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ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape - The New York Times
"He kept telling me this is ibadah,” she said, using a term from Islamic scripture meaning worship.
systematic rape of women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority
has become deeply enmeshed in the organization and the radical theology
of the Islamic State in the year since the group announced it was
reviving slavery as an institution. Interviews with 21 women and girls
who recently escaped the Islamic State, as well as an examination of the
group’s official communications, illuminate how the practice has been
enshrined in the group’s core tenets.
trade in Yazidi women and girls has created a persistent
infrastructure, with a network of warehouses where the victims are held,
viewing rooms where they are inspected and marketed, and a dedicated
fleet of buses used to transport them.
total of 5,270 Yazidis were abducted last year, and at least 3,144 are
still being held, according to community leaders. To handle them, the
Islamic State has developed a detailed bureaucracy of sex slavery,
including sales contracts notarized by the ISIS-run Islamic courts. And
the practice has become an established recruiting tool to lure men from
deeply conservative Muslim societies, where casual sex is taboo and
dating is forbidden.
growing body of internal policy memos and theological discussions has
established guidelines for slavery, including a lengthy how-to manual
issued by the Islamic State Research and Fatwa Department just last
month. Repeatedly, the ISIS
leadership has emphasized a narrow and selective reading of the Quran
and other religious rulings to not only justify violence, but also to
elevate and celebrate each sexual assault as spiritually beneficial,
time that he came to rape me, he would pray,” said F, a 15-year-old
girl who was captured on the shoulder of Mount Sinjar one year ago and
was sold to an Iraqi fighter in his 20s. Like some others interviewed by
The New York Times, she wanted to be identified only by her first
initial because of the shame associated with rape.
the parking lot the same fleet of Hajj buses was waiting to take them
to their next destination, said F. Along with 24 other girls and young
women, the 15-year-old was driven to an army base in Iraq. It was there
in the parking lot that she heard the word “sabaya” for the first time.
laughed and jeered at us, saying ‘You are our sabaya.’ I didn’t know
what that word meant,” she said. Later on, the local Islamic State
leader explained it meant slave.
told us that Taus Malik” — one of seven angels to whom the Yazidis pray
— “is not God. He said that Taus Malik is the devil and that because
you worship the devil, you belong to us. We can sell you and use you as
we see fit.”
Islamic State’s sex trade appears to be based solely on enslaving women
and girls from the Yazidi minority. As yet, there has been no
widespread campaign aimed at enslaving women from other religious
minorities, said Samer Muscati, the author of the recent Human Rights
Watch report. That assertion was echoed by community leaders, government
officials and other human rights workers.