“Soldatessa Del Califfato – il racconto della miliziana fuggita dall’ISIS”* (lietrally: Woman Soldier of the Caliphate – The accounts of a Militant who escaped from ISIS), an interesting book that, just few days ago, came to light in most of Italy’s libraries and news-stands. The authors, a couple of investigative journalists, were able to meet and interview the young Tunisian woman who went to Syria hoping to assist her beloved husband building a “Perfect New World”; but shortly after decided to escape being unable to match hopes with means.
Aisha, a fictitious name chosen by the authors for the young woman as not to disclose her real identity, was a young beautiful strong intelligent Tunisian girl from a moderate middle class family with a Sunni observance. She graduated in Information Technology with perfect practical knowledge of French and English languages.
Bekir, also Tunisian Sunni, the beautiful young man with a promising soccer player career and a brilliant student, was her true love but also her perdition.. He suddenly disappeared, and after several months reappeared via chat explaining his new life as a soldier of the Caliphate.
Let’s hear what Aisha said: “…he asked me to follow him in Syria where we shall marry and live in the best possible world.. A world that he is contributing in building under the guidance of the Caliph Al Baghdadi”. At that point of her life, Aisha decided to become a Pilgrim Spouse.. A Muhajirah.. Who’d transfer to Syria where she“.. discovered hell”.
I will not go into all the details of her accounts, regarding the atrocities she met and saw; but in few lines I can synthesise her confessions after defecting from the ranks of ISIS (or ISIL if you wish).
“In Tunisia, I could have never found a stable professional engagement; and I had no intention to migrate like my sister who’s working as a slave in European restaurants for a morsel of bread…”. After reaching Syria, through a distressing, dangerous and adventurous voyage, she finally met her love Bekir who became “…ugly, black his bearded and black the outfit he’s wearing.. We got married without a ceremony and I’ve lost the joy of that event because of the Caliphate”.
At first, after getting married, she was “assigned to Al Khansàa Brigade as adept to Digital Warfare for $200.ₒₒ/month; the Caliphate procured us a house (confiscated from a Christian family) and guaranteed a $20,000.ₒₒ compensation in case of my husband’s death..”. Money was not a problem to the Caliphate since fluently and constantly pouring in from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Libya, Russia and even from the Chechen Republic. Every recruiter, head hunting in North Africa and other parts of the world, gets between $3,000.ₒₒ to $10,000.ₒₒ for each new entry.. A flourishing business.
When Aisha discovered that among the tasks assigned to her, as part of the work routine of Al Khansàa Brigade, was exercising the role of “Moral Police” (which reminded me of George Orwell’s 1984) where the soldier women, says Aisha “all fully covered inside black dress showing only cruel cold menacing eyes, unexpressive and heartlessly without a soul, would march the streets in platoon formation; to entre homes and schools to control that students and teachers are wearing the Veil adequately.. We battered women and girls caught smoking or listening to music”.
But according to Aisha, her worst nightmare materialised when she had to join in the inspection of what she called “..the sex camps where female Infidel prisoners were forced to submit to rape by, or consensually give free sexual performance(s) to, the Caliphate Soldiers.. Many of them preferred death and committed suicide, that’s why they were obliged to remain completely nude at all times.. The Yazidi women were sold as slaves in those camps to the soldiers for no more than $30.ₒₒ.. They were just abandoned lacerated corps and meat piles..”.
The day when Bekir told her the details of the “Children Massacre” as per the Mosul scenario, where Christian families who refuse to convert were lined up in the main square and exterminated, was “..the moment when I immediately desired to break away from him. I didn’t have any wish to hug him or sleep in his arms and feel his breathing on my hair”.
These are the excerpts I chose here. Statements of an average Arab Muslim girl, innocent in her dreams and hopes who couldn’t understand why she was thrown into that crucible of unlimited and immeasurable violence.
At this point, I prefer to pass on to our most esteemed religious references (Ulemàa) the following interrogatives:
a) In a modern world where life has become so complicated yet interlaced by Globalisation and Information Revolution; a world where the issues to debate are the ‘New Ideas’ of Human Rights, Transparency, Abolition of Death Penalty, Sexual Liberties and Orientations, Gender Equality, Scientific Research, Adoption, Assisted Fecundation, Co-Living as a substitute to Marriage, Equal Sexes Matrimonies, the Secular vs. Religious… Etc.; a world that has already made amends for its past crimes (The Massacres committed by the Christian Inquisition all over the world; the blood shed among Eastern and Western Churches; the atrocities of wars, slave trade, and many Crimes Against Humanity catalogued or not made by the hands of those who follow every faith or belief); in such a world as ours today, a world that has finally discovered ways by which Science and Religion would peacefully co-exist, is it considered legitimate or even reasonable the call to return to the Middle Ages? ISIS, by their practices incompatible with Modern Age as we conceive it, is actually opting for that particular aim: bring the entire world back 15 centuries to a new era of conquest and conflict for dominance.
b) Moreover, how would you, our most esteemed religious references, judge Aisha? That average Muslim young girl, modestly educated, who passed directly to womanhood without living the hopes and goals of her adolescence, when she says: “Today I live in misery.. My soul has become a desert the moment I decided to help a mad world.. I think that my God will not condemn me when I’ll stand before Him. Because I am already serving my punishment here in life”.
While addressing the seminar of Human Rights NGO ‘Oasis Foundation’ held in Tunis the Capital last month, Mr. Moncef Al Marzouqi – former President of Tunisia – said:
“The Tunisian Revolution can be distinguished for having been neither a Religious Revolution nor a Secular one; it has out-fashioned those sterile oppositions for the sake of Dignity and for Liberty.. The issue of Religious Liberty shouldn’t be thought of separately from the Citizenship issue hence from Democracy itself and its ensemble of values and mechanisms helmed by Freedom Of Expression. Challenges are numerous and the sources for worry are many, nonetheless the pessimistic manner by which most preoccupied western commentators offer to the Arab World should vanish away. The debates over Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Belief or even the Sense of The Sacred itself are not a Tunisian or an Islamic exclusivity”.
Pass On the Word.
*Published by Imprimatur editors; interviewed, reported and written by Giuseppe Iannini and Simone De Meo.