While American law gives us the right to bear arms, Sharia law strips women of the freedom of bare arms, legs, and hair. The all-female ISIS police force known as the “al-Kahnsa brigade” enforces these strict modesty rules and this week gained national attention when they murdered a breastfeeding mother.
Since Sharia Law forbids men from punishing women, they created the all-women police force al-Kahnsa to do it for them. Stories of al-Kahnsa’s brutality first hit the news in 2014. More stories have surfaced as civilians flee areas under ISIS control. Most women in the brigade are foreigners, young wives of immigrants from Moroccan, Tunisian, British, and French nationalities.
The mother in question was caught breastfeeding her baby in Raqqa, Syria. According to the brigade, the woman’s actions violated “public purity.” The mother was mutilated and then murdered.
“An [ISIS] policewoman took the baby, gave it to another woman, and then killed the mother,” explains an onlooker.
Enforcement is particularly strict in Raqqa, the city that has been declared capital of the ISIS caliphate. Dress code violations are common. Even colored sequins and fake diamonds are forbidden. Women must be clad entirely in black.
Earlier this year, members of al-Kahnsa in Mosul punished 15 Iraqi women who were caught with unveiled faces by dousing them with acid. The disfigurement is permanent. A couple more chilling examples of al-Kahnsa brutality:
“I once saw a woman at a market and she lifted her niqab [face veil] to inspect the vegetables,” says Salih, age 77. “An ISIS policewoman saw her and beat her. She was bleeding so badly that she died on the way to the hospital.”
The brigade is known for torturing women with a pronged device known as a “biter” that is clamped onto the breasts. A woman named Batol explains her experience: “I was in the market buying a few items when the Khansa battalion came and arrested me on the grounds that the niqab which I was wearing does not meet Sharia requirement because it was transparent.”
She was taken to the force’s headquarters and asked to choose a torture device. Batol chose the biter because she had never heard of it. “…they brought a sharp object that has a lot of teeth and held me, placing it on my chest and pressing it strongly. I screamed from pain and I was badly injured…I felt then that my femininity has been destroyed completely…I was not the only one that was tortured with this instrument, there were a lot of women in the headquarters and their situation was tragic.”