A new issue of Dabiq was released today (#9, They Plot and Allah Plots), which contains another article justifying the practice of slavery against enemies. (Thousands of Yazidi women were kidnapped and enslaved as concubines when IS attacked Sinjar in Northern Iraq, in August 2014. See: 1, 2, 3. A previous issue of Dabiq presented IS’ first public justification for the practice; see this post.) Scores of survivors have described how Yazidi women (including prepubescent girls) are subjected to continual rape by the jihadists who took them captive, and are sold or exchanged among multiple men. This new article seeks to present IS’ response to the world’s discussion of this atrocity.
The article (entitled “Slave-Girls or Prostitutes?”) is purportedly written by a female author, contains religious justifications for the enslavement of Yazidis, and is designed to inflame the anger and sorrow of the reader through provocative language. Some excerpts follow.
The article presents IS’ assertion that it is religiously permissible to take slaves of women whose husbands were enemies:
… The right hand’s possession (mulk al-yamīn) are the female captives who were separated from their husbands by enslavement. They became lawful for the one who ends up possessing them even without pronouncement of divorce by their harbī husbands.
Sa’īd Ibn Jubayr reported that Ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) said, “Approaching any married woman is fornication, except for a woman who has been enslaved” [Al-Hākim narrated it and said, “It is an authentic hadīth according to the criteria of al-Bukhārī and Muslim”].
Saby (taking slaves through war) is a great prophetic Sunnah containing many divine wisdoms and religious benefits, regardless of whether or not the people are aware of this. The Sīrah is a witness to our Prophet’s (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) raiding of the kuffār. He would kill their men and enslave their children and women. The raids of the beloved Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) convey this to us. Ask the tribes of Banī al-Mustaliq, Banī Quraydhah, and Hawāzin about this.
… The Sahābah and their followers in goodness treaded upon the path of the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) after him. Therefore, we almost cannot find a companion who didn’t practice saby. ‘Alī Ibn AbīTālib (radiyallāhu ‘anh) had nineteen slave-girls.
After all this, the ramblers dare to extend their tongues with false rumors and accusations so as to disfigure the great shar’ī ruling and pure prophetic Sunnah titled “saby”? After all this, saby becomes fornication and tasarrī (taking a slave-girl as a concubine) becomes rape? If only we’d heard these falsehoods from the kuffār who are ignorant of our religion. Instead we hear it from those associated with our Ummah, those whose names are Muhammad, Ibrāhīm, and ‘Alī! So I say in astonishment: Are our people awake or asleep? But what really alarmed me was that some of the Islamic State supporters (may Allah forgive them) rushed to defend the Islamic State – may its honor persist and may Allah expand its territory
– after the kāfir media touched upon the State’s capture of the Yazīdī women. So the supporters started denying the matter as if the soldiers of the Khilāfah had committed a mistake or evil.
… I write this while the letters drip of pride. Yes, O religions of kufr altogether, we have indeed raided and captured the kāfirah women, and drove them like sheep by the edge of the sword. And glory belongs to Allah, to His Messenger, and thebelievers, but the hypocrites do not know!
… Therefore, I further increase the spiteful ones in anger by saying that I and those with me at home prostrated to Allah in gratitude on the day the first slave-girl entered our home. Yes, we thanked our Lord for having let us live to the day we saw kufr humiliated and its banner destroyed. Here we are today, and after centuries, reviving a prophetic Sunnah, which both the Arab and non-Arabenemies of Allah had buried.
… some slave-girls in our State are now pregnant and some of them have even been set free for Allah’s sake and got married in the courts of the Islamic State after becoming Muslims and practicing Islam well.
… Rather, let me add to the heartache of the spiteful. Indeed, from the slave-girls are those that after saby turned into hard-working, diligent seekers of knowledge after she found in Islam what she couldn’t find in kufr, despite the slogans of “freedom” and “equality.” Indeed it is our pure Islam, which upraises every lowly-one and puts anend to every deficiency.
The author claims that Yazidi women are not forced to convert to Islam, while ignoring the fact that Yazidi men in IS captivity (to the best of our knowledge) are able to remain alive only by converting:
Yes, this is our – as they allege – “savage” Islam, ordering us with kindness even towards slaves. This is demanded even if they were to remain upon their kufr. And I swear by Allah, I haven’t heard of nor seen anyone in the Islamic State who coerced his slave-girl to accept Islam. On the contrary, I saw all of those who accepted Islam had done so voluntarily, not against their will.
