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Islamic State Video Shows Militants Enforcing Sharia Law in Kirkuk Province

A video released by the Islamic State shows militants "promoting virtue and preventing vice" in Iraq's Kirkuk province.

by Alice Speri
Nov 7 2014, 7:55pm

Image via YouTube

A video shared by the Islamic State on social media this week shows militants in Kirkuk province, in Iraqi Kurdistan, carrying out the orders of the sharia office they instituted in the province.

The video, which was published on Thursday, shows militants "promoting virtue and preventing vice," in the narrator's words — including by taking down ads for tobacco, confiscating and destroying haram, or forbidden products like cigarettes or "improper" women's clothing from local stores, and blowing up shrines.

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A speaker in the video identifies the area as Al Riyadh Hisbah, in the Hawijah district of the province. Islamic State militants seized control of several areas southwest of Kirkuk in June during an offensive that gained them control over much of northern Iraq.

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In the video, Islamic State militants can be seen arguing with some of the shopkeepers whose stores they have raided for "forbidden" products.

"We want to help you," one of them tells a young man looking rather unhappy about the interaction. "We want to cooperate in goodness and faith. Did we come and take from you anything that is halal? Really now, answer frankly. Did we take anything that God has decreed is permitted? Or did we ever give something to you that is prohibited? Or instruct you to sin?"

In the final scene of the video a member of the Islamic State is shown preaching to a crowd and describing himself as "a soldier of God."

"One of our obligations is to preserve chastity, and uphold modesty and purity in our societies," he says. "This chastity has been compromised due to being ruled by heretics and apostates."

"Our duty as soldiers of God is to look after the Muslim woman and protect her," he adds. "God has decreed that men should die in the defense of women... This woman is a jewel. In our religion, woman is a precious jewel we want to safeguard."

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Follow Alice Speri on Twitter: @alicesperi