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A teen's quest to survive the Islamic State

Life under ISIS

“No matter how hard you summon
your strength ... you won’t
be able to get over it.You’ll feel
how horrible it is to have your
hands chained and be unable
to picture your future.”

MOSUL, Iraq (AP)  The three women tensed as their taxi approached the checkpoint manned by Islamic State group fighters. Everyone in Mosul dreaded checkpoints; you could never predict what these gunmen might do in their fanatic drive to crush the slightest hint of "sin." One of them peered at the girl in the back seat, Ferah.

The 14-year-old wore the required veil over her face, but she had forgotten to lower the flap that also hid her eyes. A fighter barked at her to close it. But Ferah was not wearing her gloves, which were also required. If she fixed her veil, they would see her bare hands, and things would only get worse.  She shrank in her seat, trying to disappear.

The gunmen exploded, screaming that they would take Ferah, her mom and her sister to the Hisba, the feared religious police who punished violators of IS's orders. They pulled the driver out and questioned him. How do you know these women?

Ferah felt the gunmen looming outside her window  frightening, huge and muscular, with beards down to their chests. Her mother went pale. A simple drive to a friend's house was spiraling into disaster.

And just as suddenly, it was over. Somehow, the driver talked the gunmen down.

Once safe at their friend's house, Ferah broke down. She wasn't just trembling, her entire body spasmed.

This was the new, nightmare world that the Iraqi teen had to live in.

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