The author then tries to justify enslavement by making a comparison with prostitution in other countries:
Are slave-girls whom we took by Allah’s command better, or prostitutes – an evil you do not denounce – who are grabbed by quasi men in the lands of kufr where you live? A prostitute in your lands comes and goes, openly committing sin. She lives by selling her honor, within the sight and hearing of the deviant scholars from whom we don’t hear even a faint sound. As for the slave-girl that was taken by the swords of men following the cheerful warrior (Muhammad – sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), then her enslavement is in opposition to human rights and copulation with her is rape?! What is wrong with you? How do you make such a judgment? What is your religion? What is your law?
In a further attempt at provocation, the prospect of Michelle Obama being sold at a slave market is suggested:
And who knows, maybe Michelle Obama’s price won’t even exceed a third of a dīnār, and a third of a dīnār is too much for her!
The post New Dabiq Issue Reiterates Justifications for Yazidi Enslavement appeared first on Syria Comment.
The Alawi Community and the Syria Crisis
by Fabriche Balanche – original post here
“Alawis to the grave and Christians to Beirut!” This troubling slogan was chanted during demonstrations against the Assad regime in spring 2011, and exactly who was behind the chanting remains a controversial question. The Syrian opposition claimed that the slogan’s authors were members of the intelligence services who had infiltrated the demonstrations. According to this view, Syrian government agents were seeking to portray the opposition as primarily motivated by sectarianism and dominated by Salafis in order to frighten minorities and those wishing to live in a secular Syria.
It is still unclear whether the menacing anti-Alawi chants were the result of meddling by the intelligence services or the expression of sentiments held by a part of the Syrian opposition. But it is indisputable that Syria has since been gripped by a civil war between Sunnis and Alawis, and that other minorities have become collateral victims. Syria’s descent into intercommunal conflict has resembled the Lebanese civil war and, more recently, the ethno-sectarian fragmentation of Iraq. Sunni fundamentalists who dominate the military opposition in Syria consider the Alawis heretics unfit to live in dar al-Islam (the abode of Islam), let alone to rule the country.
… Alawis were officially recognized as Muslims thanks to a fatwa issued by the mufti of Palestine, Imam Haj Amin al-Husseini, in July 1936. In 1973, due to the pressure exerted by Syrian President Hafez al-Assad on Musa al-Sadr—the Lebanese imam who founded the Amal movement—the Alawis were formally recognized as members of the Shi‘i community.
However, these two “certificates of Islamic-ness” did not convince some, including the Muslim Brotherhood, who killed many Alawis during the 1979-1982 uprising because of their religion. More recently, in his sermons on al-Wisal, a Saudi satellite channel, the Salafi Shaykh Adnan al-Arour has threatened to chop them up with a meat grinder. …
Changes in Minority-Majority Population Growth
The relative decline of the Syrian Alawi population since the 1980s is due to an accelerated demographic transition experienced by all minorities—Alawi, Christian, Druze, and Ismaili. In 2011, the non-Sunni population of Syria shrank to about 20 percent, compared to 30 percent in 1980. This is due largely to women’s improved access to education and their integration into professional life. Fifty years ago, when Alawis experienced higher poverty and illiteracy rates, their fertility rate was also high, but it fell sharply as access to education and administrative jobs increased. Moreover, the Alawis, unlike the Sunnis, are not compelled to have a male descendant. While the Alawi fertility rate has fallen, that of their Sunni counterparts remains above three children per woman, even in higher social classes. This demographic decline challenges the power relationships within Syrian society. Over time, for example, the proportion of Alawis in the army and the intelligence services decreased. At the time the civil war began, Sunni soldiers constituted a majority of the Syrian Army, though Alawis retained a disproportionate share of the posts held by senior officers. Since the beginning of the conflict, however, the composition of the army has changed, with Alawis the majority at all echelons. This is why it has been so difficult for the Syrian Army to defeat the insurgency and why the regime has had to depend heavily on the support of Hezbollah. Indeed, the Alawi community is unable to provide enough soldiers to fight against the numerous rebels coming from abroad and from the large Sunni population.
The Civil War’s Impact on the Alawi Community
The Alawis have privileged access to state employment thanks to their deep integration into the networks of Syrian power. Obvious discrimination in public sector hiring has caused frustration among Sunnis, but the fact that Alawis are generally more assured of getting jobs does not mean that they have a higher standard of living since government salaries are relatively low. Hafez al-Assad used the Alawi community to build his political system, but he did not seek to create prosperity for Alawis because he knew that their loyalty to the regime was mostly based on economic dependence.
An Alawi middle class emerged with the growth of the civil service, and over the past decade the freezing of public sector recruitment has affected the Alawi community less than any other because Alawis are protected by a system of political patronage. But the freeze has resulted in a high rate of unemployment among Alawi youth in the coastal region and has also had disastrous political consequences for Bashar al-Assad, because more than 80 percent of the Alawi community works for the state. In fact, since coming to power, Bashar has supported the Alawi community less than his father, calculating that it would feel obliged to support him anyway in order to maintain its privileges. Instead, he made it a priority to integrate the Sunni and Christian economic elites into his inner circle and share with them the benefits of economic liberalization.
