Startling details have surfaced of British female jihadists forcing captured Iraqi women into sexual slavery at brothels run by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), British media reported Thursday.
The Brothels, operated by the female “police force” called the al-Khanssaa Brigade, have been set up for the use of ISIS militants, according to the Daily Mirror.
Thousands of Iraqi women have already been forced into sex slavery at the brothels , with as many as 3,000 women and girls been taken captive from the Yazidi tribe in Iraq over the course of the militants’ offensive across the region, according to the daily.
“These women are using barbaric interpretations of the Islamic faith to justify their actions,” the Mirror quoted a source as saying. “They believe the militants can use these women as they please as they are non-Muslims. It is the British women who have risen to the top of the Islamic State’s Sharia police, and now they are in charge of this operation.”
ISIS chiefs have reportedly given British women such prominent roles in the ultra-religious all female militia because they see them as the most committed of the foreign female fighters.
A key figure among the female police force is Aqsa Mahmood, 20, of Glasgow. At least three other British females have been identified as members of the group, the Mirror reported.
‘Al-Khanssaa is a Sharia law police brigade. This is ISIS‘ female law enforcement,” Melanie Smith, a research associate at King's College's International Centre for the Study of Radicalization, told The Sunday Telegraph. 'We think it’s a mixture of British and French women but its social media accounts are run by the British and they are written in English.”
The Daily Mail, meanwhile, reported that more and more young British women are leaving the United Kingdom to join militants, and many have formed intense friendships with ISIS fighters.
They include twins Salma and Zahra Halane, 16, from Manchester, and mother Khadijah Dare, 22, who is married to a Swedish militant.
"It is as bizarre as it is perverse," the Mirror quoted a source as saying.
Experts have said ISIS is targeting women for recruitment, and fighters are being urged to marry British and European women.
ISIS, have been on a rampage across Iraq, killing and enslaving members of the country’s ancient religious minorities, including Assyrian Christians and the Yazidis.
Last month two U.N. officials issued a joint statement on the "barbaric acts" of sexual violence committed by ISIS fighters.
"We condemn, in the strongest terms, the explicit targeting of women and children and the barbaric acts the 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' has perpetrated on minorities in areas under its control, and we remind all armed groups that acts of sexual violence are grave human rights violations that can be considered as war crimes and crimes against humanity," said Nickolay Mladenov, special representative of the U.N. secretary-general for Iraq, and Zainab Hawa Bangura, special representative of the secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict.
The U.N. officials’ statement cited evidence of rape being used as weapons of war against women and teenage boys and girls belonging to the Yazidi, Christian, Turkomen and Shabak communities in Iraq.
Academic and Middle East expert Haleh Esfandiari has blogged for the Wall Street Journal that ISIS offers captured girls and women as a "reward" to its followers.
"ISIS has received considerable world attention for its savage beheadings, executions of captured soldiers and men in conquered towns and villages, violence against Christians and Shiites, and the destruction of non-Sunni shrines and places of worship," she said.
"But its barbarity against women has been treated as a side issue. Arab and Muslim governments, vocal on the threat ISIS poses to regional stability, have been virtually silent on ISIS’s systemic degradation, abuse, and humiliation of women.”
"To the men of ISIS, women are an inferior race, to be enjoyed for sex and be discarded, or to be sold off as slaves.”