Islamic State (ISIS) radicals have hit a new low: they are offering captured female sex slaves as a prize in a contest to mark the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Details of the memorization contest spread via social media Wednesday, reported Fox News.
The contests will be held in various ISIS-controlled mosques across Syria, the news outlet reported. The prizes for memorizing selected passages from the Muslim holy book include cash in Syrian currency valued at less than $500 US, and young girls as sex slaves, or sibya, to the top three winners. Two independent media monitoring agencies, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and the Clarion Project, exposed the contest details.
According to MEMRI, a Twitter announcement “begins with congratulations to ISIS soldiers and departments in the province upon the beginning of the month of Ramadan. It then announces the upcoming Koran memorization competition, at which it says participants will be tested and given prizes accordingly.”
Ryan Mauro, national security analyst with the Clarion Project, explained that the contest is designed to bolster ISIS’s legitimacy in Muslim eyes. “By showcasing its slavery, ISIS is boasting that it practices Islam in its most literal interpretation, doesn’t capitulate to public opinion and rejects modern interpretations,” Mauro said. “It is also showing it has a functional Islamic educational system and therefore is a real caliphate.”
The particular passages chosen for memorization in the contest include “some of the most warlike passages in the entire Koran.”
Contestants were told to appear at “Mosques of Abu Bakr el-Sadiq, The Mosque of Osama Bin Laden, The Mosque of Abu Musab el-Zarqawi or The Mosque of el-Taqwa” to participate. The announcement concluded, “We ask the great lord to make your life easier and to grant you with what he loves and what pleases him.”
Circumstances for women under ISIS rule are dire indeed. According to Valerie Amos, the UN’s under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, girls as young as 12 are being enslaved and sexually abused. She noted women and girls being sold as sex slaves in the marketplace or kept for the use of soldiers. She called these actions war crimes, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Meanwhile, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported in 2014 that 300 Yazidi girls and women captured in Iraq were forced to convert to Islam and sold to ISIS jihadists in Syria for $1,000.