9 Jan 2016

IS militant kills mother in front of hundreds

11:09 am on 9 January 2016

An Islamic State militant carried out a public "execution" of his mother because she asked him to leave the group, activists say.

Alleged ISIL fighters raising their weapons as they stand on a vehicle mounted with the trademark Jihadists' flag at an undisclosed location in Anbar province

Alleged IS fighters raising their weapons as they stand on a vehicle mounted with the trademark Jihadists' flag in Anbar province Photo: AFP

Ali Saqr, 21, killed his mother Lena al-Qasem, 45, outside the post office in Raqqa, Syria, eyewitnesses said.

Raqqa had served as IS' de facto capital since the group captured the city in August 2013.

IS does not tolerate any dissent and imposes brutal punishments, often carried out in public.

UK-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) and activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RIBSS) reported the incident. RIBSS however said that the woman was killed for the crime of apostasy.

Lena al-Qasem had reportedly told her son that the US-led military alliance fighting IS would "wipe out" the group, and tried to convince him to leave the city with her.

Her son is then said to have informed the group of her comment. They then ordered that she be killed.

Ali Saqr is reported to have shot his mother outside the post office where she worked, in front of hundreds of people.

IS had killed at least 2000 people for apostasy - abandoning Islam - just as it had murdered others for homosexuality or supposedly practising magic, SOHR said.

It's the macabre twist of having Lena al-Qasem's son kill her that has captured the world's attention.

As the air onslaught on IS in Raqqa intensified, there had recently been an apparent rise in the public murder of residents there for trying to tell the world what was happening or challenging the group's rule with their behaviour or desire to escape.

A young woman, Ruqia Hasan, was killed for writing about life under IS in the city, even as she tried to continue living as normally as possible.

Before it was taken over by IS, Raqqa was held by other rebel groups - some still true to the original impulse of political opposition to President Assad.

Many left, some were killed, but others remain - their unsilenced voices a rebuke to IS as the group faces an intensifying onslaught in Raqqa and elsewhere.

IS, a jihadist group which follows its own extreme version of Sunni Islam, took over large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

-BBC