Forced sobriety: ISIL cracks down on cigarettes and alcohol

Published December 5th, 2014 - 04:00 GMT

These extraordinary images from ISIS-held territory show militants piling cigarettes and alcohol onto a bonfire in a crackdown on banned goods.

Jihadists have banned drinking and smoking in occupied territories in Iraq and Syria because it is against the harsh form of Sharia law they impose.

The pictures show men piling up dozens of bottles of whisky, cans of beer and hundreds of cartons of cigarettes before setting fire to the lot while waving the black flag of ISIS and wielding assault rifles.

As part of the terror group's 'repent or die' rules imposed on towns and cities it overruns, smoking and drinking are strictly banned.

Militants were seen smashing bottles of expensive spirits before using the flammable liquids as fuel for the large fire, believed to be near Tikrit, Iraq.

Citizens of Mosul, in northern Iraq, were told after ISIS took over the stronghold: 'No drugs, no alcohol and no cigarettes allowed.'

Earlier this year in Raqqa, Syria, gunmen seized a vast haul of tobacco just days after they arrived in the city, taking all the cigarettes they could find in shops and setting them alight on a giant pyre.

A statement from the jihadists said: 'Every smoker should be aware that with every cigarette he smokes in a state of trance and vanity he is disobeying god.'

A French ISIS member who moved to Syria in 2012 was jailed in November after returning to France because he could not face the terror group's smoking ban. 

Flavien Moreau, 27, was the first French citizen to be tried for joining ISIS and was sentenced to seven years jail by a court in Paris.

Moreau tried chewing nicotine gum but returned to France after just two weeks in Syria because of he could not deal with the strict ban on cigarettes. 

According to The Week, Moreau told the court: 'I really struggled with not smoking. It was forbidden by the katiba [group of Islamist militants]. I had brought Nicorette gum with me, but it wasn't enough. I left my gun with my emir and I left.' 

However, in September, ISIS made a U-turn on their draconian ban on smoking in Kirkuk province Iraq, allowing people to buy cigarettes to boost their popularity.

The ban on booze is said to have had a detrimental effect on the Iraqi economy, as alcohol deliveries to shops and bars in areas not held by ISIS are forced to take massive detours to avoid running into the jihadists.

According to RT, cans of Heineken now cost $5, up from $1, and bottles of whisky have more than trebled in price since ISIS entered the country.

Shi'ite militia were also reported to be demanding $15,000 bribes to ensure the safety of delivery trucks, further adding to the cost of transporting alcohol to more liberal cities, such as the capital Baghdad.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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