Wishing for Death Everyday Under ISIS

By Sabeen Zehra, Human Rights Analyst

In a systematic manner, Islamic State Militants have committed over four million human rights abuses since 2014. ISIS militants not only kill people based on their ethnicity and religion but also the ones who refuse recruitment and indoctrination into the right winged Sunni-Wahhabism ideology.

 

“Women are always the victim: in the West, in the East, in the Middle East.” But here, “each one has a reason to fight and survive. They know they’re deciding their own life.” – Anonymous Kurdish Woman

 

Amnesty International reports that countless women of the Shi’a sect, were murdered after refusing to marry ISIS militants. The Militants first killed their husbands, then sold their daughters into sex slavery. Such cases are not a new tactic the ISIS militants have adapted in order to spread fear and further create animosity between the two sects; Sunni’s and Shi’as. But to not be fooled, ISIS is not just targeting specific sects that are different from their school of thought; they have also killed over 200 Sunni civilians, for failing to follow their Wahhabism ideology and refusing to support ISIS.

 

Women are continuously suffering under ISIS control. Whether it’s Sunni women and girls who have endured severe restrictions on their personal freedoms or Shi’a and Kurds who have been raped and forced into marriage. The Human Rights Watch reports about 2,000 Yazidi women and girls remain in captivity while almost 1,500 have escaped.

 

Many of the escaped women were able to give interviews to reporters about the rape or murders they witnessed. One women described a horrific story to reporter Rukmini Callimachi a foreign correspondent for The New York Times covering Islamic extremism. The woman recounted the events of how an ISIS militant would tell young girls that him having sex with them is ibadaah an Islamic term defining obedience, and submission to God. She narrated: a 12-year-old girl was raped for days before she died due to heavy bleeding. “He destroyed her body. She was badly infected. The Militant kept coming and asking me, ‘Why does she smell so bad?’ And I said, “she has an infection on the inside, you need to take care of her,” but he had ignored the young child’s agony and continued raping her for days. “He’d pray and then rape her, and go back to praying after.”  The woman restated his last words before she decided to run away after the death of the child, “ She was a slave. And she knew exactly how sex pleases God”

 

Violations against Yazidi women did not shatter them. Instead it made them stronger. Countless Yazidi women have joined military forces to defeat ISIS. They believe that “ISIS is scared of women.” Though the emergence of many militants groups can seem to cause more chaos and bloodshed, for these women, it’s a matter of calamitous necessity.

 


Sabeen Zehra is a Human Rights Analyst with CDS. She holds a B.A. in Political Science, International Affairs, and Economics and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Political Science at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

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