The Experience of the Islamic State Horror, First-hand

These are not easy to read; imagine your families trying to deal with this.

“What prayers shall I say now?:

Father Anis Hanna explained in detail how life has now changed for the different minorities who once lived in peace for centuries under the reign of Islam in Iraq and Syria. In July, ISIS declared from different mosques in Mosul that, starting on 28 July 2014, new laws and rules would be applied to everyone living in the territories under the Islamic State. They also declared that after this date, the Islamic State’s forces will purify the Nineveh Plain and control all Christian villages.

The new Islamic laws consist of the following:

It is forbidden for any citizens (men, women and children) to wear Western-style clothes; all men should wear Afghan-style clothing and all women should be veiled from their heads to their toes

All men should have a long beard and should shave their heads and mustaches

All women are not allowed to work outside their homes and they are not allowed to go outside home to the market or elsewhere if they are not accompanied by a male member of the family

All liquor stores, barber and cosmetic shops were shut down and are not allowed to operate

The local TV and radio station are not allowed to broadcast any kind of entertainment and cultural or artistic programs; only religious songs and programs are allowed

All regular courts in the city were suspended and replaced by Islamic courts

All families are being forced to give their daughters as wives to the militants against the will of the parents and the young girls.

Kind of saved the worst for last, seems to me.

More from the Dominican Sisters living in Iraq:

You might be surprised that we are writing this letter so soon since you received the last one. But events are happening so quickly here shocking everybody because of its brutality and cruelty. . .When we arrived to the intersession of Mosul-Erbil, we were shocked to see a huge mess of cars driving very chaotically to Erbil. The view was beyond describing, as words cannot fully capture it. Men, pregnant women, children, handicaps and elderly were moving toward Erbil. There were Christians, Muslims Shiites, Yezeds and Shabak; some people were on foot, some were riding trunks of pick-up, lorry trunks, and motorcycles. There are three checkpoints to arrive in Erbil. It took us five hours, from mid-night to five o’clock, to pass the first one; we reached the second one at seven o’clock and the third one at eight thirty. We arrived the convent at 9:30 exhausted emotionally, physically and mentally. What we saw was unbearable; people were suffering for no reason but because of their sect, religion and trace. We felt like we were in a nightmare wishing that someone would waken us up or that when the sun comes out it will be all over. But it was not the case, we were actually living a hard reality.

Grim reading. And then, from the New Yorker, A Friend Flees the Horror of ISIS:

Last Sunday, Karim woke up around 7:30 A.M., after coming home late the night before. He was about to have breakfast when his phone rang—a friend was calling to see how he was doing. Karim is a Yazidi, a member of an ancient religious minority in Iraq. Ethnically, he’s Kurdish. An engineer and a father of three young children, Karim spent years working for the U.S. Army in his area, then for an American medical charity. He’s been waiting for months to find out whether the U.S. government will grant him a Special Immigrant Visa because of his service, and because of the danger he currently faces. . . Karim had time to do just one thing: burn all the documents that connected him to America—photos of him posing with Army officers, a CD from the medical charity—in case he was stopped on the road by militants or his house was searched. He watched the record of his experience during the period of the Americans in Iraq turn to ash, and felt nothing except the urge to get to safety.

By 9:30 A.M., Karim and his extended family were crowded into his brother’s car and his father’s pickup truck. They’d had no time to pack, and for the drive through the heat of the desert they took nothing but water, bread, canned milk for Karim’s two-year-old son, and their AK-47s. At first, Karim’s father refused to go along. A stubborn man, he said, “Let them kill me in my town, but I will never leave it.” Fortunately, the father’s paralyzed cousin, who had been left behind by his family, pleaded with him, and at the last minute the two old men joined the exodus. Karim’s twenty or so family members were the last to get out of the area by car, and they joined a massive traffic jam headed northwest. Thousands of other Yazidi families had to flee on foot into the mountains: “They couldn’t leave. They didn’t know how to leave. They waited too long to leave,” Karim said.
“Compared with other people here, I’m in heaven,” Karim said by phone from Dohuk. “Some are in camps for refugees. It’s very hot and very hard. We are safe, but thousands of families are in the mountains. Thousands.”

Karim heard that one young man had been executed by ISIS for no reason other than being Yazidi. A friend of Karim’s was hiding in the mountains, running low on supplies, and out of battery power in his phone. Another friend, an Arab (“He is not a religion guy, he’s open-minded, it doesn’t matter if you’re Christian or Yazidi,” Karim said), had stayed in Sinjar and was trapped in his home. Now ISIS was going house to house, with information provided by locals, looking for Iraqi soldiers and police, for people with money, for Kurds. They had already taken away the friend’s brother, a police officer. No one knows for sure how many people ISIS has killed since the attack on Sinjar. Karim heard that it is many hundreds.

Read it all.

I’ll be part of a Patheos roundtable discussing Iraq and ISIS with Sheila Liaugminas, on A Closer Look tonight at 6PM Eastern.

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  • Manny

    My heart is breaking for the innocents there. If I were president I would have sent troops immediately. Supplying arms to Kurds is not going to stop ISIS. They are not a trained army and it would take years to formulate one. A full scale American presence is required, and a real army to destroy these evil bastards. Don’t ever get anyone to tell you with a straight face that withdrawing American troops will make a situation better.

