28 December 2015

The New York Times: “ISIS Women and Enforcers in Syria Recount Collaboration, Anguish and Escape”

The Organization also cast a long shadow over her marriage. Though Aws had always wanted a baby, Abu Muhammad asked her to take birth control pills, still available at Raqqa’s pharmacies. When she pressed him, he said his commanders had advised fighters to avoid getting their wives pregnant. New fathers would be less inclined to volunteer to carry out suicide missions.

This was one of the early, devastating moments when Aws saw that there would be no normalcy or choice; the Islamic State was a third partner in her marriage, there in the bedroom. “At first, I used to keep bringing it up, but it really upset him, so I stopped,” she said.

Azadeh Moaveni

More reports about the harsh lives of women under ISIS rule – this time we’re talking about ‘collaborators’, women who tried to adapt and work within The Organization and ultimately couldn’t live with those kinds of compromises. Judging by the way it insists on inhabiting and controlling every aspect of human life – including the private relationship between husband and wife – ISIS really is becoming the Fascist state of the 21st century.

Aws a former resident of Raqqa, Syria
Aws, 25, a former resident of Raqqa, Syria, used to be a member of the Khansaa Brigade, the Islamic State’s female morality police. Credit: Tara Todras-Whitehill for The New York Times

Many women were arriving from Europe. One spring night this year, Asma and her crew received three British girls, dressed in Western clothes but with their hair covered. “They were so young, tiny, and so happy to have arrived, laughing and smiling,” she recalled.

She accompanied them to a hostel and helped them get settled. As with most of the foreigners she escorted, she did not see them again. It was only later that she saw their faces plastered across the Internet, identified as schoolgirls from Bethnal Green in London, migrating by choice to join the Islamic State.

Asma was bewildered by their decision to so cheerfully embrace a life that was sapping her every single day.

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