Crime

The story of Rita - Life under ISIS for Christians in Iraq

Iraq

Christians were seen as an undesirable element of the totalitarian society that ISIS was attempting to build, leading to devastating consequences for them.

ISIS rule in Syria and Iraq meant murder, repression and slavery to the Christians of both countries. Christians, like other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq were prominent targets for ISIS as they did not fit into the warped vision that the terrorist group had for their totalitarian society and political structure.

One Christian woman tells of her experience living as a slave for ISIS. She recalls how ISIS militants would use a Whatsapp group to share images of women to other members of the terrorist group and would then negotiate on prices for them.

There are several similar stories of Christian girls and women being abducted by ISIS militants and forced into slavery. Many of these girls have now been returned to their families or are being looked after by humanitarian organisations.

The Shlomo Organisation for Documentation has been set up to rescue Christian women who were abducted and held captive by ISIS militants. The organisation also monitors and documents violations of rights committed against Christians in Iraq and submits these documents to the local municipalities, national authorities, and international organiations for investigation. They aim to protect victims of these crimes, hold the perpetrators accountable, and prevent the recurrence of these violations.

The presence of Christians in Iraq has been waning for a number of decades, but the emergence of ISIS has accelerated the pace at which Christians have been leaving the country. They find themselves in a precarious situation as they feel a lack of security, as violence against Christians in the country continues. Some Christians leaders have gone as far as to say that Christians are “the most targeted and most vulnerable” minority in the region. Others have even expressed a fear of the potential for there to be a new ISIS due to the survival and spread of extremist ideas in Iraqi society.

Image: Al Jazeera