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ISIS using birth control to rape women

While fightings in Kobane continue since more than fifty days, today two women fighters from YPJ were buried in Suruc with the attendance of hundreds of people. The coffins of fighters Perwin Mustafa (20) and Perwin Dihap(20) were take by Kobane woman from Suruc state hospital. Accompanied with slogans the coffins were carried by woman to the cemetery where they were buried./LEJOURNAL__MG_2968/Credit:NAZIM FIRAT/LE JOURNAL/SIPA/1411072214 (Sipa via AP Images)Over the weekend, the New York Times published a report detailing the depravity of ISIS. Using modern medicine to perpetuate medieval practices, ISIS forces women to take birth control so that they can be forced to have sex with ISIS fighters. These individual acts of rape would be heart-breaking enough, but the fact that they are undergirded by systemic structures that both allow and encourage such behavior is sorrowful.

Hoping to recreate the Prophet Muhammad's time, ISIS leaders use obscure Islamic laws to satisfy their carnal longings. Such laws state that a man must ensure the woman is free of children before he is free to have intercourse with her. The woman must go through 'istibra,' which is the "process of ensuring the womb is empty" according to Princeton's Bernard Haykel, an expert on Islamic law. This process is less for the health of the woman and more to eliminate any potential confusion as to the paternity of the potential child.  

They are preying upon Yazidi women and girls. Last year alone, ISIS abducted 5,270 Yazidi women. Yazidism is an ancient faith with roots in this highly Kurdish region of the Middle East. Considered heretical devil worshippers by ISIS, these women are syncretistic in their religious belief.  They have a rich oral tradition that integrates Islamic beliefs with Zoroastrianism, ancient Persian religion, Mithraism, and other mystery religion indigenous to the Eastern Mediterranean.

According to community leaders, 3,144 are still being held and treated as pieces of property. Even child rape is permissible, according to a Middle East Media Research Institute translation of a pamphlet published on Twitter last December: "It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn't reached puberty, if she is fit for intercourse."

Their satisfaction is dependent upon her fitness. Her fitness is determined by their investigation. And the world sorrowfully watches, wondering in emotional pain if it will end.

In his definition of sorrow, Samuel Johnson wrote: "Sorrow is the state of mind in which our desires are fixed upon the past, without looking forward to the future, an incessant wish that something were otherwise than it has been, a tormenting and harassing want of some enjoyment or possession we have lost."

Sorrow fools the mind into thinking that the best days are behind instead of in front. It comes from a sting in the past, reverberating painfully to us in the present and affecting our outlook of the future.

We experience sorrow when hearing about ISIS because we value and love life. We value it to such an extent that we wish it well for others. But sorrow comes when life is diminished, when life is less than ideal and unsatisfactory to some extent. Thus, lacking contentment in the present, we look to the past knowing that there is no conceivably good future.

Leo Tolstoy wrote: "Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them." Tolstoy found that love is both the cause and the solution to sorrow. When something that we love or value is detrimentally affected, it causes sorrow.  Sorrow attempts to inhibit love, but love eliminates sorrow.

These women's wombs may be empty, but so is the garden tomb. And the empty tomb is the reminder that we have power and authority to make his kingdom come, and his will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

This systemic problem is too big for any one person. Thus, it is necessary to join other persons and organizations fighting against these atrocities in the midst of sorrow and building his beautiful kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

Organizations like the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative (WI), who fight for religious freedom and fight against religious persecution, are such. Refusing to apathetically abide in sorrow, WI seeks to rectify wrongs both individually and systemically.

While we cannot change the sorrowful past, we can be a loving force in the future.

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