Washington: Islamic State theologians have issued an extremely detailed ruling on when "owners" of women and children captured by the extremist group can have sex with them, in an apparent bid to curb "violations" in the "treatment of female slaves".
The ruling, or fatwa, has the force of law and appears to go beyond the IS's previous known utterances on slavery, Cole Bunzel, a leading IS expert at Princeton University, said.
According to a US government translation, Fatwa No. 64, issued on January 29, sheds new light on how the group is trying to reinterpret centuries-old teachings to justify the rape of women in the areas of Syria and Iraq it controls.
The fatwa which claims "Allah has bestowed" graces upon IS which include the "women and children of infidels" becoming captive - was among a huge trove of documents captured by US Special Operations Forces during a raid targeting a top IS official in Syria in May.
Reuters has reviewed the document, which has not been previously published, but couldn't independently confirm its authenticity.
Among the fatwa's injunctions are bans on a father and son having sex with the same female slave; and the owner of a mother and daughter having sex with both.
Joint owners of a female captive are similarly enjoined from intercourse because she is viewed as "part of a joint ownership".
The United Nations and human rights groups have accused IS of the systematic abduction and rape of thousands of women and girls as young as 12, especially members of the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq.
Many have been given to fighters as a reward or sold as sex slaves.
Far from trying to conceal the practice, IS has boasted about it and established a department of "war spoils" to manage slavery.
The 15-point fatwa, issued by IS's committee of research and fatwas, appears to codify sexual relations between IS fighters and their female captives for the first time, going further than a pamphlet issued by the group in 2014 on how to treat slaves.
Professor Abdel Fattah Alawari, dean of Islamic theology at al-Azhar University, a 1000-year-old Egyptian centre for Islamic learning, said IS "has nothing to do with Islam" and was deliberately misreading centuries-old verses and sayings that were originally designed to end slavery, rather than encourage it.