Houla, a 25-year-old woman has no children. Basically, she can return to her village, where the children of Islamic State militants are not welcome, regardless of their young age. However, as a militant’s widow, she revealed that her presence at home could put her whole family in danger. “If I go home they will be attacked,” she explains.
In result, Houla lived in a tent in one of Iraq’s bleak desert camps. It is where families continue to arrive daily. This is despite the fact that the war officially ended over a month ago (January 2018). A lot of the families now reportedly live in camps like Houla’s where they are shunned by their neighbors and relatives. Some of them are victims as well of Islamic State’s brutal crime.
Officials say forcing IS families to return home would inflame sectarian tensions, which are already deep and oftentimes, deadly. Widows like Houla do not deny their husband’s crimes. They responded as well that in their conservative society, women have little choice and sometimes no choice at all as to who they marry. They also do not have a say in their husband’s decision.
“I told him not to join the militants but he refused me. I knew he would get killed, and we would be left with nothing,” a 23-year-old woman named Hoda revealed. She was also a former neighbor of Houla.
The presence of IS families has created another crack in the complex and multi-ethnic society in the post-Islamic State in Iraq. Meanwhile, families and victims of IS victims of any religion frequently believe the wives and children support IS ideology. Most wives of dead or captured militants deny ever supporting IS, or their extremist views. According to VOA News, Hoda added, “Maybe some men would marry a woman with children. But no one will marry a wife of IS.”