ISIS In Syria Bans World Cup Except For Themselves

ISIS In Syria Bans World Cup Except For Themselves

The Sunni jihadist group ISIS continues to conquer territory in Iraq, while its leaders have declared an Islamic caliphate — in a bold bid for power across the Muslim world. But back in Syria, where ISIS has been a growing presence for more than a year, a citizen-reporter for an independent Syrian news site recounts day-to-day life under the group, looking at everything from local prison conditions to women’s dress to World Cup attendance.

Tahrir Syria’s reporter Abu Ibrahim describes how the jihadist group is maintaining dire conditions in its prison, which is located in the basement of the city’s municipal building and features a torture chamber, complete with an electric chair and various tools of the trade.

Out in the sun, day-to-day life for most civilians in Riqqa appears stable, though uncertain. To begin, ISIS members come from all corners of the world and adopt sometimes divergent attitudes: In Abu Ibrahim’s telling, a Saudi ISIS member reportedly saved one local from getting arrested, while Tunisian militants remain the most extremist and aggressive. Along with Saudis, Egyptians are reputed to be the most lax of all ISIS militants.

Like the sometimes contradictory attitudes of the militants, new laws introduced by ISIS in Riqqa have also been a source of confusion and tension for locals. Militants also reportedly seem to follow different rules than the rest of the population, often living better than most other Riqqa residents. One notable example came at the beginning of the World Cup, which, as would be expected, interested both sides. Locals told Abu Ibrahim that only militants were allowed to watch the games, while civilians were prohibited because it would "distract from the remembrance of God." Whole families in Riqqa were allegedly prevented from watching, while cafés were raided and “viewing equipment” confiscated.

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Iran To Offer Master's And PhD In Morality Enforcement

For those aiming to serve the Islamic Republic of Iran as experts to train the public morality agents, there are now courses to obtain the "proper" training.

Properly dressed in the holy city of Qom.

Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.

Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.

The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.

A woman in Tehran walks past a mural of an Iranian flag

The traffic police chief recently said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes

Rouzbeh Fouladi/ZUMA

New academic discipline

Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.

Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."

Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.

Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.

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