"If You Became Muslim and Cover Like Us... You Would Not Be Killed"
Has Islam's appeal to women ever been conveyed in fewer words?
That's a moment from NPR's extensive coverage of ISIS families after the fall of the Caliphate. The piece can take some deserved hits for making monsters sympathetic. But the bad guys have families. Their wives and children admire them. It can be a mistake to forget that. And this trip to ISISland is like a look at Germany or Japan right after the war. Or like a visit to the Red Square with old women kissing Stalin's portrait.
"This is injustice — we pray for the caliphate to return," says one of the women, who says this is the third day they have been turned away from promised cartons of food. Everything is in short supply here.
"If it weren't for the airstrikes on our tents and camps killing our children," she says, "we would not have left the caliphate." All refuse to give their names.
All of the women are completely covered in long black cloaks, with only a slit for their eyes. A few have covered even their eyes.
"Convert, convert!" a group of women and girls shout at me, urging me to recite the shahada, the Muslim profession of faith: "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger."
"If you became Muslim and cover like us and became a member of our religion, you would not be killed" in the ISIS caliphate, one woman tells me.
There's the appeal of ISIS and the Islamic mindset distilled. And they are one and the same.
"Of course there were beheadings — why should I lie?" says a Syrian woman. "It's based on the Quran and the rules of Allah."
Asked about the Yazidi minority, which ISIS targeted with a campaign of genocide, the women shout: "Devil worshippers!"
"If they don't convert to Islam and they don't become Muslim like us and worship Allah, then they deserve it," an Iraqi woman says.
There's your co-existence. It's the original Islamic message. Mohammed's message, Aslim Taslam.
"This is the next generation of the caliphate," one of the women says. "If you talk to them, they have the true creed implanted in their minds. The true creed will remain."
And in fact, it's a girl from the Iraqi city of Tikrit who is among the most fervent in the group. She appears to be 11 or 12.
On judgment day, the girl tells us, Allah will pour molten metal in the ears of those who listen to music.
"The ones who are not covered, now I ask Allah in the next life to light the fires of hell with their hair!" she declares.
And there's your dragon's teeth and the next phase of the war.