Jihadi Group in Syria Amputates Alleged Thief's Hand
In the first of its kind, a hard-line Islamist group vying for power in Syria, live “tweeted” the amputation of an accused thief’s hand on Twitter.
The gruesome photos released by the group ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) on a live internet feed came in a series: The first one showed a blind-folded man being held next to a table with one man dressed in a traditional white robe reading a statement. Standing next to him is a man in a traditional black balaclava holding a large sword.
The second shot shows the man being retrained while the sword comes down on his hand. The last shot shows the man looking like he has fainted with his severed hand lying bloodied on the table.
ISI claimed that the man asked for the punishment "in order to cleanse his sins."
Twitter subsequently suspended the account from its website.
ISIS, an outgrowth of the Al Qaeda-linked ISI (Islamic State in Iraq) was formed in Iraq nearly a year ago but was disowned by Al Qaeda Feb. 3 for being too extreme. The group, composed of mainly foreign jihadis, has become a major player in the war against Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.
After gaining control of Raqqa in northern Syria, ISIS recently imposed dhimma status (second-class) status on the Christian population according to sharia law in exchange for protection. According to ISIS, 20 Christian leaders accepted the terms, which were: payment of 17 kilos of gold as jizya [tax on non-Muslims], refraining from any public expression of Christianity and no renovation of churches, ringing church bells or Christian prayer in public.
ISIS also forbade Christians to possess weapons and to sell pork or alcohol to Muslims.
In related news, ISIS agreed to withdraw from the border town of Azaz in northern Syria on Friday, handing the city over to the Free Syrian Army. The first-time-ever retreat followed a threat by a rival jihadi group, the Al-Nusra Front, who demanded that ISIS leave Syria.
"I swear by God, if you again refuse God's judgment, and do not stop your plague and pushing your ignorant ideology on the Muslim nation then you will be expelled, even from Iraq," Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, head of Al-Nusra Front, is quoted as saying said in an internet message.
Residents had reported that a 16-year-old commander of ISIS had ruled the town with strict sharia law.