What scares residents of Mosul living under the Islamic State the most is when they see the Hisbah (morality police) in the marketplace and the narrow streets. They know they cannot avoid their head-to -toe checks.
Several chilling stories about the outrages perpetrated by the morality police were told to the press by a woman in her twenties identified only as S, who spoke to the Russian outlet Sputnik (Arabic) in Iraq on the condition of anonymity.
Faten (aged around 10) committed the crime of briefly stepping out over the threshold, while cleaning. Women and girls are not allowed to leave their houses alone. The Hisbah’s female al-Khansa brigade in Mosul made Faten’s mother choose who will receive punishment of being bitten – her or her daughter.
Thinking the bite would be a simple bite with teeth on the hand, the mother decided the daughter should receive the punishment.
But the ISIS women produced a hideous metal biting device, with poison on the teeth. The device tore Faten’s flesh in various places. The poison didn’t have even time to do its job as Faten bled to death from the wounds.
Similar punishments were administered for infractions including but not limited to:
- Breastfeeding a child outside the house
- Not wearing black socks or black sleeves
- Lifting a full face veil
- Wearing high heels
- Wearing a jilbab (floor length robe) that isn’t black
- Wearing shoes that aren’t black
- Having a purse that isn’t black
- also shared the story of a woman who went to the market and lifted her veil slightly to check the merchandise (she couldn’t see it properly). She was immediately set upon by members of the Hisbah, who ordered her to sit on the ground while they lashed her 30 times on the spot.
No one in the market acted to help her, because they were afraid they would get the same treatment.
The woman made it back to her house, but died from her injuries a few hours later.
S. told Sputnik that she’s tried not to leave the house for two years. Every time she puts on the veil she feels dizzy and nauseous and her blood pressure goes up.
“I never felt like I was a human being. Why all of this black clothing?” she told Sputnik. “It’s like I’m getting into a bag and it’s closed on me so I can’t even breathe or enjoy the sun. When I go out in the car or visit my relatives, … I don’t dare to wear the kind [of transparent veil] that shows the eyes because the people of Al-Hisbah focus on the eyes and can estimate the age of the girl. If she’s young she is more likely to be targeted for abuse. For this reason, I prefer to cover myself totally.”