Wednesday December 12, 2018

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
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  • 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)

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    The IS should be informed about how outdated their thoughts and restrictions are.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

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Climate Change Left Its Fingerprint On The Most Extreme Disasters in 2017

The science is progressing to the point where ignoring it could cause legal problems

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Climate change
A Feb. 11, 2017, aerial photo released by the California Department of Water Resources shows a damaged spillway with an eroded hillside in Oroville, California. VOA

Drought in the United States and East Africa. Floods in Peru and Bangladesh. Heatwaves in Europe and China. Even unusual cloudiness in Japan. Climate change left its fingerprints on some of the biggest climate extremes of 2017, according to a new assessment.

The report highlights how a changing climate has real-life implications for the professionals who have to deal with the consequences. Case in point: water managers faced with record-breaking rainfall that overwhelmed a faltering dam in California.

“This is not a problem for the future. It’s a problem for today,” said Penn State University climate scientist David Titley, who was not involved with the research.

Seventeen studies from 10 countries make up the report, which the American Meteorological Society has been publishing annually since 2011.

They tease apart the factors that led to each extreme event and estimate the extent to which climate change contributed.

Drought, Climate Change
In this July 26, 2017, photo, soybeans grow in a farm field near Indianola, Iowa. Drought conditions are getting worse in several states, and extreme heat and weeks with little rain have begun to stress corn, soybeans, wheat and livestock. VOA

For example, drought parched the U.S. Northern Great Plains in the summer of 2017, drying up farms and ranches, sparking wildfires and racking up more than $2 billion in damage.

The study found that climate change did not affect the amount of rain that fell over the region.

However, higher temperatures brought on by global warming meant that soil dried out quicker. That means a drought of this severity is 1.5 times more likely than it would have been without climate change, the report said.

The report was released at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Washington, D.C. It comes as U.N. climate negotiators are meeting in Poland.

At that meeting, U.S., Russian and Saudi negotiators aimed to downplay a dire report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the impacts of global warming.

The new study’s findings confirm what the IPCC first predicted nearly 30 years ago, said study editor Martin Hoerling, a climate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Climate Change, hurricane michael, Storms
In this photograph released by the Sri Lankan Air Force media division on May 29, 2017, flooding is seen in the country’s Matara district. VOA

According to the group’s first report, the impacts seen today are “the type of change in weather and climate that we would experience if we continued on a trajectory of increasing carbon dioxide,” Hoerling said. “We have certainly done so, and the consequences are unfolding.”

In Oroville, California, last February, the consequences of climate change provided a case study in the challenges of managing critical infrastructure in the face of a changing climate.

A series of torrential rains overfilled the lake behind the Oroville Dam. Because of a damaged spillway, overflowing water threatened to destroy the dam. Nearly 200,000 people downstream were evacuated.

The reservoir was already full when the storm that nearly broke the dam hit. One major reason, the report notes, was the unusual warmth at the end of the previous year. Storms that would normally have fallen as snow instead fell as rain.

Other California dams handled the deluge without incident, however, noted study co-author and hydrologist Julie Vano at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. It was the combination of climate change-driven extreme weather and the damaged spillway that made Oroville a near-disaster.

Fire, CLimate Change, California
Firefighters battle a wildfire as it threatens to jump a street near Oroville, California. VOA

“With aging infrastructure and more development happening in places where there’s risk exposure, we really need to think about how we manage our systems,” she said.

The science is progressing to the point where ignoring it could cause legal problems, according to attorney Lindene Patton with the Earth & Water Law Group.

Drought in the United States and East Africa. Floods in Peru and Bangladesh. Heatwaves in Europe and China. Even unusual cloudiness in Japan.

For example, she said, take the owner of a hypothetical chemical plant located near a river.

Engineers typically design safety features based on historical rainfall patterns. “If your calculations are done assuming 1970s rainfall events,” Patton said, “then your design would not be prepared for today’s climate.”

Also Read: As Climate Talks Come to a Halt, Africa Suffers From Global Warming

When climate science can show that rainfall patterns have changed, she added, “if you don’t use that different set of rainfall tables and a chemical release occurs, then you may find a claim is made against you.” (VOA)