Women living under control of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) revealed to The Guardian that the militant group has imposed more restrictions on females since taking over new territories. The terrorist group forces people to live under strict Sharia law, which treats women like second-class citizens. Rules include double-layered veils and marrying off girls as young as nine.
The jihadists established a “morality police” known as Hisbah, which recently attacked a woman in Syria because her eyes were exposed. Now, a day later, women claimed the Islamic State forces all females to wear double-layered veils and be accompanied by a male guardian at all times.
“It is prohibited for a woman in Raqqa or Deir el-Zour to move anywhere outside without a mahram, a male guardian,” said Sama Mahar. “It is a big problem as I do not have any, we are only five sisters.”
The Hisbah detained Mahar several times due to violations of Islamic State rules. She dropped out of school in Aleppo since she cannot “cross the checkpoints without a mahram” and the jihadists closed universities in their self-declared “caliphate.” The male guardians can be punished if the women do not comply with the rules.
“They forced women of all ages to wear a veil, even though the majority of the women in Mosul wear a hijab,” said pediatrician Maha Saleh.
The Hisbah would hit a woman on her head with a stick if she was not wearing a veil. At the beginning, some female doctors refused to wear veils and went on a strike by staying at home. Hisbah took ambulances and went to their houses and brought them by force to the hospital. One of my colleagues was alone in her clinic in the hospital and thought it was all right to strip off her veil. All of a sudden, two Hisbah broke in her room and reproached her for not wearing the veil and warned her not to do that again.
But mass confusion is caused when all the women are covered from head to toe.
“I went once with my wife to one of the old souqs [open-air marketplace] to do some shopping, and after a short while I lost her among the crowd,” said Sabah Nadiem, a resident of Mosul, Iraq. “The problem was that all the women were wearing veils and it was hard to know who was my wife. I was utterly scared to make a mistake and go for the wrong woman. It would be a disaster to fall into Hisbah hands. I could not even use my mobile as the network was down.”
The Islamic State has published numerous manuals concerning the “proper” behavior for women in their caliphate. In December, the group released a manual for fellow jihadists on how to beat, rape, and fail to impregnate their female slaves. Another manual, titled Women of the Islamic State: Manifesto and Case Study, specifically details to women how to behave.
“It is always preferable for a woman to remain hidden and veiled, to maintain society from behind this veil,” it said.
Marriage rules are the most disturbing part of the manifesto.
“It is considered legitimate for a girl to be married at the age of nine,” it claims. “Most pure girls will be married by 16 or 17, while they are still young and active. Young men will not be more than 20 years old in those glorious generations.”
An all-female Islamic State brigade is known to also enforce Sharia law within the caliphate. In December, they used a bear trap known as a “biter” on women’s breasts who defied the protocols of the terrorist group. The torture device was used on one woman who was arrested in public for breastfeeding with a transparent niqab. After the jihadists took over Mosul, Iraq, they demanded all shopowners place a veil on mannequins, even the males, since “the human form is not depicted in statues or artwork.”