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The Caliphate

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Yazidi Women who Fled IS Captivity Tell of Their Nightmares

April 17th 2015

IS Caliphate victory parade

Thousands of Yazidi women are being held captive in the Islamic State's Shariya refugee camp in Iraq, on the border with Syrian Kurdistan. Few of them managed to escape, and now tell the horrifying stories of those who were left behind. These women go through a special kind of hell – being treated like cattle, sold as sex slaves and forcefully married off to abusive, violent husbands. This treatment is part of the jihadists' "big plan" – to establish a radical Islamist nation, a "caliphate", based on Sharia law as it was implemented in the seventeenth century, in the early days of Islam.

In an article on CNN, the women who fled IS describe how they were sent to enslavement warehouses, where they were lined up in groups of 50 and put on display in front of men in order to be chosen as their wives or sex slaves. These stories have been confirmed by doctors who examined them and say they have found evidence of repeated sexual assault.

An investigation by Human Rights Watch revealed "an organized system of rape, sexual assault, slavery and forced marriages" – actions considered as war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity as well.

Another terrorist organization that has a very specific role for women is Boko Haram in Nigeria. About 2,000 women and girls have been kidnapped and kept in captivity in the past year alone. These women are also being constantly moved from village to village, forced to convert if they're not Muslim and married off to jihadists.

This is a drastic change from the previous generation of jihad, when organizations such as Al Qaeda did not have any specific plans for women, because the establishment of a caliphate was considered a distant goal and not an immediate one. The IS, however, is actively building those new social structures, where women are viewed as the property of men.

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