The U.K. Daily Mail calls the hard core Islamic women of ISIS “female Gestapo.” After the latest release of information in their exposé from the Middle East, that description could well be entirely accurate.
This week’s new revelations elaborate on the tactics the women higher up the ISIS food chain use on new “recruits” and sex slaves:
[One British woman] told of her horrifying capture by the city’s ruthless all-women police unit, the Al-Khansa brigade, created to enforce IS rules. ‘They said my eyes were visible through my veil. I was tortured. They lashed me. Now some of them punish women by biting. They give you the option between getting bitten or lashed.’
According to multiple compiled accounts, the Al-Khansa brigade stops buses to hold impromptu inspections. They can force everyone on a bus to get off and berate the driver if women are allowed on who are dressed inappropriately.
One former member of the Al-Khansa brigade escaped to Turkey herself after her husband blew himself up, and the women of ISIS tried to force her to remarry before she was ready. She told of her recruitment and involvement.
‘I went to school, to coffee shops,’ she said, ‘but slowly, slowly my husband [a Saudi Arabian IS fighter killed in a suicide bomb attack] convinced me about Islamic State and its ideas. I joined the brigade and was responsible for enforcing the clothing regulations.
‘Anyone who broke the rules, we would lash. Then we would take her male guardian, her brother, father or husband, and lash him, too.
‘Even when I was off duty, if I was with my husband in the car and we saw a woman dressed wrong, he would stop and tell me to deal with her.
‘I remember one woman walking with her husband wearing a robe with images on it. We arrested her and took her to the Al-Khansa base. I lashed her with my own hands.’
Women who have escaped the brutal ISIS regime also describe being forced into brothels and being expected to satisfy fighters returning from battle. Some say that they were forced to have sex with over 100 different fighters in a matter of weeks. There are also descriptions from women who went into the marriage mart at Raqqa and were married to one man, divorced via a mulsim cleric, and then married to another man the next week.
More information has also emerged about what happens to the girls who are recruited via social media from western countries. A research fellow in Britain named Emily Dyer follows the recruitment and treatment of these girls via social media.
Emily’s analysis of internet messages shows that many jihadi brides find Raqqa a shock. Under IS prohibitions, single women live in all-female safe houses called maqqars. If they are married, they must be only mothers or housewives unless selected to be IS ‘enforcers’ or fighters.
A girl tracked by Emily on Twitter said: ‘I’m fed up. They make me do the washing up.’ Another said: ‘I’ve done nothing except hand out clothes and food. I help clean weapons and transport dead bodies from the front. It’s beginning to get really hard.’ One complained: ‘My iPod doesn’t work any more. I have to come back [to the West].’…
… messages on Twitter and Kik Messenger (an encrypted service) [say] that women in maqqars are forbidden access to mobile phones or the internet. They are then prepared for marriage to a jihadi, even if they are young teenagers. ‘The Prophet Mohammed’s favourite wife, Aisha, got married to him when she was nine,’ she said.
She advised British girls wanting to join IS not to tell their families, to bring as much money as possible, ‘lots of bras’, black khimars (long Islamic dresses) and black niqabs (full face veils) — ‘you can’t leave the house without a niqab.’
And so it is that the women of ISIS are keeping each other in line: with shame, gossip, lashing, biting and Heaven knows what else. The more details that emerge from inside the Caliphate, the more one has to wonder what the girls headed into the life see in it.