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ISIS: virgins for the vicious

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CNN reported hundreds of women abducted by ISIS from the mountains in Iraq and taken to Syria have been sold or handed out as rewards to members of a Sunni extremist group. In the past few weeks, ISIS or ISIL has doled out about 300 female members of the Yazidi religion, an ancient faith based in Zoroastrianism.

ISIS, along with its goal of establishing a new caliphate in the Middle East, is creating a time machine capable of taking humanity back to the shadows of the Dark Ages. After centuries of struggling for equal footing with men, the value of some women in areas controlled by this latest iteration of jihadism is being reduced to “spoils of war.” Their personhood is being replaced by monetary amounts, sometimes less than a herd of goats.

Success of any product, including religion, often depends more on packaging than what is really inside. For example, whoever suggested giving priests the power of dispensing absolution from the Catholic Church was a marketing genius. Once given to a rueful sinner, even breaking a Commandment like murder could be washed away with the repetition of a few verses (Hail Mary…). And considering the success of ISIS attracting young men driven as much by testosterone as ideology, it is easy to speculate a former Madison Avenue executive turned jihadist updated the promise of 72 virgins in paradise into the immediate delivery of unplucked flowers to loyalists for a few Iraqi dinars or Syrian pounds. Short of cash, perhaps a recent separation an infidel from his head would earn him the virgin of his dreams.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday, "The Observatory documented at least 27 cases of those being sold into marriage by Islamic State members in the northeast of Aleppo province, and parts of Raqa and Hassakeh province."

NGO, a British-based watch group on women’s rights, said Saturday it was unclear what had happened to the rest of the 300 women and strongly denounced the "sale of these women, who are being treated as though they are objects to buy and sell".

Regardless the fate of these unfortunate women, ISIS is proving to be, in the words of President Obama, “a cancer” that may kill hosts of people before a cure is found. Old war hawks in Congress rattle swords instead of scalpels, the same ones who set the Middle East on fire and point fingers at everyone but themselves.

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