Members of the al Qaeda offshoot group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, reportedly carried out seven public executions this week, and mounted several of their victims’ bloodied bodies on metal poles — a crucifixion-type message to their enemies: Opponents of the faith will face harsh punishments.
“What they are conveying is those who oppose ISIS rule oppose God’s rule, and those who are enemies of ISIS are enemies of God and deserve the highest form of punishment possible,” said Abbas Barzegar, assistant professor of Islamic studies at Georgia State University, in CNN.
The jihadist group executed seven in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa on Tuesday. At least two of those victims were then strung up on the pole — and three days later, the crucified bodies were still hanging, CNN reported.
The executed who weren’t crucified were all under the age of 18, said Abu Ibrahim, a member of a group established to oppose ISIS. And one, he said, was a student in seventh grade, CNN reported.
One crucifixion captured on video and posted on social media showed the body of a man tied to a wooden cross propped against a small building with the ISIS flag and name painted in the background.
“These violent acts are part of a fundamentalist revival campaign, but these forms of ancient punishment were rarely is ever seen in the Muslim world in recent centuries,” Mr. Barzegar said, in CNN. “It has become a standard feature of fringe Islamist groups to revive these outdated practices in an effort to bring back what they believe is authentic.”