Six Yazidi women held as sex slaves by the Islamic State (ISIS) before finding sanctuary in Canada reported received threatening phone calls and text messages from ISIS sympathizers.
Some of the callers claim to be the same ISIS jihadis who abused them in Iraq. Others threatened to hunt them down and rape them again. The youngest of the six Yazidis is only 14 years old.
CTV News reported on Monday that the women have given police recordings of the phone calls and copies of the text messages they have received. Some of the text messages included pictures of beheadings and armed ISIS militants.
Reporters were permitted to hear some of the telephone recordings:
In one, a man laughs as he says in Arabic: “I am the man who f****d you. I am your rapist.” A second caller denounces Yazidis as devil worshippers. And a third caller makes a graphic reference to rape.
The callers appear to have Iraqi, North African and Gulf state accents. York Regional Police have assembled a team to try to track where the calls are originating.
The Yazidis are a religious minority found largely in Iraq and Syria whose practices Muslims often denounce as devil worship. The Islamic State attempted to commit genocide against them and very nearly succeeded.
The possibility that Islamic State sympathizers or ISIS tormentors followed Yazidi refugees to other countries is not new. The National Post ran a story in June about an Iraqi Yazidi woman whom multiple jihadis raped after ISIS sold her as a sex slave before she escaped to Canda, only to find the slave-market boss who sold her riding the same bus in Ontario eight months later.
Canadian authorities said they are taking the reports of harassment from the Yazidi women very seriously, although they conceded the difficulty of tracking down hostile callers when “spoofing” techniques are so readily available.
“We came here for safety, but after these threats, I don’t feel safe. We want to live without threats and fear,” one of the women told CTV News.
“I am scared. My son is four years old, he is scared,” said another.
One Free World International, a religious freedom advocacy group headed by Rev. Majed El-Shafie, who was himself tortured in Egypt after converting to Christianity, is looking after the women.
“They are survivors of genocide. They are survivors of sex slavery and they came here to Canada starting a new life to be safe and sound and now this nightmare seems like it is repeating itself,” El-Shafie said of the Yazidis.
El-Shafie said in a CBC Radio interview on Tuesday that he has heard recordings of the threatening messages and spoke to one of the callers.
“In one of the messages, the criminal was saying, you know: ‘We will rape you as we did in Syria. We will rape you again in Canada,’” he said.
El-Shafie complimented Canadian police for “doing a great job” on the complaint and saluted the Canadian people for the generosity they have shown Yazidi refugees. Unfortunately, he said the abuse has forced some of the women to change their phone numbers and seek counseling.