Exclusive: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s widow says ISIS fighters were ‘obsessed’ with women

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Slain ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his fighters were “obsessed” with women and turned the “caliphate” under their control into a “state for women,” his widow said in an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya, which aired on Thursday.

The extremist group, led by al-Baghdadi, had taken control of much of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014 and began ruling the territory with an iron fist.

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During the interview, Asma Mohammed, who is currently detained by Iraqi authorities, said that ISIS perpetuated various forms of abuse against women, including sexual slavery and forced marriages.

Al-Baghdadi held more than 10 Yazidi women as “slaves,” and was even married to a 13-year-old girl at one point, his widow said.

“Al-Baghdadi and his organization were led by their desires beyond the limits of humanity,” Mohammed said, adding that her husband “indulged” in his desires after the declaration of the caliphate.

Her husband also married off his 12-year-old daughter to a 23-year-old man during his rule, she said.

American captive

Mohammed also confirmed that she had met American aid worker Kayla Mueller once after she was captured by ISIS and was being held as al-Baghdadi’s slave.

In 2017, the group announced that the US citizen was killed in a Jordanian airstrike, a claim that US authorities have disputed. Mohammed also expressed her skepticism regarding the accuracy of the group’s narrative on the death of US citizen Kayla Mueller.

Kayla Mueller in 2013 in Prescott, Arizona. (File photo: AFP)
Kayla Mueller in 2013 in Prescott, Arizona. (File photo: AFP)

However, the widow denied having any information about the circumstances of Mueller’s interactions with the ISIS leader. Several reports indicate that Mueller was repeatedly raped repeatedly by al-Baghdadi.

US-backed forces defeated ISIS in Iraq in 2017, and two years later in Syria. In 2019, Washington announced that US troops had killed al-Baghdadi in an operation in northwestern Syria.

Remnants of the group continue to attack civilians and security forces in both countries.

Read more: Exclusive: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s widow doubts ISIS claims on Kayla Mueller’s death

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