The Islamic State policing unit in Mosul severely disfigured the faces of 15 Iraqi women by pouring acid on them as a form of punishment after the women were caught without their faces being veiled appropriately, by ISIS standards, last weekend.
ISIS' all-female policing unit, the Al Khansa brigade, which polices the streets of the group's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa and Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, reportedly carried out the punishments after the women were detained on Sunday in the Mosul neighborhood of Salamiya, a kurdish official told BasNews.
The official from the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Mosul, Saed Mamuzini, told the news site that the women were subject to the cruel, face-deforming punishment simply because they were caught in public without wearing a Niqab, the cloth like veil that fully covers the face except for slit for the eyes.
"They have implemented this punishment so that other women in the city will never consider removing or not wearing the niqab," Mamuzini said.
ISIS issued a clear warning in July that women in the city of Mosul caught without wearing a full face veil would be severely punished, The Jerusalem Post reported. The group reasoned that such a restriction would protect women and religion from debauchery.
"This is not a restriction on freedom but to prevent her from falling into humiliation and vulgarity or to be a theater for the eyes of those who are looking," The Islamic State said in its warning statement. "Anyone who is not committed to this duty and is motivated by glamour will be subject to the accountability and severe punishment to protect society from harm and to maintain the necessities or religion and protect it from debauchery."
Al Khansa Brigade has previously punished women caught without the appropriate attire with other forms of cruel torture. Last December, Al Khansa officers in Raqqa arrested a woman after she was found breastfeeding in public and claimed she had to be punished because her naqib didn't meet ISIS standards. To punish her, the militants took her to the group's Raqqa headquarters and placed her breast in a medieval-like spike-clamp torture device, called a "biter."
"I felt then that my femininity has been destroyed completely, we no longer afford to live this way," the woman named Batol told the monitoring group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. "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."
Although pouring acid on women and permanently disfiguring their faces might seem like the type of brutality that is exclusive to ISIS, acid attacks are quite common occurrences in nations with strict Muslim societies like Pakistan.
"The Qur'an directs men to beat women from whom they 'fear disobedience.' We have seen women who don't abide by Sharia restrictions disfigured with acid in Pakistan and elsewhere," writes renowned critic of Islam Robert Spencer, the founder of the Jihad Watch website. "This is just one more manifestation of the empire of fear that Sharia creates: virtue is enforced by terror, which means that it isn't really virtue at all."
Although it is quite common for women in Pakistan to be tortured for allegedly breaking Sharia law, women have also been subjected to acid attacks just because they are in disagreement with their husband or other males.
One example occurred in November when a man in Lahore, with the help of his father, beat his wife and then proceeded to pour acid down her throat over trivial domestic issues.
In September, a 16-year-old girl was attacked with acid after her family rejected a man's request to marry her. Doctors said she lost 95 percent of her vision.