Syrian Rebels Seek Strict Form of Sharia
Right, a strict form of Sharia because that worked so well for the people of Iran and Afghanistan. All that fighting, suffering, and dying…
What kind of choice is brutal dictatorship vs. brutal theocracy?
TELL RIF’AT, SYRIA // More than 18 months into the uprising against the Syrian president, Bashar Al Assad, Islamist militants who favour a strict form of Sharia appear to be gaining a formidable sway in the ranks of the anti-regime forces.
In dozens of villages and towns across northern Syria, the Assad regime and local functionaries of the ruling Baath party no longer have day-to-day control.
Into the power vacuum have stepped those with guns or money, some whom are urging the establishment to adopt some form of Islamic law in a post-Assad Syria.
Already, some rebels and other opponents of Mr Assad have sought to implement their particularly harsh version of Sharia on a small scale, particularly using corporal punishment against suspected criminals and government supporters.
Rebel interrogators in this town, about 20 kilometres from the Turkish border, said they had beaten the legs of detainees with sticks.
Insurgents in nearby Mare’ threatened to amputate the hands of alleged thieves and paraded them through town in an effort to publicly shame them, residents said.
In Aleppo, where fierce fighting between insurgents and government forces has raged for weeks, one rebel leader said he had ordered lashings using rubber hoses and knotted ropes. […]
Syria is an amalgam of religious, political and ethnic groups, and after more than four decades of authoritarian rule - first by Hafez Assad and then by his son, Bashar - it is impossible to know what political arrangements that Syrians will choose once they are free of the Assad yoke.
Still, whenever a political transition occurs through the barrel of a gun, those who lead the fighting typically have a powerful say in what happens afterward.
At the moment, the ranks of the anti-Assad forces appear to boast a significant number of Sunni Islamist militants who support a strict form of Sharia after, they hope, the president is forced from power.
Mr Yacoub is the top cleric of Tell Rif’at’s judicial committee, formed about two months ago by the rebels’ regional revolutionary council.
The council’s leaders command the powerful Tawhid Brigade that invaded Aleppo last month. Its farmers and labourers are considered the most organised of Syria’s rebel factions, which operate loosely under the banner of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). […]