ISIS Video Showcases Religious Police Activity In Al-Raqqa

June 9, 2015



On June 3, 2015, the information office for the Islamic State (ISIS) in Al-Raqqa province posted a 13-minute video documenting the religious police (Al-Hisba) efforts to enforce Islamic law in city streets and marketplaces.[1] The video also shows the confiscation of cigarettes and alcohol, as well as raids on homes of people engaged in witchcraft. The video ends with the public beheading of a man accused of engaging in witchcraft in front of a crowd of onlookers. It should be mentioned that Al-Hisba members war brown uniforms that feature a religious police emblem.


Al-Hisba uniforms featuring the religious police emblem



The video opens with an Al-Hisba commander telling his subordinates of the importance of enforcing Islamic laws and dictates. It then accompanies Al-Hisba teams patrolling the city by vehicle and on foot. One team can be seen patrolling the roads and calling on residents to hurry to prayer on a loudspeaker. Another team visits a barbershop to make sure that customers' beards are groomed in accordance with religious guidelines. The video then shows Al-Hisba teams raiding a truck and confiscating bootleg cases of alcoholic drinks, as well as a raid on a truck that was smuggling alcohol hidden in its sidewalls.


Al-Hisba member visits barbershop to ensure that beards are groomed according to religious law


The video continues with a night raid on the house of a man suspected of engaging in witchcraft. Before leaving to arrest the suspect, the team leader explains to his subordinates the importance of their role. He says: "My brothers, the act that you are about to commit is one of Allah the Almighty's favorite acts. Those whom you are going to reach soon engage in corruption in the land, and separate a husband from his wife. They play a decisive role in bringing woe upon the Muslims. So I pray to Allah to heal the image of the believers by killing them." The religious police team then raids the home of one of the suspects, arrests him, and confiscates various talismans, writings, and objects used for witchcraft.

The video ends with the beheading of an elderly man named who possessed talismans and engaged in witchcraft. Religious police members place the accused's neck on a chopping block, and one of them beheads him with a sword.


Al-Hisba members prepare to behead a man accused of sorcery

[1], June 3, 2015.


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