“Every smoker should be aware that with every cigarette he smokes in a state of trance and vanity is disobeying God.”
Whether you believe that quote (allegedly made by an Islamic State official) or not, it’s getting harder to accept that these sort of news stories are true.
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This one, featured in the Mirror online, is so extreme it beggars belief. Is this stuff really happening or are our mainstream media simply buying into anti-Islam propaganda? Either way, it’s not good.
The Mirror reports:
ISIS take a hard line on alcohol and smoking as Syrians who can’t kick the habit are forced to go to Turkish border to smoke.
Hardened Islamic State fanatics are beheading anybody caught smoking.
The Jihadists claim that smoking is a type of slow suicide and that is forbidden in the Koran.
The Los Angeles Times reports that a severed head was found in the Syrian city of Al-Mayadeen with a cigarette still between its lips.
Next to the decapitated body someone had written a sign saying, “This is not permissible, Sheikh”.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the victim was a deputy police chief.
Smoking is usually allowed under Islam but ultra conservative interpretations of the Koran, like that used by Islamic State, condemn the habit as a type of suicide.
Since roughly half of Syria’s men smoke, some with traditional water pipes, there will likely be more beheadings to come.
Those struggling to give up smoking are having to go beyond the boundaries of the Caliphate on the Turkish border.
The LA Times quoted one Syrian named Mohammad Khalil as saying, “I’m enjoying it while I can.”
He added: “Once I go back across I can’t smoke in the open.”
An Islamic State official apparently said: “Every smoker should be aware that with every cigarette he smokes in a state of trance and vanity is disobeying God.
“Three days following the issuance of the statement, selling tobacco and shisha will be strictly prohibited and those who insist on selling them will bring injustice upon themselves and upon other people.
“All tobacco quantities will be burned and the seller will be punished according to Sharia.”
Those who violate the smoking ban face a minimum penalty of 40 lashes with a whip.
However, the consequences of a repeated offense can be as severe as prison time or even execution.
These days, as a journalist, writer and editor I write a wide variety of features, frivolous and serious. I work mainly for women's magazines and national newspapers and also enjoy writing for independent news outlets and websites - the sort that publish stories the mainstream media fail to report.