Atrocities committed by the Islamic State terror group, more commonly referred to as ISIS, have been numerous and well-documented, but the group’s unrelenting war against religious faiths outside their own sect has seen some particularly heinous acts. Those acts were on display last week at a conference in New York. And one of the more chilling acts reported was a video sent to the parents of children who had been kidnapped by ISIS, whereon was recorded the rape and torture of the family’s daughters.
The Christian Post reported on May 3 that as part of their terroristic onslaught against religious minorities in Syria and Iraq, ISIS, in one instance, made an horrific delivery to the doorstep of a couple whose children had reportedly been kidnapped by the group. The Catholic News Agency recounted the story told by human rights activists at the International Congress on Religious Freedom that, upon answering the door, the couple found a video and a bag containing body parts that they identified as belonging to their missing daughters. The video revealed the rape and torture of their children.
And that was just one of the many stories told at the conference. Another story centered around a Christian woman, who was threatened by ISIS militants and told to leave her home in Mosul, Iraq, or pay the jizya tax (traditionally, a tax levied on non-Muslims residing in Islamic states or nations). The woman was unable to leave the house before the extremists set fire to the building. Her daughter, who was taking a shower at the time of the ultimatum, was caught inside and burned alive. She reportedly died in her mother’s arms.
On a more personal level, a 15-year-old Yazzidi girl, Samia Sleman, speaking at the conference on religious persecution, told the audience that she was captured and treated as a sex slave by ISIS. She recalled how thousands of children, young girls and women, are being held in captivity by Islamic State and used for sex, are constantly raped by the militants themselves and forced to convert to Islam. Some of the captives are as young as 7-years of age, she said. The older women, if found not useful, are killed.
The stories revealed at the New York conference are just the latest additions to the long list of atrocities reportedly committed by ISIS and/or taken credit by the extremist group. The Islamic terrorist faction has a bold history of using visually graphic video and photographic evidence to promote their fundamentalist views. Considered by most as barbaric, intolerant, and religiously extreme, the group also uses those same acts as recruitment tools.
ISIS has shown itself particularly adept in the use of social media and the internet to deliver their message. The group quickly established — upon seizing control of a sizable amount of territory in Iraq and Syria and declaring itself autonomous — how far it would go to enforce its draconian brand of Islamic rule. Photos and videos of beheadings began to land on the internet, starting with the photos of 50 Syrian soldiers being killed in Raqqa, Syria, in July, 2014, many via decapitation. Although condemned by a vast number of international groups and governments, the photos of the beheadings were soon followed — in August — by the photo of the 7-year-old son of ISIS convert, Khaled Sharrouf, an Australian national, holding the severed head of a Syrian soldier. International outrage was rekindled just days later when the beheading video of American freelance journalist James Foley was posted to the internet.
Atrocities, such as the tossing of alleged homosexuals from a rooftop in Iraq, have been photographed and posted on the internet in November, 2015, as well. But as to religious persecution, a video reported to be of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, said to have been abducted in two groups in Libya on two separate occasions, being beheaded in a mass killing was the focus of international outrage in early 2015.
Some, like young Samia Sleman, see nothing being done to stop ISIS with regard to their so-called extermination policies toward “innocent kids and innocent people” of religious minorities in areas controlled by the terrorist group.
“Why don’t we see any action being taken? Even though it’s been over a year and a half now, we’ve seen horrible things happen to us minorities, especially Yazidis and Christians, in that region, and we don’t see the international community taking concrete actions against the Islamic State.”
The U.S. State Department, the British House of Commons, and the European Union Parliament, notes the Christian Post, have recognized and condemned the genocide of Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities in Iraq and Syria. But victims of ISIS are saying — and justifying such forums as the International Congress on Religious Freedom — that specific actions are not being taken to deter and/or eliminate the terrorist group from the commission of what amounts to religious persecution and codified war crimes.
[Photo by AP Images File]