VICE News report on the Islamic State. Part 3: Enforcing Sharia in Raqqa

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In the third episode (of five) in VICE News’s series on the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), we see what happens when a political group has complete power to rule using sharia law. It ain’t pretty, and remember that in many countries Muslims favor making sharia the law of the land.

In this video from Raqqa, the IS sharia enforcers (“hisbah”), are particularly scary: they appear genial but are armed and determined that their dictates be obeyed. Women must be covered from top to toe, there must be no “Western” signs, and of course no eating or drinking during the day during Ramadan. Flogging is the usual punishment for infraction.

The station’s notes on the episode:

The Islamic State now governs its caliphate from the north central Syrian city of Raqqa, which was once a relatively westernized agricultural hub. As the State’s power base, Raqqa is where it imposes its version of Sharia law throughout large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

The “Hisbah” are the new Sharia police. In the latest episode of The Islamic State, VICE News joins them on their daily patrols during Ramadan, and witnesses how they check on shops and scrutinize produce, while at the same time ensuring their strict rules on women’s appearances are adhered to.

We are also taken to an Islamic State prison and speak with inmates accused of abusing drugs and selling alcohol. There we learn firsthand of the prisoners’ punishments, and how they have since “rediscovered” their devotion to the Islamic faith since their incarceration — but are yet to be granted permission to declare their allegiance to the caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

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On a related note, here’s a video of Maryam Namazie, tireless worker for human rights (especially women’s rights under Islam), praising Richard Dawkins for focusing on the problems of Islam; she then tears up an ISIS flag. This just occurred at the World Humanist Congress in Oxford:

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Namazie explains a bit more on her website, where she criticizes humanists who target other “aggressive atheists” (presumably including Dawkins) rather than Islamists, a statement that won’t win her friends in some circles:

At the World Humanist Congress this weekend, I urged Humanists to stop self-flagellating and called on them to focus on the fascists of our era – the Islamists – rather than looking inwards to the so-called “aggressive atheists”. It’s during a question and answer period with Richard Dawkins where I also mention his contribution to those coming out as ex-Muslims.

I then rip the ISIS flag.

Most amusing is the woman who thinks I am calling Muslims fascists. Pretty sad that there are so many people that can still not distinguish between a Muslim and a fascist. Islamists are the fascists not Muslims. Try focusing on the fascists for a change and stop being so racist as to think that all Muslims are far-Right Islamists!

I invite her and the others at the Congress – like Alom Shaha – who think that criticising Islam and Islamism are bigotry to come to our October conference and learn the differences by people – Muslim and none – who are on the frontlines…

You can still buy tickets for the Secular Conference and some of you need to buy it more than others!