New documents uncovered by Reuters provide a sickening look into the Islamic State group's mass enslavement and human trafficking of captured women in war zones in Iraq and Syria.
The recovered ISIS order purports to be an Islamic religious ruling titled "Fatwa Number: 64." Issued on Jan. 29 by the "ISIL Committee of Research and Fatwas," the document lays out a number of grotesque rules for female captives and their owners in ISIL territory.
"Some of the brothers have committed violations in the matter of the treatment of the female slaves," says a prompt at the beginning of the ruling. "These violations are not permitted by Sharia law because these rules have not been dealt with in ages. Are there any warnings pertaining to this matter?"
The rules permit ISIS fighters to have sex with captured women — reflecting the group's deliberate and systemic rape of conquered non-Muslims — and lay out detailed guidelines on the type and timing of intercourse permitted, as well as restrictions on sex with more than one member of the same family. Dual owners of a captive are not permitted to have sex with her, as she is "part of a joint ownership."
Menstruating and pregnant women, as well as sharing sex slaves, are also considered off-limits. While the document exhorts slave owners to "show compassion towards her, be kind to her, not humiliate her and not assign her work she is unable to perform," there is no mention of sexual consent whatsoever.
The whole document is available to read on Reuters' website.
Detailed reports from multiple human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, as well as publications like the New York Times, have documented ISIS' horrifying treatment of conquered women in its territories. In December 2014, the Yazidi ethnic minority in Iraq told BBC thousands of its women have been captured.
According to the BBC, ISIS actually brags about forcing women into sexual slavery as though they were spoils of war — particularly members of the monotheistic Yazidi group.
"After capture, the Yazidi women and children were then divided according to Sharia [Islamic law] amongst the fighters of Islamic State who participated in the Sinjar operations," an article in the group's magazine Daqib stated, according to the BBC. "Before Satan sows doubt among the weak-minded and weak-hearted, remember that enslaving the kuffa [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of Sharia."
Last year, a group of more than 120 Muslim scholars from across the globe issued an open letter to ISIS detailing inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the group's theology.
"The reintroduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam," wrote the scholars. "It was abolished by universal consensus. ... It is forbidden in Islam to force people to convert. ... It is forbidden in Islam to deny women their rights."
Bernard Freamon, Islamic legal history expert at Seton Hall University School of Law in New Jersey, agreed ISIS' rulings are a misreading of actual Islamic tradition. Writing for CNN, he noted that the group's ideology has more in common with historical "Muslim imperialists and slave-traders [who] illegally raided non-combatant villages in Eastern Europe, West Africa, East Africa, India and Southeast Asia, plundering, pillaging and capturing and raping women and children with impunity under pretextual jihads."
"Jurists around the world acknowledge that there is now a universal consensus recognizing an irrefutable human right to be free from slavery and slave-trading," Freamon concluded. "All right-thinking Muslims should condemn [ISIS] for these acts and work to free all those who are enslaved."