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Middle East: ISIS uses theology to justify rape, enslavement of Yazidi women - by Ariel Zirulnick

A wrenching look by The New York Times into the Islamic State’s enslavement and rape of women from the Yazidi minority group has shed light on one of the most disturbing aspects of its rule in Syria and Iraq.

The practice, according to reporter Rukmini Callimachi, was formalized a year ago, when IS announced it was bringing institutionalized slavery back. Since then an entire “infrastructure” – warehouses, buses, viewing rooms – has emerged to facilitate the trade of women and girls.
A total of 5,270 Yazidis were abducted last year, and at least 3,144 are still being held, according to community leaders. To handle them, the Islamic State has developed a detailed bureaucracy of sex slavery, including sales contracts notarized by the ISIS-run Islamic courts. And the practice has become an established recruiting tool to lure men from deeply conservative Muslim societies, where casual sex is taboo and dating is forbidden.
A growing body of internal policy memos and theological discussions has established guidelines for slavery, including a lengthy how-to manual issued by the Islamic State Research and Fatwa Department just last month. Repeatedly, the ISIS leadership has emphasized a narrow and selective reading of the Quran and other religious rulings to not only justify violence, but also to elevate and celebrate each sexual assault as spiritually beneficial, even virtuous.
Even if captives are released or manage to escape, the trauma doesn’t end, given the stigma that is associated with rape victims in conservative societies. So far, the Yazidi community has said all the right things. Baba Sheikh, a prominent religious leader, has at least twice reassured women they will be welcomed back to the community, according to a Human Rights Watch report in April.

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