ISIS Says the Quran Allows Enslaving Women. Will Clerical Leaders Respond?
"Islamic State militants crossed a last possible boundary of decency by citing the Quran as authority for the barbarism they have been practicing against women. Equally disturbing, Arab leaders and the ulama, the clerical leaders of Islam, have been silent in the face of this effrontery," writes Haleh Esfandiari.
Islamic State’s audacity and effrontery toward women knows no bounds. In an article that appeared Sunday in Dabiq, the group’s English-language online publication, Islamic State militants crossed a last possible boundary of decency by citing the Quran as authority for the barbarism they have been practicing against women. Equally disturbing, Arab leaders and the ulama, the clerical leaders of Islam, have been silent in the face of this effrontery.
In the article, ISIS brags of its right to enslave, marry, sell, and buy the girls and women who fall under its control in conquered territories. They are the “spoils of war,” the group asserts. No apology for barbarity toward women, no hiding of atrocity, is necessary; the Quran allows it.
Numerous published reports have made clear that when ISIS fighters enter a town, they separate women, girls and children from their families; then the abuse of girls and women begins. Women of the Yezidi sect, an offshoot of Islam disdained by ISIS, have been a particular target. An ISIS fighter can “buy” as many women as he wants, the group asserts; he can choose to rape them, “marry” them and then sexually abuse them, divorce or abandon them even if pregnant, or pass them on to other fighters.
All this in the name of Islam–the narrow ISIS brand of radical, fundamentalist Islam. Even if such practices seemed justifiable when Islam was founded in the seventh century, a time when Muslim armies were conquering vast territories and women and girls were considered the spoils of war, we live in a different era today. Such practices violate decency and human rights.
Arab and Muslim governments, though loud in their condemnation of ISIS as a terrorist organization, have been silent on its treatment of women. Hiding behind the “we are against ISIS terrorism” curtain is not enough. Governments and political leaders in these countries must speak out specifically against ISIS’s treatment of women. The spokesmen for Islam among the eminent scholars of Islamic law and tradition who have great influence with most citizens in Muslim countries, must refute the assertion that such practices are condoned and permissible under Islam today. They must do this for the sake of their religion and their civilization. The West can help Arabs and Muslims militarily. But confronting Islamic State over its bestial treatment of women is one task they must do for themselves.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author.
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