Women of the Jihad: An inside look at the female fighters of ISIS

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Emma Liem// The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is notorious for its cruel treatment of women, subjecting female citizens to stringent dress codes, curfews, and corporal punishment.

Women who live under ISIS-enforced Sharia law cannot wear makeup, color or travel without a male chaperone. Burqas are also required, and refusal to conform to dress code can result in torture for both the woman in question and her husband.

Frontline writes:

When ISIS seized large swathes of territory in Iraq last year, the United Nations reported that the group “attacked and killed female doctors, lawyers, among other professionals.” Women doctors who weren’t killed were told to abide by the strict dress code while working, and were threatened with the destruction of their homes when they went on strike. The U.N. also received reports of female politicians and community leaders subjected to abduction, torture and murder.

Despite the terrorist organization’s heinous violence towards females, however, many women are flocking to serve alongside their husbands under ISIL by monitoring and punishing other women under Sharia law.

In Frontline’s recently released documentary, “Escaping ISIS,” women who formerly upheld the jihad recount their duties as agents of ISIL.

“The first thing we’d do is take her and whip her,” Umm Abaid, a former female ISIL fighter, told Frontline. “Then we’d take her clothes and replace them with clothes required by Sharia law. Then we would take her husband’s money to pay for the clothes. Then we’d whip him as well.”

The documentary focuses on both the women who rally behind ISIL’s cause and those who were forced into the organization as wives or slaves of terrorist leaders — using undercover footage and victim testimony to paint a haunting picture of what life “behind the veil” is truly like.

“Escaping ISIS” premieres Tuesday, July 14, at 10 p.m. EST both on-air and on FRONTLINE’s website.