The extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group admits to and justifies the enslavement of hundreds of Yazidi girls and women as concubines in the fourth issue of its online English publication Dabiq.
In an article titled "The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour," ISIS says that enslaving families of the apostates such as the Yazidi and taking their women as concubines or sex slaves is a "firmly established aspect of the Sharia."
ISIS militants have repeatedly targeted the Yazidis, a religious minority in Iraq whom the extremists consider to be "devil-worshipping" apostates more unworthy than Jews and Christians.
The article rationalizes the enslavement of women by stating that if a man cannot afford marriage to a free woman, he will be tempted toward such sins as "fornication and adultery."
The article also states that a man could be tempted to fornicate with his family's maid, but "if she were his concubine, this relationship would be legal."
The article concludes by praising ISIS for reviving the religious aspect of slavery to prevent "haram," or forbidden acts of temptation.
The Human Rights Watch video describes how ISIS fighters forcibly marry Yazidi women and girls in mass weddings after killing their husbands and other male relatives.
"Seve," a 19-year-old Yazidi woman who escaped ISIS, described how she was coerced into marriage with a militant after her husband, father-in-law, and brother-in-law were killed before her eyes.
Seve said the ISIS fighters tossed sweets at their enslaved brides, shot their guns in the air, and danced with their weapons.
Another Yazidi woman told Human Rights Watch how ISIS fighters captured her newlywed sister and killed her brother-in-law.
For 27 days the woman could not reach her sister. Finally, when her sister managed to call her using another person's cell phone, she said, "We want to escape but there's no way out."
"We heard shocking stories of forced religious conversions, forced marriage, and even sexual assault and slavery — and some of the victims were children," said Fred Abrahams, special adviser at Human Rights Watch.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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