Massacres, beheadings, rapes, and the rest often take place whenever and wherever Islamic jihadis take over. Lesser known but no less eye-opening, however, is the aftermath of occupation – the everyday “rules” and laws the jihadis enforce once they’re in charge.
Consider the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Levant’s (ISIL) recent occupation of Raqqah, a city in northern Syria. First there was the overt violence. Among other acts of savagery, the jihadi organizationattacked two Christian churches – the Church of the Annunciation and the Church of Martyrs – broke their crosses, burned their Bibles, and raised the Islamic flag in triumph. One video depicts a Muslim “freedom fighter” smashing a Virgin Mary statue to shouts of Islam’s victory cry, “Allahu Akbar!”
Now consider the rules that organizations like ISIL enforce on the people living in the territories they occupy – or the inevitable “talibanization” of societies where Islamic supremacists hold sway. A Syrian news clip recounts the following new laws ISIL promulgated in a statement it issued soon after taking over Raqqah:
- Women are banned from sitting on chairs (as reported verbatim).
- All women are obligated to wear Islamic attire, such as the niqab and burqa (which cover the entire body and face); sweaters, jeans, and makeup of any kind are strictly banned.
- Female clothing is not to be displayed in shop windows, and only women are allowed to work there; if a man is found on the grounds, the shop faces closure.
- Women are banned from seeing male gynecologists.
- Smoking – cigarettes, water pipes, etc. – is banned. Violators could face the death penalty; shops found selling cigarettes are to be burned to the ground.
- All barbershops are to be closed down and men forbidden from having short hair, wearing modern hairstyles, or using hair products; men are also forbidden from wearing low-waist jeans.
- Anyone who uses the word “Daash” (an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Arabic) will receive 70 whippings; the organization is to be referred to by its proper name.
The punishments are indeed severe: swindling taxi drivers face repercussions ranging from chopped hands to chopped heads; the reason cited is that their swindling may somehow interfere with a passenger’s worship (e.g., a Muslim seeking to go to mosque at the proper time). Likewise, shop owners who do not shut down during prayer times must face the consequences.
All this is a reminder that, while the Islamic jihad may lead to brief, spectacular forms of terror – massacres, beheadings, rapes, bombed churches – its aftermath and goal, purportedly the creation of a “perfect Islamic society,” is “spectacular” in its own way, especially for women, who become virtually invisible members of society.
Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians. A Mideast and Islam specialist, he is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Hoover Institution Media Fellow, 2013.