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Documents Show Islamic State Seeks Power, Control


Destroyed buildings in the city of Ramadi, January 16, 2016. Iraq and the US say Ramadi is the first major success for Iraq's U.S.-backed army to take back areas controlled by the Islamic State terrorist group. (REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani)

Destroyed buildings in the city of Ramadi, January 16, 2016. Iraq and the US say Ramadi is the first major success for Iraq's U.S.-backed army to take back areas controlled by the Islamic State terrorist group. (REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani)


Papers collected from the Islamic State terror group show the militants’ dark world.

The documents show how IS militants act -- anxious, obsessed, harsh and horrible. And they show how important control of Internet access is to their cause.

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi of the Middle East Forum, a research group in Washington, D.C., gathered the documents. They are published on his website.

Sharia law

Many of the documents tell people how to pray, fast and pay attention to religious observances. Others tell about harsh punishments for crimes and violations of Sharia law. These include whippings, amputations, stoning and crucifixion.

One document says a thief must have his right hand cut off. It says the hand must be hung around the thief’s neck and the person must show himself to others for three days.

The militants worry that medical workers will leave towns the group controls in Syria and Iraq, the papers show.

The group limits travel, fearing people will leave areas it controls. Women younger than 50 are not permitted to travel unless they are with their husband or a male family member.

Only one person may travel with someone who is sick. All travelers must give the IS group ownership papers for their homes and cars. The group believes this will ensure that the travelers return.

And it controls electronic information.

Controlling access to the internet

As the bombing campaign by the United States and its coalition partners strengthened, the group banned GPS devices and mobile phones. And it banned signs on cars that could identify them as Islamic State property.

It has recently banned satellite TV. And it limits access to the Internet. It says members may not have email accounts or take pictures of battles.

Some Internet cafes remain open in Raqqa city, the center of the group’s activity in Syria. But their owners must record the identity of everyone who uses the Internet “except soldiers of the Islamic State and their families.”

Another order says anyone who has “an Internet connection inside his home, office or any private place” will be severely punished.

Al-Tamimi says punishment became more severe as the group grew larger and captured more territory. He says “the degree and speed of implementation of Sharia was slower” when the group first began capturing territory.

In recent months, the terrorists have killed media activists in Syria and southern Turkey who try to fight the group online.

Al-Tamimi and the Middle East Forum have gathered the documents since the Islamic State terrorist group took control of large parts of Iraq and Syria. Al-Tamimi created the website with the documents in January 2015. It is updated often.

I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.

Jamie Dettmer in Rome prepared this report for VOANews.com. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted his story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

access – n. a way of getting near, at or to something or someone (often + to)

account – n. an arrangement in which a person uses the Internet or e-mail services of a particular company

whip – v. to hit (a person or animal) with a whip or with something that is like a whip

amputate – v. to cut off (part of a person's body)

crucify – v. to kill (someone) by nailing or tying his or her hands and feet to a cross

degree – n. an amount or level that can be measured or compared to another amount or level

implement – v. to begin to do or use (something, such as a plan); to make (something) active or effective

Sharia – n. the religious laws based on the Koran that Muslims follow

GPS (global positioning system) – n. a radio system that uses signals from satellites to tell you where you are and to give you directions to other places

ensure – v. to make (something) sure, certain or safe

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