Category Archives: Islamic State (ISIS)

The silent grief of the Yezidi women

Publication: MO* (also translated in Dutch and French).

Over the past year thousands of Jezidi women were made a slave and raped by Islamic State (IS) fighters. Some of them got away. They returned to Northern Iraq: ill, broken and severely traumatised.

The temperature is over 30 degrees, but Aniya is shivering. Now and then she wipes the sticky sweat off her forehead with her black headscarf or firmly rubs her hands. ‘He raped me’, she says at the beginning of the conversation, Continue reading The silent grief of the Yezidi women

Terrorists turn month of peace into time for war

Publication: Al-Monitor, July 14, 2015

For most Muslims around the world, the month of Ramadan marks a period of fasting, abstinence and contemplation. Besides a month for spirituality and reflection, Ramadan is also a month in which extra attention is paid to tolerance, generosity, charity and solidarity.

For some, however, the concept of “holy month” also carries a more violent meaning. Extremist groups such as the Islamic State (IS)— but also groups such as the Taliban and al-Qaeda — perceive Ramadan to be a month of jihad and martyrdom, Continue reading Terrorists turn month of peace into time for war

After mass rape by the Islamic State, Yazidi women still struggle to break the silence

Publication: Al-Monitor

DAHUK, Iraq — The first man Aniya was forced to marry was an Islamic State militant called Abu Safouan. She was 41 and he was 22, but still he bought her and her 3-year-old daughter at a slave market in Raqqa. After he had raped and abused Aniya for 20 days, he told her he was fed up with her and sold her to a 27-year-old man who called himself Abu Ali Sham.

“He used to rape me when my daughter was outside the room. She often screamed and cried, because she knew something was wrong, Continue reading After mass rape by the Islamic State, Yazidi women still struggle to break the silence

Kurdish fighters struggle to pay bills

Publication: Al-Monitor

ERBIL, Iraq — When Hemin Zangana was sent to the front line in August 2014, he and his fellow peshmerga fighters were determined to recapture the Mosul Dam from the Islamic State. They told each other they would rather die during this important mission than accept the fact that IS was in full control after Kurdish forces partially retreated from the area. For several nights, Zangana wasn’t able to sleep properly.

“The peshmerga were weak, too weak. It was the hardest battle I had ever experienced. Yet we were convinced we had what it took to defeat IS,” he told Al-Monitor. Continue reading Kurdish fighters struggle to pay bills

Iraqi children traumatized by IS violence

PHOTO: Brenda Stoter
PHOTO: Brenda Stoter

Publication: Al-Monitor

ERBIL, Iraq — Mohammed was 5 years old when August 16, 2015his little brother was shot dead before his eyes. This happened in June 2014 when Islamic State (IS) militants stormed the city of Mosul and took over large parts of northern Iraq.

“IS terrorists shot my child because I was a soldier in the Iraqi army,” Mohammed’s father, a skinny man with deep lines in his face Continue reading Iraqi children traumatized by IS violence

Radicalized Western mothers lead children into Islamic State

Publication: Al-Monitor

AMSTERDAM — For Aysha and Luca Opdam’s father, it is still hard to accept that his children, born and raised in the Netherlands, are now living in Syria. In a letter, he describes how his ex-wife radicalized after she devoted her life to Islam around six years ago. After it was made public that Aysha, 7, and Luca, 8, were taken by their mother to join the Islamic State (IS), the letter was published by a local newspaper.

“If my kids — if I ever get them again — become Muslims that would be fine by me. But only at an age when they are able to make their own choices with full awareness,” he wrote on March 22. Continue reading Radicalized Western mothers lead children into Islamic State

Iraqi Christians find safe haven in Jordan’s churches

Publication; Al-Monitor

AMMAN, Jordan — His teenage daughter being married to an Islamic State (IS) fighter, his wife being forced to convert to Islam and his sons being trained by militants in the Islamic State’s children’s training camps.

“We got a call that ‘Daesh’ (the Arabic acronym for IS) was coming. In just a few hours, all Christians in our village decided to flee. People even forgot to take their passports. It was a huge mess,’’ Nadjm, 43, recalls. He and his family members stayed in the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) region in northern Iraq for a few months. Continue reading Iraqi Christians find safe haven in Jordan’s churches

‘Christenen zijn nergens meer veilig’

Publicatie: De Tijd

AMMAN- Door de opmars van Islamitische Staat vluchten christenen massaal uit Irak. In de Jordaanse hoofdstad Amman worden ze in kerken opgevangen, maar ook daar willen ze weg. ‘Er is geen plek meer voor ons in het Midden-Oosten.’
Zijn tienerdochter die moet trouwen met een IS-strijder, zijn vrouw die gedwongen wordt zich te bekeren tot de islam of zijn zoons die in de beruchte kindertrainingskampen terechtkomen. Het zijn slechts enkele beelden die door Najms hoofd schoten toen hij in augustus in een sneltreinvaart vanuit de omgeving van Mosul naar Noord-Irak reed. Kleding, foto’s en andere persoonlijke bezittingen werden Continue reading ‘Christenen zijn nergens meer veilig’

Deel 1: Vrouwen in het kalifaat ‘Mama, ik ga’

Publicatie: De Groene Amsterdammer

Naar schatting 35 tot 50 jonge Nederlandse vrouwen zijn vertrokken naar het kalifaat van Islamitische Staat. Moeder Monique vond vorige week dochter Aïcha terug aan de Turks-Syrische grens. ‘Ik had niet verwacht dat ze nog zou leven.’ 

