A recent post on Facebook has revealed that ISIS fighters are utilizing the social media network to sell sex slaves.
On May 20, an Islamic State fighter calling himself Abu Assad Almani posted a photo of a Yazidi woman, approximately 18 years old, with a caption saying, “To all the bros thinking about buying a slave, this one is $8,000.” A few hours later, he posted another picture of a different woman with the caption, “Another sabiyah [slave], also about $8,000. Yay, or nay?”
His posts sparked controversy, but not for the reason one might expect.
Ruptly reported that a very heated conversation erupted between Almani and several commenters who criticized what they deemed a very high asking price. Asked one man about the woman in the second photo: “What makes her worth that price? Does she have an exceptional skill?” Almani replied saying, “No, supply and demand makes her that price.”
Money wasn’t the only reason for the post’s backlash. Some of Almani’s correspondents apparently mocked the girls’ appearances while others chastised the ISIS member for showing images of women who were not wearing a veil, a basic tenet of Islamic feminine modesty laws.
According to Steven Stalinsky, the executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a nonprofit organization that monitors jihadists’ social media accounts, Almani is thought to be a German national fighting for the Islamic State in Syria due to several previous posts in which his English is similar to that used by many European ISIS fighters who can’t speak Arabic.
Furthermore, MEMRI believes early postings by Almani suggest the German is intimately familiar with the Islamic State’s activities around Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital in Syria, The Washington Post divulged. He also apparently uses his social media account regularly to solicit donations for the terrorist group.
Although Facebook removed the images within hours of their appearance, according to The Washington Post, the message they insinuated aren’t as easily forgotten: that of encouraging and aiding in the growing trend of sex slave trade.
While this isn’t the first time ISIS militants have utilized social media to promulgate their radical agenda and deplorable treatment of women, The Washington Post reported that this is the only known instance that the group has circulated photos of slaves for sale.
ISIS’s latest worrisome activities are anything but surprising. In the past couple of years, the Islamic State’s theology of victimizing women, most of whom are Yazidi, made headlines worldwide as the group has carried out such deplorable actions as publishing a slave price list, murdering 19 unwilling participants, offering sex slaves as a contest prize, and even bartering among themselves a proper price for the best ‘catch’.
Not wanting to act in any way that would violate their devotion to Islam, ISIS militants released a fatwa (a religious ruling) in December detailing how and when slave owners are permitted to ‘benefit’ from their women. The fatwa attempted to ratify radical Islamic teachings by justifying the rape of women, and even, sometimes, children.
The Islamic State’s practice of abducting girls and forcing them into the slave market has driven many women to take their own lives rather than submit themselves to slavery.