Escaping Nightmares of ISIL Rape and Slavery
"They were laughing and said all of them have died. They showed me my three children. I was crying and kissing them and calling them [then the bodies were taken away]."
"They [jihadist ISIL] took the men in groups [in Sinjar, 2014]. They took them outside the village and killed them outside because we heard the shots."
"They took the old women also, after that, from us. They took them outside the building and we heard again the shooting. They were killed. We had 81 old women and they have this mass grave outside this building."
"The Daesh from Iraq, they sold us to the Daesh from Syria. They brought us to the border and exchanged us, put us in other cars and took money from the Syrian ISIL fighters."
"When we asked them about our destiny, what would happen to us, they said, 'We will sell you because you are our slaves. We will sell you to the other fighters'."
"My pregnancy was not a protection for me. Beside them raping me and treating me very bad, I was working in their office in this place where ISIL fighters, all of them, in the evening came. I was cleaning, working as a slave there."
"I tried to escape from this. I took my children and broke the door and escaped from the house but the area was completely strange ... We didn't know who was Daesh, who wasn't Daesh.
"My baby died in my hands. As he died, they took his body from me. I was crying but they beat me because I was crying. As I asked about my children they were laughing and said all of them have died."
"They took this picture and published it in their Facebook and social media, and said these are the bodies of infidels and this was punishment for trying to escape."
Marah, 28, from Khocho, Sinjar, rescued and in Kurdish Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq
Handout Majed El Shafie, left, a Toronto-based lawyer trying to bring Yazdidi families who fled ISIL to Canada, meets with a former ISIL sex slave in Iraq. The woman asked her face and the face of her daughter not be shown.
"Iraq is based on tribes, based on regions and areas. Through the tribes you can make an exchange of materials that some of the bad guys need -- some of the forbidden fruit, as we call them."
"In Iraqi areas we were able to pinpoint four 'meat markets' -- sadly, that's what they're called. We were able to pinpoint four different markets, some of them in homes -- it's not like a supermarket, it's like in homes or whatever."
"And through the tribes' underground [networks], we were able to communicate with some of the people controlling these markets. We don't give money because that's the last thing you want to happen, but we give a material that they need in one way or another."
"Many of these guys, the tribes we are dealing with that join [ISIL] and so forth, they like their alcohol, they like their hashish, they like all of this, even though it is a forbidden fruit and because it is forbidden fruit it's very valuable in these areas."
"I have no regrets about it. I am saving these girls and I will continue to save these girls whatever the cost."
Majed El Shafie, Egyptian-Canadian, lawyer, founder One Free World International, Toronto
"We tried to run but when we were on the street we saw ISIL cars all around. [A Kurdish speaking Syrian ISIL fighter] told us, 'Until now I've saved 22 families and if I have an opportunity I will try to free you too."Mr. El Shafie has conceived of a rescue agency which he operates out of Toronto. The goal of One Free World International is to rescue Yazidi women and girls from ISIL slavery and to bring them as refugees to Canada. In the process he has created a network of ties with local Kurdish tribes, he explains, claiming that they have connections with smugglers and traders. Through in an interview he said he could not elaborate on the details. Emissaries connected to his rescue group act as traders or smugglers with their insider information in attempts to make rescue deals for the enslaved Yazidi women and girls.
"My only wish is to free the Yazidis women taken by [ISIL]. I can't live anymore in Iraq, I want someone to help me get out of this country."
Maha, Yazidi woman from Sinjar, now at Baharka camp for internally displaced people, Erbil, Iraq
In testimony he gave before the Canadian House of Commons immigration committee in the summer, he was questioned about bribery, which he explained can be a necessary tool to enable his group to reach success in rescuing Yazidis held captive as slaves. He had been criticized about the methodology he used. He has himself committed to a number of expeditions to both Iraq and Syria in aid of facilitating Yazidi rescues from ISIL, of moving them to safe areas such as the United Nations refugee camps. His further goal is to move as many Yazidi families as possible to Canada.
So that when, last month the Canadian House of Commons voted unanimously to bring Yazidi refugees to Canada to help them start a new life without persecution and fear of violence in a country that would offer them haven and equality a bureaucratic obstacle was overcome, one that held that such Yazidi families did not qualify as refugees since they remained in their home country, despite their desperate and obvious plight.
John Moore/Getty Images A former Yazidi resident walks through the rubble of his neighbourhood on Nov. 15, 2015 in Sinjar, Iraq.
A horrendous plight more than obvious given the tearful and horrifying testimony of Yazidi women who have escaped, like Marah, a mother of five, and Maha, another young woman with multiple young children, both pregnant when caught by ISIL, and both repeatedly raped, abused, sold as sex slaves, and yet managing to escape the confines of their prisons, ending up as many such Yazidis do either slaughtered by Islamic State or captured as slaves, finally finding protection among the Kurds who accept them as relatives.
Marah's initial, unsuccessful escape was rewarded by Islamic State fighters who had imprisoned and abused her, by the poisoning of four of her children as due punishment and as an atrociously inhumane warning to other sex slaves not to attempt escape. Maha's good fortune led her to the attention of an ISIL fighter who obviously was anything but proud of his colleagues' penchant for rape and sexual slavery. What the two women and their remaining children hope desperately for is to find a way to escape the countries that have destroyed their homes, their families, their hopes.
"Abu Sa’id al-Khudri said: The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain. They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Qur’anic verse: “And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess.” That is to say, they are lawful for them when they complete their waiting period."