Documents show ISIS obsessions: beards and concubines

ZARQA/SHURA (Iraq) • After ISIS conquered villages in northern Iraq, it spelled out in minute detail the rules of its self-proclaimed caliphate, from beard length to alms to guidelines for taking women as sex slaves.

ISIS documents and posters, obtained in villages captured by Iraqi forces, highlight a tight and comprehensive system of rule by the militants, who went to great lengths to explain their extremist philosophy.

The documents and other materials, printed with logos of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), were found by Reuters in offices used by the group until a few days ago.

A green wallet-size insert lays out guidelines on how to pray properly. It shows a young boy undertaking ablutions. "Wash your feet from the direction of your toes down to your heels," it said.

A five-page pamphlet with pictures of gold bracelets, diamond rings and wheat on the front spelled out instructions on how to give alms, an obligation under Islam. Failure to do so would mean a penalty.

A pink and red pamphlet includes 32 questions and answers on how to deal with female captives.

A senior ISIS cleric has the authority to distribute female captives among its fighters, it said. "Non-Muslim women can be taken as concubines," according to the leaflet.

Militants can own two sisters as concubines but only have sex with one. "Pre-pubescent girls can be taken as concubines. You cannot have penetrative sex but you can still enjoy them," the leaflet added.

A question in the pamphlet asks if a group of militants can share a concubine. The answer: only a single owner can sleep with a concubine.

In a huge slick poster entitled "Why I Should Destroy My Dish", the extremists provided 20 reasons, revolving mostly around the immorality of satellite television programmes.

Reason eight: "Because satellite channels show stories of love and naked women and inappropriate language." Reason 10: "Because satellite channels normalise men being effeminate and sissies."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2016, with the headline 'Documents show ISIS obsessions: beards and concubines'. Print Edition | Subscribe