By Mark Ellis
After ISIS captured his city in Syria, one man thought life would be good, living in their self-proclaimed caliphate. But when he witnessed the mistreatment of female captives as sex slaves, he became disillusioned and fled.
“When they (ISIS) first came, things were very good,” Nizar* told the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism. “It really felt like Islam. We started going to the mosque. A sheikh would give lessons in the Qur’an.”
The sheikh taught him ISIS was in the right and there would be no injustice. Nizar and his wife thought they could go on with normal life.
He became a guard at the detention center for the “hisbah,” or religious police. Every day as many as 100 men were brought in for various infractions of sharia law, such as smoking or having a wife that lacked the proper covering.
“They were imprisoned, whipped and beaten. After two or three days they were released,” he noted.
There were also 475 women captives at the facility, including Yazidis and Iraqis — some the wives of Iraqi army soldiers.
“When I walked down the corridor, I was shocked looking at all these women,” Nizar recounted. “Some of the Yazidi girls would cry.”
“Why are you crying?” he called out.
“We have been separated from our children,” they replied. Some were young mothers who had their infants and toddlers stripped from them.