Deir Ezzor – Sound and Picture

IS depends in managing its controlled areas on several institutions or “Diwans” as they may call them, such as judicial Diwan, Hosba Diwan, Health Diwan .. etc. Just as any other dictatorial ruler, IS worked through those divisions to extend its influence, leaving no freedom or option for the public to manage their own interests.

“Sound and Picture” as a contributor to revealing the reality about IS and its propaganda, highlights in this report IS’s methods of establishing those institutions which “do not live up to be more than groups of individuals managing a gang that only cares for its own affairs not the interests of the people”

IS strengthens its influence based on quantity rather than quality, and this is contradicted with what IS promotes. It counts on “blind obedience” without taking into account the social status or the level of education of people it relies on. Therefore, it is easy to find many of the “ignorant people” in charge of religious, social or even military positions, in spite of their bad reputation or lack of awareness and perceptions about the nature of work entrusted to them.

At the beginning of its control over large areas in Deir Ezzor, Raqqa and Aleppo, IS managed to exploit the need of many cities and towns of facilities in many aspects of life. And with IS need for building a strong influence to ensure its survival and right after stabilization phase and the expulsion of the armed opposition factions, IS appointed “Sharia officials” who were made responsible for legal and religious matters and who later adapted a repressive style just like Al-Assad regime.

These Sharia officials occupied management positions within the ranks of IS, especially in the judicial system (known as Diwan Alqadaa or Judicial Diwan). Despite the significant role of such positions, these immigrants did not have in fact any legitimate knowledge to carry out the functions properly.

IS did not depend on the competencies of the people in those areas. Instead, it worked on chasing and expelling them under various pretexts, such as dealing with political or armed opposition groups, to rely only on its followers and supporters who underwent Sharia courses for no more than two month. According to information obtained by “Sound and Picture”, Sharia courses are concerned with the basics of atonement and judging without witnesses, especially when it comes to adultery, homosexuality and seizing properties”. After the end of the course, IS gives the Sharia official permission to give death sentences in cases of apostasy, blasphemy and many other charges.

Sharia officials are known to be narrow minded, harsh judging, ignorant to the Islamic jurisprudence, as well as being takfiri in their speech towards anyone who contravenes IS. Not to mention the social problems and the segregation. Many trespasses were committed by them to the extent of taking the lives of people by unfair sentences, and that was admitted by IS itself which executed Sharia official few months ago in Mayadeen city in the countryside of Dier Ezzor, for “unjustly taking properties of the Muslims unjustly and embezzling of Muslims funds from the treasury”

Sharia officials’ roles vary depending on their loyalty to IS, as well as the volume of services provided by these for the benefit of the princes and leaders of IS. Sometimes belonging to a certain tribe plays a role in the influence of Sharia official. While the nationalities of the immigrants vary between Kuwaiti, Saudi, and Tunisian, Iraqi nationals occupy the highest positions in the “judicial Diwan “.

These Sharia officials work in several areas, most notably in the resolution of disputes through Sharia courts. They also give sharia lessons and Friday speeches, recruit people in IS army, launch and Apply the Islamic Hudud, and has a considerable influence in areas of their presence in the light of the continued policy of “oppression” pursued by IS.

It is worth mentioning that these practices and violations are mostly based on Fatwa opinions or false decisions by Sharia officials, which in turn empower the security authority, such as Hosba or the Islamic police, to apply those violations and orders, which could be death sentence for accusing the “victim” of blasphemy or dealing with the Syrian opposition factions, or other accusations which are not based on written or legal texts as far as judgments are usually issued by people who are anonymous to the public, as Sharia officials usually use fake names despite their leading positions in the religious landscape in IS areas.

In this context, we should mention what was said by Kamal Zrouq, one of the Sharia officials, in a Friday speech in Raqqa, he said: “If the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was alive, he would join IS”. It should be also noted what IS has announced through its websites of the execution of Abu Jaafar al-Hattab, a Sharia judge, because of his exaggeration in blasphemy accusations. As well as the execution of Abu Omar al-Kuwaiti, one of Sharia officials, for accusing al-Baghdadi of blasphemy for not accusing Qaeda leader “Zawahiri” of blasphemy.

These examples which were acknowledged by IS are a clear indication of the ignorance of the people who lead the religious domain in IS’ areas in the name of so-called “caliphate.”

“Sound and Picture” confirms the information obtained by its reporters in IS-controlled areas, which proved that the high level of violations committed by sharia officials has claimed the lives of dozens of innocent people, as in the case in the city of Abu Kamal in east of Syria, where two women were executed on charges of “practicing magic” to tell women’s families later that the judgment was unfair and that IS is willing to pay the blood money. IS also admitted the faults made by three of Sharia officials in the sentences imposed on people from Alshaitat tribe, and issued a decision to execute the three of them.

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Sound and Picture organization: We are a group of Syrian human rights activists. We noticed the lack of bodies which document abuses against civilians inside Syria, therefore we decided to establish this project, it is specialized to document the violations which have committed by all sides in the ongoing conflict in Syria against civilians in a professional way. The organization is documenting all kinds of violations, and working on the accounting for the groups which committed these violations by the international community. The organization is completely independent, and does not follow any political or military bodies, whether inside or outside Syria.

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