Inside ISIS: Fighters Promised '72 Eternal Virgins in Heaven' While Christian Women Raped as Husbands Beheaded, Says Ex-Member
An ex-ISIS member, who lived and worked with the militant Islamic terror group in Syria, gave a gory and seedy glimpse inside the group's operation highlighting the brutal rape of Christian women after their husbands are beheaded and a promise of "72 eternal virgins in heaven" to fighters.
Speaking under the pseudonym Sherko Omer, the ex-ISIS member told yourmiddleeast.com in a report Friday that members of the terror group are promised eternal virgins and are allowed to have sex with non-Muslim women, even if they are married. Christian women, he explained, were sexually assaulted after their husbands were beheaded during the time he was with the group.
"We were promised women in heaven and on earth, too, based on IS jihadist teaching of the verses of some Suras of the holy book of Quran and hadiths by prophet Muhammad, all of which were explained through the Tafsir (explanation) by Islamic scholars like Ibn Majah, Bukhari and Ibn Kathir. We were told all non-Muslim women prisoners will be our wives and God wills it," said Omer.
"In Islamic holy war you cannot kill enemy women and children under any circumstances, they can only be taken as prisoners. It is permissible to have sexual intercourse with the captive women even if jihadists are married," he said.
"You can buy and sell these women, but for the children you have to raise them as home workers or teach them to become jihadists," he continued before noting that some Muslim women gave up their bodies in sacrificial sex.
"There are Muslim women who willingly offer their bodies for IS jihadists and this is called 'sex for jihad.' They, too, will be compensated in heaven, according to IS. However, these women were mostly with the commanders. I did not see average jihadist fighters with these Muslim women," he said.
Omer, who said he had intended to join the Syrian opposition when he left his Iraqi Kurdistan hometown last October, said he did not participate in any of the assaults on the women because he was a communication technician who was not involved with fighting.
"They believe it is permissible to sleep with women prisoners even against their will if they are infidels, non-Muslims and apostate women. This happened to Christian women in Al-Raqqa after their husbands were publically beheaded and I witnessed it. Now it is happening to Kurdish Yezidi women of Sinjar in Iraqi Kurdistan," he said. "We were told that, as martyrs, we would have 72 eternal virgins in heaven and we can save dozens of our close relatives from hell too."
He also explained that foreigners joining the group are seen as the most expendable because they lack the general skills and know-how to be effective fighters.
"I saw many foreign recruits who were put in the suicide squads, not because they were 'great and God wanted it' as IS commanders praised them in front of us, but basically because they were useless for IS, they spoke no Arabic, they weren't good fighters and had no professional skills," said Omer.
"They were brainwashed into the 'women in heaven' and those they could rape on earth before they eventually killed themselves. I am alive partly thanks to my qualifications," he said.
"You have to remember that IS has been portrayed as an organization of gangs only, although this is evident what they do, but the political leadership pay unbelievable attention to education and educated recruits. But at the end of the day, good moral values are based on the way education and intelligence are being used," he explained.
Omer recalled an incident when he tried to save a young Christian girl from being raped and almost lost his life for it.
"I was once told to go to a house to test some equipment to see if they can be useful for the technical and communication bureau. Once inside I realized it was a Christian home," he said.
"I saw six jihadists demanding that a Christian woman and her daughter become their wives. The daughter was about 12 or 13 years old. I told the jihadists forcing women is forbidden in Islam and children can't be touched under any circumstances. They loaded their guns in my face and told me to leave," he explained.
"I immediately left to the local court that was based in a small house, but the judge was worse, he said I was wrong because 13-year-old girl is not considered a child, essentially because Prophet Muhammad married his wife, Aisha, when she was only 9 years old. He accused me of having poor faith in the practices of Prophet Muhammad for which I could have been detained and possibly punished with tough sentences, but my field commander soon arrived and saved me," he said.
Omer explained that what he witnessed in Al-Raqqa made him realize he had to leave the group.
"I wanted to leave first week into my post in Al-Raqqa but I was a coward, scared of getting beheaded and did not know my way out. Unlike at the camp, IS jihadists acted as God in Al-Raqqa. They were rude, arrested and killed anybody for no real reason," he said.
He said he found the courage to attempt an escape after seeing a Kurdish fighter beheaded.
"I decided to risk my life to escape after I witnessed a wounded captured Kurdish YPG fighter publically beheaded. He was about my age, but unlike me he was extremely brave," said Omer.
"He spat on every jihadist around him. He shouted slogans about Kurdish freedom and Abdullah Ocalan. I had never seen anyone so brave in my life. His fingers were cut yet he shouted insults against the jihadists. He was finally beheaded from behind to suffer and salt was put on his half-cult neck to die in agony, but he did not give up until he painfully died," he said.
"I felt very sick afterward and did not sleep for a week thinking I am either going to run away or kill myself; but thank God the chance came soon afterward in the city of Serekaniye," he said.
In February, Omer said he was sent to fix some radios in Serekaniye when Kurdish fighters raided the ISIS camp.
"I fixed all the faulty equipment after I arrived in Serekaniye, but then they asked me to intercept and interpret YPG radio communications. YPG members spoke Kurmanji Kurdish and I spoke Sorani Kurdish, but I could've tried harder to accurately intercept and interpret YPG radios and track their next moves, but when I heard female fighters speaking in Kurdish over the radio I just couldn't do it," he said
"Nearly a week passed at the base and it was the YPG that attacked our campsite. I was lucky because I was at the last outpost faraway when YPG first attacked and I immediately surrendered after YPG sniper killed the two jihadists beside me," he said.
"I shouted in Kurdish, they told me to go closer and get naked and after it was clear that I had no suicide belt, they accepted my surrender. It is true that I have physically escaped now, thanks to God and thanks to the YPG, but Al-Raqqa is mentally haunting me now because what I have witnessed is just pure horror," he ended.