ISIS officially admits to enslaving Yazidi women

Matthew Barber writes: I first began tweeting about the Islamic State’s campaign to kidnap and enslave Yazidi women when I was in Iraq this past August. Though analysts were skeptical and online jihadists who defend IS vehemently denied my claims, I was communicating with the families of the kidnapped women and with those engaged in rescue efforts. I have even spoken by phone directly with kidnapped Yazidi women in captivity. One month ago, I sounded the alarm regarding the plight of the kidnapped Yazidi women for whom time is running out, detailing how an effective rescue operation would be possible. A number of journalists had written amazing stories, directly interviewing survivors — girls that had been kidnapped and placed into the homes of IS jihadists as slaves. These stories continue to emerge, TV interviews have taken place, and the UN issued a report on the kidnapping issue.

Despite the widespread doubt, I and the team I work with have been able to collect the names of thousands of kidnapped Yazidis — mostly women and girls, but also a number of kidnapped and imprisoned men that have been forced to convert to Islam. A month ago, our estimate of kidnapped Yazidis was below 4,000 individuals, but as we continue to gather data, our number now stands at almost 7,000.

Ongoing efforts to shed light on this crisis notwithstanding, the media hasn’t lingered on the issue. Evidence in the form of firsthand accounts of survivors gathered by credible journalists and academics wasn’t enough; skepticism seemed to reign in the absence of photographic evidence — something nearly-impossible to obtain. How would one snap photos of women distributed through private IS networks and placed into the homes of individual IS jihadists? Even a photograph of a Yazidi woman in an Arab home wouldn’t indicate that she was in fact enslaved as a “concubine.”

But today this controversy can be laid to rest. IS has just released the fourth installment of Dabiq, an official publication that they began to produce in July. This issue, called “The Failed Crusade,” contains an article entitled “The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour,” which details how IS fighters kidnapped and distributed Yazidi women as slave concubines. The article also provides their rationale for reviving slavery, which they root in their interpretation of the practice of the earliest Islamic communities. The Islamic State has now officially disclosed that it engages in the sexual enslavement of women from communities determined to be of “pagan” or “polytheistic” origin. [Continue reading…]

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2 thoughts on “ISIS officially admits to enslaving Yazidi women

  1. Mustafa

    How gullible are you people? That “official” online magazine from “ISIS” looks an awful lot like that official online magazine “published by” al-Qaeda a few years back. Ever heard of war propaganda? As if the IS entity is going to bother to publish a glossy information source in English and then brag how they are returning slavery to the world as an Islamic obligation. Sorry, give me more proof that this is an official statement. That is not to disregard the crimes committed in this war, but this propaganda is going to be used to exterminate Muslims everywhere, regardless of political persuasion.

  2. Paul Woodward

    I think you’re the one who is being naive, Mustafa. Watch “Clang of the Swords” — a now infamous Tarantino-style ISIS jihadist-gangster video.

    The nature and content of the video footage used makes it indisputable that this is an ISIS production and it is clearly designed to appeal to young men whose appetite for violence was most likely well cultivated by things like video games, gangsta rap, and Hollywood — well before they decided to take up jihad.

    You vastly overestimate the capabilities of Western intelligence organizations if you think they could produce a publication with the sophistication of their multi-language magazine. They wouldn’t have any problem with the visual design, but they’d struggle with the content.

    ISIS makes a visceral appeal to its target audience through its videos and with Dabiq it is attempting to buttress its religious authority.

    In a detailed analysis for the Institute of War published in August, Harleen K. Gambhir wrote:

    The first and second editions of Dabiq further demonstrate that ISIS is not simply a military or terrorist organization. ISIS has established political institutions, and has reasoned through religious argumentation to support these institutions. In both editions of Dabiq, ISIS takes great care to ensure that its religious justification is robust. This justification is also retrospective, explaining the correctness of the ISIS Caliphate after it had been announced. ISIS’s global expansion likely depends on its ability to wrest religious authority from rival organizations such as al-Qaeda by demonstrating that its own methodology is both more successful and more justified. Some of the language in the publication mirrors that of other prominent jihadists, such as Abu Bakr Naji and Abu Mus’ab al-Suri, along with Zarqawi mentor Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi. This need to persuade jihadists and to piggyback on other prominent theorists makes religious justification a critical requirement for ISIS rather than a core source of strength.

    You want to know how good the U.S. government is in its anti-terrorism propaganda efforts? Look at the State Department’s “Think Again Turn Away” campaign. It has just as much sophistication as Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign in the so-called War on Drugs.

    Since its first appearance in July, ISIS has produced a new issue of Dabiq each month. They clearly have a production team working on this full time.

    Those who want to dismiss this as propaganda created to fuel animosity towards Muslims are simply living in denial.

    Through the disaster of the war in Iraq, the United States created the conditions for ISIS to come into existence, but it didn’t create ISIS. The threat ISIS poses is far less to the West than it is to the populations in Syria, Iraq, and neighboring countries.

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