Isis justify capture and sexual enslavement of thousands of Yazidi women and girls

First confirmation of abuses against minority Iraqi sect came in Isis's Dabiq magazine

Rose Troup Buchanan
Monday 13 October 2014 15:59 BST
A 15-year-old Yazidi girl captured by Isis and forcibly married to a militant in Syria describes her ordeal having escaped
A 15-year-old Yazidi girl captured by Isis and forcibly married to a militant in Syria describes her ordeal having escaped (AP)

Yazidi women and girls are being captured, enslaved and sold by Isis according to the latest issue of the magazine purportedly made by the militant Islamic organisation.

It is the first confirmation of the brutality that human rights organisations have long alleged Isis, also known as the Islamic State, have perpetrated against minority groups, in this instance Iraqi Yazidi minority sect.

A news article in Dabiq, the Isis English-language online magazine, published on Sunday justifies the practise of selling women and girls, some of whom are only children, on the theological rulings of early Islam.

The article claims: "After capture, the Yazidi women and children were then divided according to the Sharia amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated".

It goes on to differentiate between women from Muslim sects regarded by Isis as heretical, who can be considered as ‘apostates’, and the ‘mushrikin’ – or polytheists and pagans. It says: “Their women could be enslaved, unlike female apostates.”

The article came as Human Rights Watch said yesterday that hundreds of Yazidi men, women and children from Iraq are being held captive in makeshift detention facilities in Iraq and Syria by the group.

Piecemeal reports of brutality perpetrated by Isis towards women have emerged from the region, but aid organisations confessed they have little real idea of the extent of the abuse.

Tens of thousands of Yazidi’s fled into the Sinjar Mountains, many remaining stranded there for weeks, after the militant onslaught on Sinjar in August, part of Isis’s lightning advance across northern and western Iraq.

Hundreds were killed in the attack, and tens of thousands fled for their lives, most to the Kurdish-held parts of northern Iraq.

Iraq's Human Rights Ministry said at the time that hundreds of women were abducted by the militants, who consider the centuries-old religious minority a heretical sect.

Most of the Yazidis are now displaced in northern Iraq, many having lost loved ones in their flight to safety. Some say that their women and girls were snatched during the militant raid.

Displaced Yazidi women (AFP)

In one section of the magazine, a statement attributed to Mohammed al-Adnani, the spokesman for the Islamic State group, read: "We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women," addressing those who do not subscribe to its hard-line interpretation of Islam.

The release of the magazine came as New York-based Human Rights Watch said Yazidi men, women and children remain held by the group. Its report noted that the group "separated young women and teenage girls from their families and has forced some of them to marry its fighters."

One woman told Human Rights Watch that she saw Isis fighters buying young women, and a teenage girl said a fighter bought her for $1,000, the report said.

Additional reporting by PA

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