American forces uncovered a veritable treasure trove of information on a raid in Syria earlier in the year that killed Abu Sayyaf and captured his wife. Abu Sayyaf was a Tunisian militant whose real name was Fathi ben Awn ben Jildi Murad al-Tunisi, according to Reuters.
Among the information found was a document which gave religious approval to removing organs from live captives, or “apostates” in order to save the life of another Muslim. The ruling stated that even if the captive is killed, the practice is authorized. This discovery has raised the possibility that the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIS, is trafficking in human body parts to fund its operations.
“The apostate’s life and organs don’t have to be respected and may be taken with impunity,” says the document, which is in the form of a fatwa, or religious ruling, from the Islamic State’s Research and Fatwa Committee. “Organs that end the captive’s life if removed: The removal of that type is also not prohibited,” Fatwa Number 68 says, according to the U.S. government.
The document also authorizes cannibalism in certain circumstances. “A group of Islamic scholars have permitted, if necessary, one to kill the apostate in order to eat his flesh, which is part of benefiting from his body,” it says.
Iraq has previously accused the Islamic State of trafficking in human body parts to earn revenue. The practice can be highly lucrative. Information was also released by the U.S. government of ISIS trafficking in stolen antiquities from the region.