The group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS) has carried out ethnic cleansing on a historic scale in northern Iraq, according to a recent report by Amnesty International. According to the report, ethnic and religious minorities – Assyrian Christians, Turkmen Shi’a, Shabak Shi’a, Yezidis, Kakai and Sabean Mandaeans – are under threat of death if they do not convert to Islam. There have been allegations that many of the women and girls who have been abducted by IS fighters, notably girls in their teens and early 20s, have been subjected to rape or sexual abuse, forced to marry fighters, or sold into sexual slavery.
At the same time, a handful of women from the West are reported to have freely moved to IS-controlled areas (see secret video of an IS-controlled street). Their stories add to the claims of legitimacy by the IS leaders. On the video, one French woman caught on video talking to her mother in France, explains, “I don’t want to come back, Mama, because I’m happy here. Everything you see on TV is fake, I swear to you, it’s not true. Do you understand? They exaggerate everything on TV.”
Gender Inequality Higher When Restrictions on Religious Freedom Are Higher
Any solutions will need to address issues such as religious freedom, because religious freedom is not only tied to gender equality but also to more stable economies. Religious intolerance affects women’s ability to engage in and contribute to the economy.
IS demonstrates the extreme instability that accompanies absolute religious intolerance. An already destabilized region is made even more so, leaving ancient minority faiths displaced and on the verge of being wiped out.
- Istanbul, Helsinki, London, Bristol, Oxford, Milan, Dubai, Brisbane, Sydney
- Washington, Boston, Provo, Miami