For they are merely property

Don’t let’s forget about the Yezidi women. Islamic State has enslaved hundreds or perhaps thousands of them for the purpose of rape, Amnesty International reports.

What AI doesn’t report, at least in the press release, is the fact that IS treats this as officially okie dokie according to Islam. IS gives itself permission and indeed approval to treat women and girls this way because they consider it endorsed by their religion.

From the full report:

In August 2014, IS fighters abducted hundreds, possibly thousands, of Yezidi men, women and children who were fleeing the IS takeover from the Sinjar region, in the north-west of the country. Hundreds of the men were killed and others were forced to convert to Islam under threat of death. Younger women and girls, some as young as 12, were separated from their parents and older relatives and sold, given as gifts or forced to marry IS fighters and supporters. Many have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, and have likewise been pressured into converting to Islam.

IS are fighting a religious war, and this is how they fight it.

Maybe that shouldn’t make any difference. AI seems to think it doesn’t, because it mostly doesn’t discuss it. But I don’t really see how it can not make a difference. The victims must realize that their rapists and kidnappers and torturers think they have Allah on their side – that they’re doing the right thing, the religious thing, the approved thing, the justified thing. That’s got to feel horrible.

Residents of Mosul and Tal ‘Afar, where many abducted Yezidi women and girls have been held, told Amnesty international that they knew of men who had good relations with IS fighters and had “married” abducted Yezidi women or girls in their cities. A Mosul resident said he knew of at least two such cases: “They are local businessmen, not fighters. I don’t know if they bought the girls or what the arrangements are to get the girls but they registered their marriage in the local Shari’a court [established by the IS].” A resident of Tal ‘Afar, who told Amnesty International that he supports the IS, said:

“It is right and proper that these people [members of the Yezidi community] should convert to Islam and that the unmarried women should be married to Muslim men according to Islam. It is not true that they are oppressed, this is just propaganda. They are being fed and well treated like any other wives. I personally know some of the local men who have married these girls and they are good and honourable men.”

See? There it is – It is right and proper that these people should convert to Islam and that the unmarried women should be married to Muslim men according to Islam. “Married to Muslim men” meaning forcibly married without their consent to Muslim men according to Islam. Nothing oppressive about that, it’s just propaganda to think that’s oppressive.

AI does get to the religious legitimization question at last, in the section titled RULE OF FEAR.

In a matter of weeks the IS carried out a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq. It forced hundreds of thousands of members of ethnic and religious minorities, who had lived in the region for centuries – including Shi’a (who are a minority in northern Iraq), Assyrian Christians, Turkmen Shi’a, Shabak Shi’a, Yezidis, Kakai, and Sabean Mandaeans – to abandon their homes and villages.

The IS has also boasted about subjecting abducted Yezidi women and girls to sexual violence and slavery, seeking to legitimize these abhorrent and criminal practices according to their own interpretation of Islam. Discussing the treatment of the Yezidi minority population in areas under IS control in its publication (Dabiq), it states:

“Unlike the Jews and Christians, there was no room for jizyah (non-Muslim residents) payment. Also, their women could be enslaved… After capture, the Yazidi women and children were then divided according to the Sharī’ah amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated in the Sinjar operations, after one fifth of the slaves were transferred to the Islamic State’s authority to be divided as khums [fifth]… Before Shaytān [Satan] reveals his doubts to the weak-minded and weak hearted, one should remember that enslaving the families of the kuffār [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Sharī’ah…”

That’s how it’s done: define them as “kuffar” and you can do anything to them you want.

According to a recent “Questions and Answers” believed to have been issued by the IS’s “Office of research and religious edicts”:

“Unbelieving [women] who were captured and brought into the abode of Islam are permissible to us, after the imam distributes them [among us]… If she is a virgin, he [her master] can have intercourse with her immediately after taking possession of her. However, if she isn’t, her uterus must be purified [first]… It is permissible to buy, sell, or give as a gift female captives and slaves, for they are merely property, which can be disposed of… It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn’t reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse; however if she is not fit for intercourse, then it is enough to enjoy her without intercourse…”

for they are merely property

That’s their god.


  1. Phillip Hallam-Baker says

    These are not actions that are remotely sanctioned by the religious authorities. The Daesh leaders use religion as a pretext for doing anything they want.

    In another edict, they call on women of the faith to make sexual jihad, ie travel to Syria to become a prostitute/comfort woman for the troops.

    Don’t bother to look in the Koran to predict what they do next, it will be whatever they want to do. It isn’t just atheists or Christians appalled by these thugs, they may well unite Sunni and Shi’ia against them.

  2. says

    Phillip – what “religious authorities”?

    Of course they use religion as a pretext for doing anything they want, but that doesn’t mean no one takes their pretexts seriously. They repel most people but they still attract many.

  3. Phillip Hallam-Baker says

    They are certainly able to recruit on a religious premise right now.

    Back in the 70s, the RAF (Baader-mienhof) gang got similar support from the broad left. Then as the bodies mounted, the support dwindled.

    Pointing out to people that might be recruited that they are being recruited to work as prostitutes is probably a more effective way to discourage recruitment than arguing against religion in general.

    These people are trying to position themselves as the defenders of the true faith.

    That said, I very much suspect that the decline in all religious affiliations is in part driven by disgust at various jihadi activities, homophobic bigotry, women hating, etc. Rather than being considered a benign or positive force, religion is increasingly viewed as a negative.

  4. johnthedrunkard says

    But of course, it’s all REALLY about Bush, and drones, and Israel and….
    I know literate Americans, who can vote and operate heavy machinery, who are STILL parroting the apologist’s line.

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