The fighters of the Islamic State regularly oppress the people under their influence, usually based on their sex, religion and beliefs. Christianity and any other religion straying from the preferred version of Islam are heavily condemned, and is punishable by death and torture. The Yazidis are especially under threat from execution by Isis as they are considered to be worshippers of the devil. They have been a target for genocide and hatred for centuries, based solely on their religious teachings. Yazidi women are oppressed even further, as they are subject to rape, slavery and forced marriage.
The Islamic State, also referred to as Isis or Al-Sham, is a group full of carefully bred fighters that have emerged from the shadow of the Al -Qaeda since 2004. Since then, they have tried to create a hardline state, ruled by a Caliphate (successor). The successor they wish to create is unfortunately modelled on the past of the Islamic civilization. Believing they have advanced knowledge of God’s wishes and desires means they act upon his wishes and will destroy anyone that stands in their way.
The tactics and ways of oppression that Isis have chosen to use has even driven the Al-Qaeda to disassociate themselves from their affiliate – a chilling thought, as the Al-Qaeda are famously responsible for the September 11 Twin Towers attack. To act in this way and then to disavow a similar group due to their ‘wicked ‘ actions is enough to question the lack of humanity remaining in these areas.
Isis has worked on recruiting foreign fighters, as they are seen as the backbone to the ongoing war – men and women as young as 16 have left the comfort of their own homes to join the conflict and fight for Isis, lured by the promise of a virgin wife and glory in the name of God. Recently, they have carried out attacks on ancient sites and rival places of worship, working tirelessly to eradicate any traces of culture, heritage and diversity. Isis not only aims to eliminate the religious sites, but also the majority of Shia Muslims residing in Iraq. Their goal is to control their areas and turn the clock back to ‘year Zero’ in order to erase any history of pre-Islamic Assyria.
The position of women in Isis
In the view of Isis militants, women are no more than a vessel for men to use then throw away at their own disposal. These women who are born into a life full of war have been striped of their rights, their dignity and freedom, and are taught from birth that they are inferior to men, the same men who have forgotten that they themselves are born from a woman.
The Koran says various different things about women, ranging from ‘respect your mother’ to ‘only good women are obedient’. One particularly outstanding quote found has been shown below, confirming that taking the families of nonbelievers and inflicting sexual violence upon the women is an ‘established aspect of Islamic Law’.
‘One should remember that enslaving the families of the kuffār [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shari’a [Islamic Religious Law]’.
Life as a woman under the rule of Isis is a grueling and draining experience and the prospect of a better and fair future is slim at best. Few escape and even fewer live to see their adulthood through – a harrowing scenario to imagine for the women of Western countries.
Girls are married off as young as nine years old to men four times their tender age in order to fulfil their sole purpose as homemakers. What’s expected of these girls is made abundantly clear from the moment they are born: Education must be limited to teachings of the Koran, followed by cooking, sewing and other basic household chores. Women must be covered from head to toe when in public or a beating will follow; if a woman is a nonbeliever and held captive, she will be made to obey her master in all of his wishes, whether sexual or domestic. One particularly sickening allowance Isis has made is that it is acceptable to engage in sexual intercourse with a girl who has not yet reached puberty.
These few rules alone have violated the woman and stripped her of all opportunity and the basic human rights she is entitled to. Sexual violence is far from being condemned and sadly, this is the harsh reality for the women of places such as Syria.
A manifesto released by Isis also stated that there was no need for a woman to ‘flit here and there to get degrees and so on just so she can try to prove that her intelligence is greater than a man’s’. In the most perverse way, the fighters of Isis see this as a warped concept of feminism, as they deem the role of a woman to be one of the central ones, namely, as the homemaker.
The position of women is steadily improving in Westernised countries, and the prospect of being controlled by the opposite sex is almost laughable to the younger generations of today. Most of us have been raised with the concept of equality in everything, whether it be education or relationships. Women have made outstanding movement in the last century, from having the first female prime minister to obtaining the right to vote, but Eastern areas remain stuck in an eighteenth century ideology.
The women and youths from areas of conflict have also developed into a ‘voiceless generation’ – the only difference is that they do not have a choice in the matter. However, the youths of today have the ability and resources to take action against this ever-increasing issue.
By speaking out and rising up against the issues of oppression, the women and children can be helped in their lasting fight against the abuses they are subject to. Raising awareness and making a conscious effort to help save these people will aid in the prolonged fight against the Islamic State. This generation should work to liberate the innocent victims of war, in order to give them the opportunities they deserve and so at long last, they can be free from the grip of oppression.