Friday, August 15, 2008

Cucumbers cost Al Qaeda public support in Iraq

A bizarre ruling banning women from buying suggestively shaped vegetables such as cucumbers, and the brutal slaying of children, lost Al Qaeda the support of the Iraqi population, it emerged yesterday.

Al Qaeda's enforcement of a severe form of Islamic law sapped support among the people for its campaign against American and Iraqi forces, allowing Arab tribal leaders to drive Al Qaeda out of the strongholds it had created.

Sheikh Hameed al-Hayyes, a Sunni tribal leader from a former Al Qaeda stronghold in the west of Iraq, said: 'I saw them slaughter a nine-year old boy like a sheep because his family didn't pledge allegiance to them.'

Life under Al Qaeda was not only violent but also farcical.

'They even killed female goats because their private parts were not covered and their tales were pointed upward,' Hayyes said.

'They regarded the cucumber as male and tomato as female. Women were not allowed to buy cucumbers, only men.'

Men would have fingers cut off for smoking, hair salons and shops selling cosmetics were bombed, and ice-cream salesmen were killed because ice cream was not available during the time of Islam's Prophet Mohammad.

'Al Qaeda wanted to kill me and blow up my shop because I sold music CDs,' said Ahmed Yasin from Samarra, north of Baghdad.

Singing, shaving and the medical treatment of women by male doctors were all among activities considered by Al Qaeda to be forbidden by Islam.

'Al Qaeda prohibited the shaving of beards and banned sideburns and long hair.

'Barbers were killed because they did not obey,' said Kais Amer, a barber from Mosul in the north of Iraq.

Leaflets threatened women with kidnap or death for not wearing an all-enveloping robe.

The forced marriage of Iraqi women and girls to al Qaeda members by tribes intimidated by the group was not uncommon.

Disgusted by such acts, Sunni Arab tribal leaders - whose men once formed the backbone of the insurgency against American and Iraqi forces - turned on Al Qaeda in late 2006, and with American backing helped to remove Al Qaeda.

Until the overthrow of former President Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraq was largely secular in outlook.

Iraqis of different sects and ethnicities intermarried, women would dress in jeans and T-shirts and Baghdad was packed with bars and discos.

America claims that Iraqi rejection of the Al Qaeda rules is one reason behind a drop in the number of bomb attacks targetting Iraqi civilians and coalition troops.


1 comment:

  1. MississippiMud,

    I heard about this on the Infidel Blogger's Alliance. In many ways, militant Islam is its own worst enemy.