In the spring of 2016, WARN reported on the unanimous vote by British MPs to condemn Daesh’s brutal savagery against Yazidis and Christians in Iraq as genocide.
Later in the year, we wrote about human rights lawyer Amal Clooney’s incredible work, representing numerous women who have escaped sexual slavery, rape and murder by Daesh militants in Iraq. Clooney’s aim was to ensure that the despicable acts enforced by Daesh are defined as genocide and prosecuted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Clooney said at the time: “We know that systematic rapes have taken place and that they are still taking place. And yet no one is being held to account.”
Women have been the target of unthinkable brutality at the hands of murderous Daesh thugs who display no respect for women, reducing them to soulless animals.
It is well documented Daesh has carried out unimaginable atrocities and have pillaged, murdered and raped countless women and children as young as 8.
These abuses have so far been reported to focus on Yazidi and Christian women. But new reports are emerging of Daesh’s indiscriminate targeting of Muslim Arab women too, namely, Sunni women.
A Human Rights Watch (HRW) investigation has documented cases of arbitrary detentions, beatings, forced marriages and rape by the terrorists on women who have fled the town of Hawijah, which is still under Daesh control.
These are, HRW says, “the first cases [by Daesh] against Sunni Arab women in Iraq that Human Rights Watch has been able to document.”
“Little is known about sexual abuse against Sunni Arab women living under Daesh rule,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “We hope that the international community and local authorities will do all they can to give this group of victims the support they need.”
The accounts collected by HRW often refer to Daesh fighters accusing the women of apostasy, or abandoning their faith, before abusing them.
The abuse of women is told in another recent story, published by Reuters, in which Islamic State militant Amar Hussein says he raped more than 200 women from Iraqi minorities, and shows no regrets. In the interview, Hussein suggests that rape is “normal” because “young men need this”.
It shows that Daesh treats all women with contempt, irrespective of faith, sect, or religion. Nothing in the Quran says that women have to be treated in the vile way that Daesh shows; far from it. Women have played a key role in the history of Islam; they have been given complete equality which Daesh ideology conveniently ignores.
Despite the overwhelming evidence, some Western women are still being lured by Daesh. The group claims it empowers women. It doesn’t. Women radicalised in the west are being duped, brainwashed.
We, as women, must stand against Daesh. At WARN, we run a series of workshops to empower women. Through our workshops, members have the opportunity to learn and understand the issues that lead to the radicalisation of women – from misogyny to online grooming.
Together, we can ensure women have a voice and the confidence we need to combat and tackle twisted terrorism.