ISIS holding thousands of women and children as slaves in Iraq and Syria

Emily Feldman reports: The Islamic State is currently holding thousands of people hostage inside ISIS territory, having taken members of the minority Yazidi sect captive this summer during a brutal campaign across northern Iraq.

While the United Nations has put the number of captives at about 2,500, other estimates are as high as 7,000. And prospects for any rescue are bleak.

Even as the U.S. and its allies bomb ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq, the group has managed to hold on to key cities where it is reviving the practice of slavery.

The latest edition of Dabiq, an ISIS magazine, includes an impassioned argument for the practice as well as an account of how the Yazidi women from the Sinjar region of Iraq were distributed among the fighters.

“The Yazidi women and children were divided according to the Shariah amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated in the Sinjar operation…to be divided as khums,” a kind of tax.

“The enslaved Yazidi families are now sold by the Islamic State soldiers.”

The magazine also warns “weak-minded and weak-hearted” ISIS followers who might question or object to the practice of slavery.

“Enslaving the families of the [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shariah,” the article says. “If one were to deny or mock [it], he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Quran.”

The article’s description of how prisoners were dealt with closely mirrors accounts from the few who have escaped or managed to contact their loved-ones by phone.

Women were sold at slave markets, forced to marry and imprisoned in the homes of ISIS fighters across both Iraq and Syria. [Continue reading…]

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