MONIQUE LEEFDE maanden op sigaretten en koffie. Slapen lukte amper, hooguit een paar uur per nacht. En als ze eenmaal sliep, hoorde ze haar roepen: ‘Mama, doe eens open.’ Maar haar negentienjarige dochter Aïcha (de naam die ze na haar bekering aannam) stond nooit voor de deur. Die woonde in Raqqa of Al Bab, Syrische steden die overgenomen zijn door islamitische militanten. Tenminste, dat vermoedde Monique, want van de ene op de andere dag werd Aïcha’s telefoon niet meer beantwoord en bleven de dagelijkse updates op Facebook achterwege. Continue reading Deel 1: Vrouwen in het kalifaat ‘Mama, ik ga’

European women convert, join IS

Publication: Al Monitor

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Vanessa, 19, was always a rebellious and spontaneous teen. Someone who liked being the center of attention and didn’t let anybody tell her what to do. After she became a teenager, she was always hanging around “tough boys” from school. They made her feel protected and safe. And just like other teens, she had boyfriends: Some were really nice, but others treated her badly.

“And when she had a nice boyfriend, she started calling him constantly, testing his limits. On the one hand she denounced rules. Continue reading European women convert, join IS

Het leven zoals het is: Islamitische Staat

Publicatie: De Tijd

Zweepslagen als vrouwen hun niqaab niet goed dragen, kinderen die geleerd worden poppen te onthoofden, nooit meer poëzie of kunst op school. Dit is het leven onder Islamitische Staat.

Wie een indruk wil krijgen van hoe Islamitische Staat (IS) zijn staat in Syrië en Irak inricht, kan Raqqa – in het noorden van Syrië – als voorbeeld nemen. Sinds strijders van de terreurgroep de hoofdstad van het zelfuitgeroepen kalifaat in juni 2013 overnamen, zijn er islamitische rechtbanken, een shariapolitie (hisbah) en een islamitische politie. ‘De sharia-agenten letten op kleine Continue reading Het leven zoals het is: Islamitische Staat

La vraie vie dans l’État islamique

Publication: “L’Echo”

Têtes tranchées exposées sur la place publique, femmes fouettées parce qu’elles ne portent pas le niqab selon les règles, enfants qui s’entraînent à décapiter la tête de leurs poupées, et dans les écoles, suppression de toute référence à la poésie et à l’art. C’est le quotidien des habitants de l’État islamique.

La ville de Raqqa, conquise en juin 2013 par les combattants du groupe terroriste et capitale du califat autoproclamé, est la meilleure illustration de la manière dont l’État islamique (EI) met en place sa structure étatique en Syrie et en Irak. Continue reading La vraie vie dans l’État islamique

European women in the caliphate

Publication; Middle East Eye

Young European Muslim women who feel there is no place for them in society seek to find a world they relate to in IS-controlled areas in Syria.

“Dear daughter, where are you? My heart is aching because I don’t know where you are. Please, if you read this, let me know if you are OK. I love you. Xxx mama.’’

It is one of the countless messages that Anna Smit – not her real name – sent to her daughter. The last time she spoke with Aisha was six months ago during a telephone conversation in late March. The 18-year old Dutch Muslim told her mom that she was happy with her newlywed husband in Idlib, Syria, but that she really missed her. The connection was bad and there was a lot of noise in the background Continue reading European women in the caliphate

Ook Jordanië vreest opmars ISIS

Publicatie: De Tijd

AMMAN- De Jordaniërs houden hun hart vast. De extremistische groepering ISIS rukt steeds verder op in het buurland Irak en ook in Jordanië kan ze op steeds meer steun rekenen. De regering in Amman laat de grenzen strenger bewaken.

In Maan, een stad in het zuiden van Jordanië, verzamelen na het vrijdaggebed ruim 200 ISIS-supporters. De zwarte vlaggen van de beweging wapperen in de handen van de demonstranten, die uitbundig de overwinningen van de terreurgroep in Irak vieren. ‘Vandaag Irak en morgen het kalifaat’, schreeuwen Continue reading Ook Jordanië vreest opmars ISIS

De Belgische vrouwen van de ISIS-strijders

Publicatie: De Tijd

De strijd van de radicale ISIS- rebellen in Syrië en Irak trekt ook Belgische en Nederlandse vrouwen aan. Vechten doen ze niet, wel het huishouden. Scènes met kalasjnikovs naast de pot choco delen ze op Facebook. En ze proberen hun lotgenoten in het Westen te overhalen om hen te vervoegen.

‘In Syrië zijn er meer vrouwen nodig om voor de strijdende mannen en kinderen te zorgen’, schrijft de Belgische jihadiste Umm Haniefa in een oproep op Facebook. Jong of oud, kinderen of niet, gescheiden of weduwe, dat maakt allemaal niets uit. Continue reading De Belgische vrouwen van de ISIS-strijders