Inside IS’ Mosul: No Fuel, New Fashions and Banned Christian Water Workers
It has been several weeks since Sunni Muslim extremists took over the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Locals continue to adapt to their new circumstances; tensions are rising because of fighting outside the city, fuel and food stocks continue to dwindle and the Sunni militia are starting to enforce their more extreme rules.
All traces of the Iraqi state are being erased in Mosul. Just over two weeks after gunmen from Sunni extremist militias took over the northern Iraqi city, there are no other flags here anymore – just black flags of different sizes fluttering on various rooftops. The flags are similar to those placed around the city every year during the sacred Islamic month of Muharram but the difference is that all of the extremists’ flags are black while the festival flags were coloured.
The first sign of the fact that the Iraqi state has left comes at Mosul’s main court buildings. Only a few days after fighters from the extremist group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which recently changed its name to the Islamic State, or IS, took over the city, local man Muyasar al-Hattab went to the city courts. He had worked at the court and he wanted to know what was going to happen to him and his colleagues now.
A bearded man with a gun was guarding the court buildings and he told al-Hattab that the former court, in its previous incarnation, was illegal because it operated using laws created by humans, rather than laws created by God. “Our new law is the Koran and Sunnah [the Sunni Muslim version of Islam],” the bearded gunman told him.
Al-Hattab left the place where he had worked for 25 years – he had never seen the court buildings as quiet as they were that day – taking his memories of the place with him, knowing he was unlikely to ever return while the city was controlled by the IS group.
The people of Mosul have gossiped about the courts and their application of Sharia law – laws based upon the Islamic religion; they say that every court is now headed by a cleric, who was chosen by the IS group, and that cleric gives the verdict, no matter what kind of case he is presiding over and whether he has any knowledge of the subject matter or not.