  • Victor

    For what “IT” is worth Manny! “ME”, “ME” and “ME”, “I” mean “ME”, “MYSELF” and “I”, US (usual sinners), NO! NO! “I” mean us godly 95% spiritual cells of Victor’s Kingdom, “I” mean his house, no, no, “I” mean his body cells… Listen Manny! Truth be known sinner vic, “I” mean Victor is “MAD” and some bodies have got to stop him… “I’M” “I” mean we gods are glad that you have not been taken in by these so called imaginary five per sent age “Jesus Cells” that some Victor (s) seem to want to continue believing in… Come on folk… There’s no such things as sins and “The Anchoress” and Victor’s have got to stop indirectly spreading “IT” cause ‘The Holy Spirit’ does not exist and just talking about “IT” won’t make “IT” True, if YA get my drift…

    We gods honestly think that this is one of your best heart to heart felt comment Manny and if the world would only put US (usual sinners) “I” mean us alien gods, no, no, “I” mean us gods, if we were in charge we could fix the problems with this world… For example, hour, “I” mean our army of alien angel species would set UP camp in the middle of every country and con… “I” mean we would set UP a con soul late, “I” mean a consolate of knowledgeable angels and long story short, we would slowly build a world worth living in, “I” mean a house that even YA would be proud of if YA know what “I” mean…

    How long must YA puppets, “I” mean YA human animals, “I” mean YA good human being hear before YA all sea, “I” mean see The Light and stop believing in stuff like… Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven… Come on Manny, YA know as well as “I” do that if people keep repeating stuff like that, even “GOD” (Good Old Dad) and His Angels might start believing that there really is a Heaven and “IT” has an Equal and Opposite Reaction to what we godly angels cells believe… Forget “I” said that Man, “I” mean Manny, “IT” was meant to be a joke but I’m not that good with creating Jokes The Way these two Victor’s who started in the end of a certain movie witch, “I” mean which, no, no, what “I” mean is that some human beings should just stay out of these storms if YA know what’s good for YA…

    Hey Man, “I’M” surprised that Victor’s so called five per sent age “Jesus Cells” have not stopped US (usual sinners) yet, “I” mean us gods but then again maybe he’s alread gone around too often cause even some of Mel Gibson’s “Jesus Cells” say in so many words that YA only get one time around? Right Man, “I” mean Manny…

    We gods better stop now cause there really must be something wrong with Victor cause he did see his doctor yesterday and………………………………………………………………….andddd…………………………………………………….and


    Go figure Love folks! LOL :)

    God Bless Peace

  • Maggie Goff

    Read about the Peshmerga, Manny. They are fantastic, and should be supplied with whatever they ask for.

  • Manny

    Thanks Maggie. Yes, but do they have tanks, planes, heavy artillery. It’s not just about fighting with guns and weapons. You don’t just give people tanks, planes, helecopters, artillery, rockets and expect them to know how to use them. It takes training, and I don’t think there is time for that.

  • irena mangone

    What is that all about

  • Lisa Oshop

    It’s infuriating that the U.S. can help these poor people but won’t because as the New Yorker article puts it, “it goes against Obama’s foreign policy instincts.” That’s a delicate way of putting it. He simply doesn’t care.

  • George

    We can’t put boots on the ground Manny. (…only needed now remember because we forfeited victory in Iraq) Not until/unless our president figures out how to do so without further harming his approval rating and personal legacy; because that’s what really matters here.

    Mr. Obama has repeatedly denied that America should be the world’s policeman or sole super-power. (…who would he prefer in the role?) Yet for decades we have had an implied contract if you will with the smaller democracies of the world that they need not develop their own nuclear weapons or military strength because America would always be there for them.

    Rear-ends are puckering now aren’t they?

  • Manny

    We can put immediate soldiers on the ground through a parachute battalion, but you’re right armor and heavy artillery will require time. We can stabilize with paratroopers and air power and follow up in a few months with armor to repell and wipe out ISIS. Yes Obama squandered everything we did in Iraq and all the human lives (American and Iraqi) that went to achieve it. We have to be the world’s policeman, like it or not. The state of nature is chaos and destruction and evil on the march without it.
    By the way I alway squirm with the term “boots on the gorund.” The media seems to love that euphamism. It sounds like we can just air drop a shoe store inventory. That will certainly get boots on the ground…lol.

  • Manny

    That’s Victor being Victor…lol.

  • The_Repentant_Curmudgeon

    I have to wonder what President Bush thinks of all this right now. During his administration the thinking, as I understand it, was that the Americans just couldn’t do anything to help Christians because it would make it seem like a holy war (why do we aspire to be less than holy?). And now Obama is pursuing the same policies, but in his case I don’t have any reason to believe there’s a soft spot for Christians in his heart. I don’t think he cares about anyone’s plight in Iraq except insofar as he can blame it on Bush.

    So this is why I wonder what President Bush is thinking right now. I can’t imagine his old justifications seem very sensible now.

  • The_Repentant_Curmudgeon

    My young nephew was touting the usual lines about getting involved overseas last week, no need to repeat them here. Here’s the current math: No Republican President will be allowed to conduct any military operation with public support for more than about 3-4 months, maximum, no matter the circumstances. A Democratic President would have more media leeway, but Democratic Presidents will conduct symbolic shows of force only.

    What does this mean going forward? I think another 9/11 with largely go unanswered. I think we’d have to see 50,000 – 100,000 killed in a nuclear or biological attack for us to doing something at this point in the game. As for actually fighting wars, NO ONE is allowed to talk about bringing democracy to ________. And no one is allowed to talk about long term occupation. So where does that leave us? I think the next military confrontation will be far, far more deadly. Hawks like to talk about rubblizing cities. It’s a euphemism. We are going to have to kill everyone we can, as quickly as we can, and then hope that the cost is so devastating that the biggest fear in the world is of U.S. attack.

  • U.S. citizen

    the usual, believe it or not

  • davend

    The religious state (of whatever variety) is a scourge on humanity.

  • Victor

    Thanks Manny! I Think?…lol.
    God Bless