Khadija’s story is another one of the painful and sad stories of hundreds of women in Raqqa and the regions controlled by Daesh.
Khadija Al-Hamoud is a 31-year-old woman who lives with her husband and children in a popular neighborhood in Raqqa.
“I was arrested by Daesh because I defended our 19-year-old neighbor after I saw Daesh elements try to arrest her for violating the dress code they imposed. They immediately called the hisba women and arrested me before taking me to Muawiya school north of Raqqa. I was accused of arguing about religious matters and supporting the wrong side.
I spent 15 days in the school that Daesh had turned into a detention center. Every day, I saw around ten young girls who were brought to prison and accused of many things, such as going out without a mahram, wearing makeup, insulting the divine essence, and not paying zakat...”
Khadija spoke about how she lived in constant fear during her detention as she wondered about her fate. Will they cut off her head or whip her? Will she get out of prison? Will she be tortured to death? These questions kept her awake in a hallucinatory state as she thought about what would become of her.
“During my detention, I heard women being tortured inside the prison. I believe they were arrested in the villages that were invaded by Daesh, or that they were wives of ‘infidels and apostates’ (according to Daesh). It was the hardest thing I have ever heard.
On the ninth day of my detention, a Daesh woman came in, dressed in black and carrying a machine gun. She took me before the Sharia judge in the prison, who was a woman of Moroccan origin. The judge ruled that I should follow training sessions on Islamic principles by which they brainwash women. If these women argue and defend those who violate the Sharia and the soldiers of the Islamic state, they are killed by crucifixion.”
Khadija had to complete half of the training sessions inside the prison and the other half in Al Nour mosque, before being entitled to retrieve her identity card that was confiscated by Daesh.
During her detention and her two-hour session at the mosque after the Maghreb prayer, she was afraid of being the victim of an attack targeting Daesh and of dying among them, leading people in Raqqa to think that she was a Daesh member while in fact she was here because she was afraid for her life.
She says, “After the training session ended, I got my identity card back and went back to normal life. However, I was plagued with nightmares of my arrest. Every time I drank, ate, or sat down, I remembered my detention and and I heard the sounds of torture behind the black walls.
After I came out of prison, I remained isolated from the outside world after hearing many rumors about me saying that I was drugged and raped in prison by Daesh.”
Khadija stayed in Raqqa until the end of 2016 until her family and her husband decided to send her with a smuggler to stay with her siblings outside the city so she could rest after the deterioration of her health and her isolation from the outside world.
Khadija Al-Hamoud returned to Raqqa after its liberation from Daesh. The first thing she did was visit her place of detention, which was a school once again. She then tried to start a new life by opening a clothes shop in Raqqa. Taa Marbouta Article