The Alawi community has not always given its full support to the regime. In the 1980s, the main Marxist opposition movement, the Communist Action Party, attracted many young Alawis. In the ongoing revolution, large protests against the regime have not mobilized the Alawi community, but some Alawis have joined demonstrations, and the opposition includes many Alawi figures (such as Aref Dalila, an academic who spent 10 years in prison for his criticism of the government). However, in March 2011, when the demonstrations began in Baniyas, the majority of Alawis did not support the Sunni imams, who were asking for single-sex schools and the communitarian rebalancing of public employment “confiscated by the Alawis.”
Protests in the coastal region did not lead to an escalation of violence as occurred in Homs because the Sunni rebel enclaves were quickly contained by the army. The protests found fertile ground in Homs because Alawis represent a minority of the population in the city and the surrounding countryside. In spring 2011, the tension in Homs between the communities was palpable. Taxis refused to drive passengers from Sunni to Alawi areas, and clashes proliferated along the borders of these areas. Kidnappings and assassinations on religious grounds have also been reported. The Alawi neighborhoods have been targeted by snipers and mortars from Sunni rebel areas. Many observers have compared the ongoing violence in Homs with the disintegration of Beirut during the Lebanese civil war.
The conflict has forced hundreds of thousands of people to migrate, and many Alawi families have returned to their villages in the coastal mountain range. Fleeing Christian families have settled in the seaside resorts of Mashta al-Helu and Kafroun—near Tartus—though Christian men continue to work in Homs. The Alawis of Damascus have not left for the coast because most of them live far from the areas of insurgency (such as Douma) and from the military camps in the suburbs. But if the regime falls, the coastal region could become a haven for hundreds of thousands of Alawis fleeing Damascus and the purge of the army and the administration that is likely to follow—not unlike what the Sunnis in Iraq experienced after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
For centuries, the Alawis lived as prisoners in the coastal mountains and came out only to serve as labor for the landowners of Latakia, Tripoli, Homs, and Hama. The rise to power of Hafez al-Assad provided the community a chance for upward mobility. Even if the economic and political context has changed since the days of Ibn Taymiyya, the re-Islamization process within Syrian society raises concerns in the Alawi community, especially since the military opposition is dominated by ISIS and the Nusra Front.
If the Bashar al-Assad regime is ousted, the Alawis may choose a territorial partition. They could rebuild the former Alawi state created between 1920 and 1936 by France in the coastal region, though this time the external support would come from Russia and Iran. …
Read the full article at its original location here
The post The Alawi Community and the Syria Crisis – by Fabriche Balanche appeared first on Syria Comment.
Announcing the St Andrews Third Biennial Conference on Syria: “Moving Beyond the Stalemate,” 1-3 July in St. Andrews, Scotland. The international conference will bring together in one place the largest and most diverse concentration of scholars of Syria. It will feature papers by some 25 based on innovative and cutting edge research. The Roundtable discussions feature the biggest names in the field of Syrian studies, diplomacy and conflict resolution. Roundtable participants David Lesch, Steven Heydeman, Nir Rosen, Samir Aita, Michael Williams and Carsten Wieland have all been intimately involved in diplomacy, track II and conflict resolution projects regarding Syria. I William Zartman is the world’s most famous expert on conflict resolution in failed states. The workshops will give all conference attendees a chance to interact with these scholars and practitioners in debating the way forward in the Syrian crisis.
The conference aims at attracting scholars at all career levels, including post-graduate students, from a broad range of disciplines. Original research based on empirical data and/or new theoretical approaches are encouraged. Contributions by Syrian scholars are especially welcome. Papers may cover a variety of topics and are not confined to the following suggestions:
- The nature of the Syrian war: actors, identities and interests
- The Silent and Marginalized voices: Is there a “third force/way”?
- The Islamist opposition and the evolution of Syrian Islam amidst the conflict
- Regime survival
- State collapse, violence and the disappearance of borders: the rise of ISIS, sectarian transnationalism, and international intervention.
- The future of Syria: Is a diplomatic solution viable? Is an Iranian-Saudi détente over Syria possible? Is a power-sharing formula (or consociational democracy) possible?
The registration fee includes three nights accommodation, plus many meals, teas and coffee, etc. For details and registration please visit: http://syriaconfstandrews2015.co.uk
The post Conference Announcement—Syria: Moving Beyond the Stalemate appeared first on Syria Comment.