Gulf News

Extremist groups impose Taliban-like regulation­s on Iraqi neighbourh­oods

Countless prohibitio­ns are forced upon families and women

- BY BASIL ADAS Correspond­ent

The Islamic State of Iraq led by Abu Omar Al Baghdadi, backed by Abu Hamza Al Masri, the present leader of Al Qaida in Iraq, announced the establishm­ent of the Islamic State of Iraq in some Sunni neighbourh­oods in Baghdad late last March. This move was considered to be a defiant and explicit challenge to the Iraqi government.

Ragheed, an Iraqi citizen residing in Al Jamia, a Sunni neighbourh­ood, told Gulf News, “Readers may think I am talking about a district in Afghanista­n under the rule of Taliban, not about the Al Jamia neighbourh­ood in western Baghdad.” He added, “It is taboo for men to wear jeans, shave their beards and use perfume. As for women, the list of prohibitio­ns is endless ... it is forbidden to drive a car, go to university, put on make-up. It is also not permissabl­e religiousl­y to use the internet or download songs or cell phone rings.”

It is also prohibited among extremist groups to install satellite dishes, which are considered sources of moral and intellectu­al corruption.

Elham Mahmoud, an Iraqi university student, told Gulf News, “Some district warlords began forc- ing families to marry off their daughters to men from Al Qaida and the Islamic State fighters. Some girls left their fiances because they are not followers of these two groups.”

She added, “Frankly, I left the district I live in a few weeks ago because it is under their control, the situation has become critical.”

In Dora, a district south of Baghdad, Al Qaida and Islamic State Fighters pervade the streets. Armed men have two missions. The first is to confront Iraqi and American forces and the second is to ensure the applicatio­n of the Taliban model of laws and family abidance.

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