Monday, July 8, 2013

Syrian Islamists in Aleppo Ban Make-Up, Enforce Dress Code

The story comes from The Clarion Project.

Syrian Islamists in Aleppo Ban Make-Up, Enforce Dress Code

Syrian Islamist rebels have issued a ban on women using make up or wearing "immodest or provocative dress" in a neighborhood in the city of Aleppo.

The fatwa (a religious order) was issued by the Islamic law council in Aleppo's Fardous neighborhood. "Muslim women are banned from leaving the house in immodest dress, in tight clothing that shows off their bodies or wearing makeup on their face. It is incumbent on all our sisters to obey God and commit to Islamic etiquette," the statement on the Fardous council's Facebook page says as cited by Reuters, which reports that Aleppo residents have confirmed the news.

The fatwa has been viewed as the latest example of Islamic extremism within rebel-controlled Syrian areas. Critics have blasted the move as yet another attempt by Islamists to impose Sharia in rebel-controlled territory.

Extremist Islamist groups with links to al-Qaeda have been taking the lead in the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's rule. Their influence is felt far beyond the battlefield as they have set up administrative councils and police forces in some rebel-held areas.

The control shown by these militant groups is stirring resentment among many Syrians. There is an increase of reported incidents of Islamist councils silencing or even attacking groups with different views.

As the Clarion Project reported, a recently released video featured public beheadings of alleged Assad loyalists. The executed men were Christians, with one of the dead being a priest. Various local sources have accused Jabhat al Nusra , the Al Qaeda-affiliated radical Islamist group opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad– of carrying out the killings.

Also reported by the Clarion Project was the execution of a 15-year-old boy teenage boy in the northern city of Aleppo was accused of blasphemy and shot in front of his family by an al-Qaeda-affiliated opposition group.

European MP Nick Griffin, who was in Damascus with a fact-finding delegation in June, said that the Syrians would not accept the implementation of Sharia law.

"We’ve been able to talk with ordinary Syrians at all sorts of different levels. Something that comes out from all those people who we speak to is that Syria wasn’t perfect, but it was a secular and tolerant state where no one even cared if someone was Sunni or Shia or Christian or Jewish," Griffin said after his visit.

Imposing Sharia law could backfire against the anti-Assad forces as the most recent events in Egypt and Turkey suggest.

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