Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Life under Isis: Captured teenage girl tells story of horrendous abuse // Dr Patrick Sookhdeo - THE TWO FACES OF ISLAM
A Yazidi girl captured by Isis has revealed the extreme abuse she suffers as a sex slave at the hands of Islamic State (IS) extremists. Only 17 years old, Mayat, (not her real name) was kidnapped by members of Isis on 3rd August during an offensive against Sinjar. She remains with her captors. These men allowed Mayat, who speaks some English as she wanted to study in Europe, to talk because, “to hurt us even more, they told us to describe in detail to our parents what they are doing.”
Her parents, refugees in Kurdistan, gave their daughter’s number to a journalist from Italian paper La Repubblica. The teenage girl begs her interviewer not to name her because: “I am ashamed of what they have done to me. “Part of me would like to die immediately, to sink beneath the ground and say there. But another part that still hopes to be saved, and to be able to hug my parents once more.”
One of around 40 women and young girls held by the extremists in an unknown city, Mayat estimates their ages as anything from 12 to 30. “What are they doing to me?” She says, “I am too ashamed to say, and I don’t even know how to describe my torture.” In the interview Mayat describes how the women and girls are kept in a house under armed guards.
There are, she says, three “rooms of horror” where the women are raped, often by different men and throughout the day. “They treat us like slaves. We are always ‘given’ to different men. Some arrive straight from Syria,” she says.
Isis has made huge territorial gains across northern Iraq and parts of Syria, capturing thousands of women and children according to an Amnesty International report last month.
“They threaten us and beat us if we try to resist. Often I wish they would beat me so hard I will die. But they are cowards even in this. None of them have the courage to end our suffering.” Mayat says some of the youngest girls have stopped talking because of the abuse and were taken away by their captors. Many of the women have attempted to end their lives. “Sometimes I feel as though it will never end. And if it did, my life would remain forever scarred by the torture I have suffered the past few weeks,” Mayat says. “Even if I survive, I don’t think I’ll be able to remove this horror from my mind.” Mayat’s story contradicts previous claims from Isis which purport to show life under the Islamic State, highlighting their care of widows and children. Earlier today the British government promised to donate guns and ammunition to Iraq to fight the insurgency.
Amid concerns of terrorism president Barack Obama has promised to address the American people tomorrow on efforts to “degrade and destroy” Isis. Mayat finished by saying: “They have already killed my body. They are now killing my soul.”
Last month I was in Damascus. I had the great privilege of meeting Dr Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun, the Grand Mufti of Syria. He is a man of peace who pleads repeatedly for equal and harmonious relations between Muslims, Christians and followers of all religions as members of one human family. Because of this stance, he has endured great abuse and criticism from some of his fellow Muslims and was targeted for assassination by the Saudis. Knowing that he would have good security and protection, the group of Islamist hit-men were instructed that, if they could not kill the Grand Mufti himself, they should kill one of his sons instead. In due course they murdered his teenage son. After some months, two of the perpetrators were caught and imprisoned. The Grand Mufti asked to see them and they were brought to him blindfolded. He instructed their blindfolds to be removed, and the two young men, discovering themselves face to face with the head of Sunni Islam in Syria and the father of their victim, shook with fear. But, to their astonishment, the Grand Mufti gently reached out his hands to them and told them not to be afraid. He said that he did not want their mothers to weep as his own bereaved wife had wept for her son, and therefore he forgave them...