“The only truly clashing area is the penal code, and no Muslim has the intention of introducing that to America. The penal code is the area that people in the Western world are worried about — but these are things that aren’t even observed today in most of the Muslim world. Apart from the Taliban and a few places like that, where do you see this happening?” — Ground Zero Mosque Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf
“Al Qaeda begin to establish Islamist rule in Syria, with residents of a once liberal town now forced to follow the orders of jihadists,” by Ted Thornhill for the Daily Mail, November 6:
In the Syrian town of Raqqa, Bashar al-Assad’s hated regime has been replaced by something many regard as being even worse — an al-Qaeda-linked group that is torturing people for writing graffiti and abolishing women’s rights.
Raqqa used to be one of the most liberal towns in Syria, but chillingly, the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is using violence to impose their rule on the locals and stamp out the freedoms rebels fought for.
One man showed a TV news channel how he was left with horrific bruises and burns after jihadists beat him and tortured him with an electrical current for spraying graffiti.
This punishment for graffiti was also meted out by the Assad authorities ousted by the revolution, leaving many wondering what it’s all been for.
He told CNN: “˜Every 15 minutes, someone poured water on me, electrocuted me, kicked me, then walked out.”
He went on to describe the anguish he suffered listening to others being tortured.
He added: “˜When a person is tortured in front of you, you feel responsible. That’s the hardest. One guy still inside used to call me Dad as I taught him about democracy.”
Rebels who have voiced their opposition to ISIS have found themselves arrested and thrown in jail without trial.
The town’s women, meanwhile, have been ordered by ISIS via posters to “˜cover up their beauty”, according to CNN, and banned from seeing male doctors or even leaving home without a male relative.
One female activist drew comparisons between the once-liberal Raqqa and Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
She told CNN: “˜They [ISIS] are closing hair salons, women can’t go out at certain times. They spat on one girl for disobedience. It’s like Afghanistan. Now people call Raqqa Tora Bora.”
The town’s freedom has been eroded to the extent that even filming can get you flogged. CNN obtained footage of the town from activists willing to risk their lives to show the world what is happening.
What’s more, the group’s activities have spread to surrounding areas. Posters warning that thieves will have their hands cut off have appeared in a nearby town.
“As for the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands in recompense for what they committed as a deterrent from Allah. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” — Qur’an 5:38