The objectification of women is found in many places, many cultures, but Islam must be called out for its blatant disregard for both women and intimacy, the latter being a gift of God to be cherished only within marriage.
For the past week, Khandhar Kaliph's hands have trembled whenever his phone has rung.
He nervously greeted his daughter, who had been kidnapped when the Islamic State (Isis) overran the Yazidi city of Sinjar. There was a minute of silence, before he broke down sobbing.
"She said she is going to be sold as a slave this afternoon, for $10," Kaliph said, his tears dropping into the brown dust. "What can a father say to that. How can I help? We all feel so useless."
Kaliph's daughter, who he did not want to name, had access to a group phone passed around between other girls imprisoned by the Islamic State in Bardoush prison in central Mosul.
All face the imminent prospect of being married off. Or worse, being used by the jihadis as a sex slave.
"The world needs to know that is where our women are, where they are being enslaved, young and old alike," he said, sitting in the dirt outside a building site near the Iraqi Kurdish city of Dohuk that he and some 70 other Yazidis are now using as shelter.
Lest this be thought yellow journalism, the facts have been confirmed at the highest level:
The U.S. has confirmed that the Islamic State group has kidnapped and imprisoned Yazidi women so that they can be sold or married off to extremist fighters, said a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information came from classified intelligence reports. There was no solid estimate of the number of women victimized, the official said.
This is not an invention of perverse soldiers, nor an aberration by those who misunderstand, but a staple of Islam instituted by Muhammed himself:
"O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those (slaves) whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee" (Q. 33:50);
"..who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess..." (Q. 23:5-6);
"And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess." A repetative verse, noting that even sex with married slaves is permissible (Q. 4:24);
"But (now) enjoy what ye took in war, lawful and good" [reference to war booty, of which slaves were a part, and their fate indicated that "Allah gave you mastery over them" (Q. 8:69, 71);
Bukhari's -- one of the four major commenters -- has compiled ahadith, which are considered authoritative interpretations of Islamic thought], and these give various accounts of the slaves taken by Muhammed's men after battle in which the husbands and fathers were killed. The women were subsequently raped and sold (for example Bukhari 62:137);
And this from the Reliance of the Traveller (source of Shari'a law):
According to Sharia, when a child or woman is taken captive by Muslims, they become slaves by the mere fact of their capture. A captured woman's previous marriage is immediately annulled (09.13).
A recent interview (May 2011) with Egyptian Sheikh Abu-Ishaq al-Huwayni declared that “we are in the era of jihad,” and that as they waged jihad warfare against infidels, Muslims are allowed to take slaves. He clarified what he meant in a subsequent interview:
...Jihad is only between Muslims and infidels….Spoils, slaves, and prisoners are only to be taken in war between Muslims and infidels. Muslims in the past conquered, invaded, and took over countries. This is agreed to by all scholars--there is no disagreement on this from any of them, from the smallest to the largest, on the issue of taking spoils and prisoners. The prisoners and spoils are distributed among the fighters, which includes men, women, children, wealth, and so on.When a slave market is erected, which is a market in which are sold slaves and sex-slaves, which are called in the Qur’an by the name milk al-yamin, “that which your right hands possess” [Qur’an 4:24]. This is a verse from the Qur’an which is still in force, and has not been abrogated. The milk al-yamin are the sex-slaves. You go to the market, look at the sex-slave, and buy her. She becomes like your wife, (but) she doesn’t need a (marriage) contract or a divorce like a free woman, nor does she need a wali. All scholars agree on this point--there is no disagreement from any of them. [...] When I want a sex slave, I just go to the market and choose the woman I like and purchase her.
Vehement renunciations from the West by Muslims who reject the teachings might garner respect, but they would be running counter to historical evidence and religious tradition. Still, the gesture would be appreciated by women everywhere.