Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.
What are the Muslim jihadis in Syria doing when they are not fighting against Bashar Assad’s army? According to reports in a number of Arab media outlets, the jihadis are importing Muslim girls to satisfy their sexual needs.
The sexual exploitation of girls was revealed after several Tunisian families reported that their teenage daughters had gone missing in recent months.
It later transpired that the girls had been dispatched to serve to Syria on “jihad marriages.” In other words, the girls had been sent to Syria to satisfy the sexual needs of the anti-Assad jihadis.
The jihadis, some of whom are affiliated with Al-Qaeda, are probably not getting enough weapons from Arabs and Westerners to fight against Assad’s forces. But what is evident is that they are in the meantime getting enough supplies of young girls to satisfy their sexual needs.
The phenomenon apparently began after a Saudi religious scholar, Mohamed al-Arifi, reportedly issued a fatwa[religious decree] allowing Muslim girls to go on “jihad marriages” in Syria. Al-Arifi has since denied issuing thefatwa.
The fatwa purportedly allows the jihadis, who abandoned their wives to fight against Assad’s regime, to marry girls for a few hours to satisfy their sexual needs.
But even if there never were such a fatwa, as the Saudi scholar says, what is evident is that Tunisian girls are being sexually exploited by the jihadis in Syria.
Tunisian Minister for Religious Affairs, Noor Eddin al-Khadimi, said that Tunisians should not abide by the fatwa. Salma al-Raqiq, a Tunisian opposition figure, said that the “jihad marriages” were a disgrace for the Tunisians. She also called on the authorities to start dealing with the increasing phenomenon of Tunisian jihadis heading to Syria to join radical Islamist groups.
Al-Raqiq told United Press International that the phenomenon was a dangerous one. She said that young girls, including minors, have been sent to Syria to “marry” jihadis for a few hours.
The reports about “jihad marriages” follow charges that Muslim men have been exploiting the plight of Syrian refugees by “marrying” their young daughters.
Reports in the Jordanian media revealed that Muslim men from various countries have been converging on Jordan to pick young Syrian girls residing in a temporary refugee camp near the border with Syria. Nearly one million Syrians have fled to Jordan since the beginning of the crisis in their country two years ago.
A report on Channel 4 revealed this week that Syrian girls in Jordan were being kidnapped, sexually harassed and raped.
What is disturbing is that many Arab and Islamic human rights organizations have remained silent about the crimes committed against Muslim women throughout the Arab and Muslim world. By contrast, these organizations are often quick to denounce Westerners for “insulting” Islam by publishing photos depicting the Prophet Mohamed.
If anyone is really insulting Islam, it those the Muslim fundamentalists and jihadis who show no respect for Muslim girls and treat them as sex slaves.
Originally published at the Gatestone Institute, under the title, “Jihadis’ Exploitation of Muslim Girls.”
About the Author: Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, is a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.
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