Sunni radicals with the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant have created the al-Khansaa’ Brigade, an all-female unit that exists to impose on Sharia law on Iraqi and Syrian women.
“We have established the brigade to raise awareness of our religion among women, and to punish women who do not abide by the law,” said Abu Ahmad, an ISIL official in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, news website Worldcrunch reported.
The armed women have reportedly detained and whipped individuals for wearing veils that are too thin, wearing hair clips under veils, walking alone and exposing too much of their face, a local activist named Abu al-Hamza told the news organization Syria Deeply.
A Syrian teen who asked to be referred to as Zainab told Syria Deeply, “I was walking down the street when a car suddenly stopped and a group of armed women got out. They insulted me and yelled at me. They took me to one of their centers and kept me locked in a room.
“Nobody talked to me or told me the reason for my detention,” she said. “One of the women in the brigade came over, pointing her firearm at me. She then tested my knowledge of prayer, fasting and hijab.”
The teen said she was released after two hours and threatened with harsh punishment if she was detained again.
In recent months ISIL has also taken over large swathes of Iraq, including its second-largest city, Mosul. Multiple media outlets reported that Iraq’s Christians have also been forced out of the city after facing an ultimatum: convert to Islam or die.
“This is ethnic cleansing but nobody is speaking up,” said Yonadam Kanna, Iraq’s most prominent Christian politician, according to Agence France-Presse.