(Syria (Fides) — Mariam was a 15-year-old Christian from Qusair, a city of the governorate in Homs, 35 km south of the capital. The city, which had become a stronghold of the Syrian rebels, was reconquered by the troops of the regular army at the beginning of June. Mariam’s story—sent to Fides thanks to the report of two Catholic priests—is a sign of the brutality of the conflict and the extreme vulnerability of religious minorities. Mariam’s family was in town when militants linked to the jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra conquered and occupied it.
While her family was able to escape, Mariam was taken and forced into an Islamic marriage.
Fides sources point out that, through social networks, the fatwa was widespread in Syria produced by Yasir al-Ajlawni—A Salafi sheikh of Jordanian origin, resident in Damascus—who declared lawful, for opponents of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, rape committed against “any non-Sunni Syrian woman.” According to the fatwa, to capture and rape Alawi or Christian women is not contrary to the precepts of Islam.
The commander of the battalion Jabhat al-Nusra in Qusair took Mariam, married and raped her. Then he repudiated her. The next day the young woman was forced to marry another Islamic militant. He also raped her and then repudiated her. The same trend was repeated for 15 days, and Mariam was raped by 15 different men. This psychologically destabilized her and made her insane. Mariam, became mentally unstable and was eventually killed.