in their rampage through Iraq and Syria:

Much of the pamphlet talks about ISIS’ policy on having sexual intercourse with a female slave, something that the group cites the Quran to justify. “If she was a virgin, he (the owner) can have intercourse with her 1(355)immediately after the ownership is fulfilled,” ISIS explains. “If she was not a virgin, her uterus must be purified (wait for her period to be sure she is not pregnant.)”

There are other rules as well, like that two men who co-own a captive can’t both have sex with her and that a man can’t have intercourse with his wife’s slave. As to girls: “It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn’t reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse,” the document reads. “However, if she is not fit for intercourse, he (the owner ) can only enjoy her without intercourse.”

An English translation of the evil document, via MEMRI, is available here. Jamie Dettmer notes how many women ISIS is believed to have kidnapped:

According to Nazand Begikhani, an adviser to the Kurdistan regional government and researcher at the University of Bristol Gender and Violence Research Center, ISIS has kidnapped more than 2,500 Yazidi women. Yazidi activists, meanwhile, say they have compiled a list of at least 4,600 missing Yazidi women, seized after they were separated from male relatives, who were shot.

The women were bussed, according to firsthand accounts of women who have managed to flee, to the ISIS-controlled cities of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, and chosen and traded like cattle. Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq say they have freed about 100 Yazidi women. In October, ISIS justified its enslavement of the women—and of any non-believing females captured in battle—in its English-language digital magazine Dabiq. Islamic theology, ISIS propagandists argued, gives the jihadis the right, much in the same way that the Bible’s Ephesians 6:5 tells “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling.”

Katie Zavadski finds some perspective on the ghastly situation:

The pamphlet may be part of a response to a recent condemnation of the group by Islamic scholars from around the word, according to UMass Lowell security studies professor Mia Bloom. Instead of engaging with centuries of Islamic theological debates, ISIS is reverting to seventh-century norms, at which point “women would have fallen under the rubric of war booty.”

She also doesn’t rule out the possibility that some foreign fighters might find these guidelines attractive. “Maybe they think that this is a recruiting tool,” she says, for frustrated men from abroad. But Bloom worries that this cycle of sexual violence will be difficult to stop. “They are creating a very perverse incentive system,” she says, noting the uptick of domestic violence complaints in postwar Serbia.

Previous Dish on the Islamic State’s barbaric view of women here.

An Actual War On Women, Ctd

Colum Lynch relays the nauseating findings of a new report on ISIS:

By the end of August, the U.N. documented the abduction of up to 2,500 civilians, mostly women and children, from the northern Iraqi towns and regions of Sinjar, Tal Afar, the Nineveh Plains, and Shirkhan. Once they were in captivity, fighters from the Islamic State sexually assaulted the teenage boys and girls, witnesses told the United Nations. Those who refused to convert to the groups ran the risk of execution. “[W]omen and children who refused to convert were being allotted to ISIL fighters or were being trafficked … in markets in Mosul and to Raqqa in Syria,” according to the report. “Married women who converted were told by ISIL that their previous marriages were not recognised in Islamic law and that they, as well as unmarried women who converted, would be given to ISIL fighters as wives.”

A market for the sale of abducted women was set up in the al-Quds neighborhood of Mosul. “Women and girls are brought with price tags for the buyers to choose and negotiate the sale,” according to the report. “The buyers were said to be mostly youth from the local communities. Apparently ISIL was ‘selling’ these Yezidi women to the youth as a means of inducing them to join their ranks.”

Previous Dish on ISIS’s use of rape and sexual slavery here.

An Actual War On Women, Ctd

Ariel Ahram goes deep in exploring ISIS’s use of sexual violence, arguing that it represents “as much an undertaking in state-making as in war-making”:

The power to control or manipulate sexual and ethnic identity is a key component of all state power. In the Middle East, the regulation of sexual relations is often used as a means to create or reinforce ethno-sectarian boundaries.

In the 19th century the Ottoman authorities prohibited marriage between Shi’i men and Sunni women in the provinces of Iraq for fear that Shi’i Iranians were gaining a demographic foothold in the region. Since Islamic law privileges male prerogative over children, the move was meant to block the propagation of Shi’ism within the Ottoman domain. Marriage of Shi’i women to Sunni men was still permitted, since the children of such a union were deemed Sunni. Saddam Hussein took similar measures in the 1970s and 1980s. In late 1970s, in the immediate wake of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the government moved to deport some 40,000 people deemed to be of “Iranian” (i.e., Shi’i) origins.  Thousands of families were interned in prison or prison camps for months, where they were subject to rape and torture, before being transported to the border. …

ISIS’s violence is a heinous crime of war, but also represents a particular form of statecraft. At first glance, it might appear that these practices, though justified by selective interpretations of Islamic law, serve only to satisfy prurient sexual urges. Much like its manipulation of water and oil resources, though, ISIS’s use of sexual and ethnic violence has both ancient and modern antecedents. By selectively reinforcing, creating, and severing ties of kinship, these violent practices can affect bonds of loyalty and obedience far more substantially than the simple distribution of resource rents.

An Actual War On Women

Aki Peritz and Tara Maller want to know why ISIS’s use of rape and sexual slavery as weapons of war isn’t getting more press:

The Islamic State’s (IS) fighters are committing horrific sexual violence on a seemingly industrial scale: For example, the United Nations last month estimated that IS has forced some 1,500 women, teenage girls, and boys into sexual slavery. Amnesty International released a blistering document noting that IS abducts whole families in northern Iraq for sexual assault and worse. Even in the first few days following the fall of Mosul in June, women’s rights activists reported multiple incidents of IS fighters going door to door, kidnapping and raping Mosul’s women.

IS claims to be a religious organization, dedicated to re-establishing the caliphate and enforcing codes of modesty and behavior from the time of Muhammad and his followers. But this is rape, not religious conservatism. IS may dress up its sexual violence in religious justifications, saying its victims violated Islamic law, or were infidels, but their leaders are not fools. This is just another form of warfare.

Even women and girls who escape these horrors still face sexual exploitation in refugee camps. Chandra Kellison reports on what she observed while working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon this summer:

Three-quarters of those displaced in Lebanon are women and children who have lost a family member to war and remain vulnerable inside and outside of their new community. A generation of Syrian kids have the far-away gazes of battle-hardened soldiers returning from war. Displaced girls, especially, face the triple jeopardy of war, domestic violence and attacks from neighboring men. Only the immediate threat of war diminishes during the journey from Damascus to Beirut. Their new normal is neighbors, single women, engaging in survival sex with a series of resourceful men and widows pretending to call husbands who are really dead, all in a bid to seem less vulnerable to kidnappers, harassers, and attackers in their Lebanon. …

Not even the most fertile imagination could have conjured a better monster-in-the-dark than IS. The Brothers Grimm could not compete with stories spreading from city to city of savages that force children to use severed heads as soccer balls. By comparison, the terror caused by IS had reduced the perceived danger of a few opportunists who punch down the dignity and emotional integrity of refugee women and girls through offers that cannot be refused, because the needs of their families are too dire.