As the fight to liberate Iraq from Daesh continues, more women who have suffered abuse at the hands of the militants are having their voices heard.
The evil torture, rape and murder of Christian and Yazidi women by Daesh has been documented – and continues to be. Strong women such as Nadia Murad, who recently won the EU’s prestigious Sakharov human rights prize are taking the stories of abuse from inside Iraq into the wider world. And they are being met with horror.
Now, even more stories are emerging. More terrifying accounts of brutality by Daesh thugs are coming to light. And they involve Sunni Muslim Arab women.
It’s long been known that Daesh’s terrorism is masked in a twisted ideology that masquerades as Islam. The militants are set on destroying religious symbols and buildings that it believes are against its perverted form of the religion. And they rape, murder and abuse women who don’t follow the strict rules they have created within their cult of brutality.
But until now, Sunni Muslim Arab women’s suffering had not been documented.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has just published a series of cases of arbitrary detentions, beatings, forced marriages and rape by the terrorists on women who have fled the town of Hawijah, which is still under Daesh control.
HRW says that these are the first cases [by Daesh] against Sunni Arab women in Iraq that it has been able to document.
According to HRW, Daesh militants accuse the women of apostasy, or abandoning their faith, before abusing them.
It is yet another series of examples of the indiscriminate abuse of women by Daesh, irrespective of faith of sect. The militants display no regard for the rights of women or which version of Islam they follow. They are shown to be misogynists who simply get a kick out of raping and torturing women wherever and whenever and whomever.
What matters to them is control and this leads to gender-based violence.
The accounts collected by HRW make for horrifying reading.
The evidence uncovered adds to an already unfathomable amount of suffering by women of all faiths and sects across Iraq and Syria.
At Str!ve, we offer workshops to empower Muslim women. We understand that in Islam, women play an important role in every part of life. We cannot let the women in our families suffer at the hands of terrorists who often promise women a better life, perhaps a purpose in life, only to abuse them in such brutal ways.
Out workshops enable Muslim women to have a voice in and outside their community, in order to deliver a counter narrative voice to extremist ideology. We aim to inspire Muslim women to contribute and play an active part in wider society, and to be the advocates of change.
Women who are strong, informed and ready to stand up to terrorists are vital in tackling extremism and rampant abuse of women not only in Syria and Iraq but here in the UK.