Sexual violence and forced conversion of women – (I) Nigeria, Syria and Iraq
By Marta Petrosillo
Militant Islamist groups in Africa and the Middle East have often used rape as a weapon of war. Systematic sexual violence can be a powerful tool when one group tries to oppress another.
Many jihadists rape non-Muslim women and force them to convert. Forcibly converting a woman of another religious group means that her children will be raised in the extremist Islam of the jihadists and that the aggressor’s sexual enslavement of women also prevents births within the woman’s religious group.
Forced pregnancies and conversions are also a means to secure ‘the next generation of jihadists’. In December 2014, Daesh (ISIS) released a pamphlet, which explained to its followers that it is “permissible” to have sexual intercourse with, beat and trade non-Muslim slaves, including young girls. This provides an explanation of what was done to thousands of women from Yazidi and other minority religious backgrounds under the so-called Caliphate established by Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
 Cf. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, section 2.
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