Islamic State militants living in Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, severely disfigured the faces of fifteen Iraqi women by pouring acid on them as a form of punishment after the women were caught without their faces being fully covered by a niqab, a hijab which covers the entire face, except for slits for eyes.
Last weekend, a Kurdish official told BasNews that ISIS' all-female policing unit, the Al Khansa brigade, reportedly carried out the horrific action after the women were detained on Sunday in the Mosul neighborhood of Salamiya.
The official from the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Mosul, Saed Mamuzini, told the news site that the women were used as a warning to other females living in the city of what could happen if they chose to not to wear the Afghan-style hijab.
"They have implemented this punishment so that other women in the city will never consider removing or not wearing the niqab," Mamuzini said.
After overtaking Mosul last summer, ISIS issued a warning to the women living in the city, stating that if they were caught without wearing a full face veil, they would be severely punished.
"This is not a restriction on freedom but to prevent her from falling into humiliation and vulgarity or to be a theater for the eyes of those who are looking," The Islamic State said in its warning statement. "Anyone who is not committed to this duty and is motivated by glamour will be subject to the accountability and severe punishment to protect society from harm and to maintain the necessities or religion and protect it from debauchery."
In September, a 16-year-old girl was attacked with acid after her family rejected a man's request to marry her. Doctors said she lost 95 percent of her vision.
Last month, five Iraqi men were publicly executed in Mosul's city square by ISIS after their wives did not comply with orders to wear the new hijab, the Alhurra website reports. Women are also prohibited from walking down the street without a male relative present.
"These things have been forced on us through the power of the sword," A Mosul resident named Aisha told news source Al-Arabiya. "People now have to either wear the veil or be executed."
Robert Spencer, founder of JihadWatch.com, writes that these kinds of horrific punishments for miniscule offenses are "just one more manifestation of the empire of fear that Sharia creates."
"The Qur'an directs men to beat women from whom they "fear disobedience," he writes. "We have seen women who don't abide by Sharia restrictions disfigured with acid in Pakistan and elsewhere...virtue is enforced by terror, which means that it isn't really virtue at all."