Thursday June 27, 2019

IS imposes harsh restrictions on Syria and Iraq during Ramadan

IS is making the holy month difficult for residents of Syria and Iraq by forbidding television, limiting daily working hours and strict dress code for women

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Ramadan. Image source: kemmannu.com
  • The new rules by IS have reduced working hours to two hours per day, rest of the time must be devoted to prayers
  • Satellite Television and other streaming devices are forbidden, says IS
  • IS has forced restaurants and pastry shops to remained closed during the day in Iraq

Islamic State (IS) is imposing a harsh set of rules on residents of areas it controls in Syria and Iraq during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan that began Monday, June 6.

These rules include forbidding the use of satellite TV receivers, limiting the hours of daily work and instituting strict dress codes for women.

IS recently conducted a campaign encouraging people in Syria and Iraq to destroy their television receivers “because they promote a psychological war against the caliphate.”

In a video that circulated among IS followers online, an IS figure talks about “the vices that television channels are bringing to the homes of Muslims which serve the enemy.”

In Raqqa, the IS de facto capital in Syria, IS has carried out a door-to-door search campaign to confiscate satellite television receivers and other streaming devices, according to Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, a group that reports on IS abuses in Syria.

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The activist group also said that IS has issued a new ruling that limits working hours each day to only two hours. The remaining hours of the day must be devoted to worshipping and prayer, it said.

A Muslim man reading Namaz during Ramadan Image: Wikimedia Commons
A Muslim man reading Namaz during Ramadan
Image: Wikimedia Commons

In Iraq, IS militants vow to stop civilians at checkpoints in Mosul, saying they will only be released if they surrender their television receivers, local news reports in Iraq said.

‘Dos and Don’ts’

Life is very tough for people under IS control during the holy month, officials say.

“Last Friday, imams in Mosul gave instructions to people on ‘dos and don’ts’ during Ramadan and Eid,” said Ismat Rajab, a former local government official in Mosul. This year, the holiday month ends on July 5, and is celebrated with a three-day holiday called Eid al-Fitr.

He said IS religious police in Iraq’s second-largest city have forced restaurants and pastry shops to close during the day. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk.

Muslim scholars say IS is using Ramadan to further its radical religious views.

Push against West

IS “doesn’t differentiate between Ramadan and other months of the year,” said Sheikh Mohammed Sharaffadine, a scholar of Azhar University, one of the most prestigious Islamic institutions in the world.

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“But during Ramadan, they want to prove to their followers that they are more pious than other Muslims,” he told VOA via phone from Cairo.

People gathered to break fasting in mosque Image: Wikimedia Commons
People gathered to break Ramadan fasting in mosque. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

IS says it wants to spread its violent, anti-West ideology during Ramadan. In an audio message allegedly recorded last month by IS spokesperson Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the group calls on its followers to launch attacks in the United States and Europe during Ramadan.

“Ramadan, the month of conquest and jihad. Get prepared, be ready… to make it a month of calamity everywhere for the non-believers… especially for the fighters and supporters of the caliphate in Europe and America,” read the message, suggesting attacks on both military and civilian targets.

In another internet video, an IS narrator offers historical examples of Islamic conquests since the seventh century.

“By such propaganda, they don’t only target their sympathizers,” Saraffadine said of IS. “They also want to embroil ordinary Muslims in Western countries who live in those societies peacefully.” (VOA)

ALSO READ:

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    The IS should be informed about how outdated their thoughts and restrictions are. They cannot make rules in the name of religion

Next Story

Devastating Islamic State Terror Group Set Conditions for Comeback

ISIS’s Second Comeback: Assessing the Next ISIS Insurgency, by the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

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Islamic State, Terror, Comeback
FILE - Islamic State members walk in the last besieged neighborhood in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria, March 10, 2019. VOA

The Islamic State terror group has set conditions for a comeback that “could be faster and even more devastating” than when it first burst onto the world stage, according to a new report out Wednesday.

ISIS’s Second Comeback: Assessing the Next ISIS Insurgency, by the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW), also warns the terror group, often referred to as IS or ISIS, is likely to reclaim territory both in Syria and in Iraq, where it is already seizing control.

“ISIS has systematically eliminated village leaders and civilians who cooperated with anti-ISIS forces,” the report says. “It has re-imposed taxes on local populations in its historical support zones, displacing civilians and de facto controlling small pockets of terrain in Iraq.”

In Syria, IS faces a more daunting task, where it is still battling the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad, and Hay’at Tharir al-Sham, al Qaida’s Syrian affiliate.

Islamic State, Terror, Comeback
FILE — A member of U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) watches over people who were evacuated out of the last territory held by Islamic State militants, outside Baghouz, Syria, March 5, 2019. VOA

Still, the report’s authors believe IS is well-prepared for the fight, having taken advantage of the slow and methodical U.S.-backed campaign to roll back the terror group’s self-declared caliphate.

“ISIS deliberately withdrew and relocated many of its fighters and their families,” the reports states.

“ISIS’s forces are now dispersed across both countries and are waging a capable insurgency,” it says. “ISIS retained a global finance network that funded its transition back to an insurgency and managed to preserve sufficient weapons and other supplies in tunnel systems and other support zones in order to equip its regenerated insurgent force.”

The concerns about a possible IS resurgence are not new.

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As far back as August 2018, U.S. defense officials were warning IS was “well-positioned to rebuild and work on enabling its physical caliphate to re-emerge.”

More recently, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Stabilization Denise Natali warned, “the threat persists.”

And even this week, a statement by the Global Coalition to Defeat IS, admitted the terror group remains both resilient and undaunted, with cells in Syria and Iraq to conduct an increasing number of attacks against coalition partners and coalition partner forces.

“This is a major concern for the entire Coalition, as it puts at risk key military gains and the stability necessary for recovery,” the statement said.

Islamic State, Terror, Comeback
FILE – A U.S. soldier sits in an armored vehicle on a road leading to the tense front line with Turkish-backed fighters, in Manbij, north Syria, April 4, 2018. Pixabay

Data compiled by the Syrian-based Rojava Information Center and published earlier this month seems to support such concerns.

The center found there were 139 attacks by IS sleeper cells in northeastern Syria alone in May, an increase of 61% over the previous month. The number of deaths also rose, 42% in May to 78, with increases even in previously secure areas.

In addition to the attacks, IS has been blamed for burning hundreds of hectares of farmland in Syria and Iraq.

According to the most recent U.S. estimates, IS still commands at least 10,000 fighters across the two countries.  But despite the threat, U.S. troops involved in supporting the fight against IS have been leaving Syria.

Also Read- US Sanctions on Cuba Deterring American Firms from Exploring Its Telecommunications Sector

“The number of U.S. forces that are present now is quite a bit lower than when the drawdown began,” Chris Maier, the director of the Pentagon’s Defeat IS Task Force, told a small group of reporters last month.

“U.S. force numbers will continue to draw down as conditions continue to, we hope, improve,” he added.

Since then, some U.S. forces have been assigned to return to Syria, but according to U.S. defense officials, their primary mission is to protect forces there from growing threats from Iranian proxies in the region.

The overall trendlines, though, concern the authors of the ISW report, calling the lessening U.S. engagement, especially in Syria, “a critical mistake.”

Instead, the report calls on the U.S. to develop a long-term strategy that combines both military and a plan to address ongoing economic and humanitarian problems.

“Another limited intervention will not be sufficient,” concludes study co-author Jennifer Cafarella.

“The ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria has demonstrated to ostensibly liberated communities that they are not safe, perpetuating conditions of fear and distrust that will make it increasingly difficult to establish durable and legitimate security and political structures.” (VOA)