WASHINGTON, August 9, 2014 — Even as America is conducting military airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq, reports that Islamic State jihadi fighters have stoned to death a young woman accused of adultery have been verified by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
On July 18, the woman, clad head to toe in black, was placed in a hole and as residents gathered, fighters told them to carry out her sentence – death by stoning. The Islamic State (IS) has declared an Islamic “caliphate” over the lands of Syria and Iraq.
“The Islamic State carried out its first sentence of death by stoning against a woman in Tabaqa, accusing her of adultery,” said the Britain-based Observatory.
The jihadi fighters, described as foreign extremists, stoned Faddah Ahmad to death. The stoning took place after dark. “Even when she was hit with stones she did not scream or move,” said Abu Ibrahim Raqqawi an opposition activist who said he witnessed the death.
Raqqawi said he could not see blood on the body because of the black clothes she was wearing and that Ahmad died silently. “They then took the dead body in one of their cars and left,” he said. Raqqawi also says Ahmad appeared to be unconscious and that she may have been first taken to a hospital where she was given anesthesia.
Ms. Ahmad, who is reported to have been a widow, was the second stoning in 24 hours. Earlier, 26-year-old Shamseh Abdullah was stoned in Tabqa by Islamic State fighters for having sex outside marriage.
One unnamed witness said that in the Tabqa stoning, residents also refused to take part, and that the act was carried out by Islamic State members.
The U.S. Embassy in Syria, in a statement posted on its Twitter account, condemned the “barbaric stoning” of a woman in Tabqa. International human rights groups did not report the stoning, and Human Rights Watch said it had no independent confirmation.
Jihadis from the Islamic State group have captured large pieces of territory in Northern Syria where they are terrorizing residents who fail to live up to their strict interpretation of Islamic laws. 14-year-old boy was tied to a cross-like structure and left him for several hours in the scorching summer sun, punishment for not fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Reported atrocities by the Islamic State include beheading children who they declare as Apostates. Other children as young as six and seven are being recruited, and brainwashed, by the Islamic State jihadis (see video below).
Shiite Muslims and others whom the jihadis categorize as apostates are also targets. In Iraq, Islamic State militants have driven members of the Yazidi religious minority out of a string of towns and villages, prompting President Obama to send airstrikes and humanitarian relief.
Kamil Amin, the spokesman for Iraq’s Human Rights Ministry, reports that hundreds of Yazidi women under the age of 35 are being held by the Islamic State group in schools in Iraq’s second largest city Mosul.
“People were shocked and couldn’t understand what was going on. Many were disturbed by the idea that Saudis and Tunisians were issuing (such) orders,” Raqqawi said in an interview via Skype.
The two cases were first reported by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which collects information through a network of activists around the country. Bassam Al-Ahmad, a spokesman for the Violations Documentation Center, a Syrian group that tracks human rights violations, also confirmed the stoning.
The Islamic State group is demanding residents follow extremely restrictive rules, most which make women and girls particularly vulnerable.
“This is just a more sort of extreme manifestation of those restrictive rules that are all in violation of international” human rights law, Al-Ahmad said.
The Hazm Movement, a northern Syria rebel group confirmed the stonings did take place saying they “contradict the principals of the revolution.”
“The world should know that every day they delay real support to active moderate groups is direct support to extremist factions,” the group said in response to written questions from The Associated Press.
President Obama is under criticism for not having reacted to the growing threat of ISIS, delaying a response while waiting for the Iraqi government and others to control the surge of the jihadi movement and for now declaring what he will, and won’t do in combating the group.
In response to Obama sending military strikes against it, IS has issued a pointed threat to the United States:
“I say to America that the Islamic Caliphate has been established,” Abu Mosa, a spokesman for IS told VICE Media in a video interview posted online Thursday. “Don’t be cowards and attack us with drones. Instead send your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq.”
“We will humiliate them everywhere, God willing, and we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House,” he added.
Bassem Mroue, AFP / AP provided information for this report.
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