A 2011 fatwa prohibiting marriage to or association with terrorists in Anbar province has been widely successful, Iraqi officials and religious leaders say.
The fatwa, issued by the Anbar Scholars Council, followed a similar religious edict issued by the Council of Iraqi Scholars in 2010, which was read in mosques across Iraqi cities and called for "blocking financial and moral support to terrorists".
Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq said the Anbar fatwa was supported by religious and tribal groups in several Iraqi provinces and "has so far borne fruit".
Immediately following the issue of the fatwa, 17 gunmen surrendered in Anbar after being isolated due to the people's refusal to mix with them, he said.
Anbar Scholars Council general secretary Sheikh Khalid al-Dulaimi said the ruling was unanimously endorsed by the province's scholars.
"We saw parents declining to accept marrying their daughters to terrorists, and moreover the girls themselves shunned such a marriage as well," al-Dulaimi said.
"The Scholars Council recorded the annulment of about 50 common-law marriages in the past three months of girls who became involved with gunmen accused of committing terrorist crimes," he said.
"This by itself is an accomplishment and a rescue of the girls, as some men accused of terrorist crimes had tried to mislead them and their parents by proposing marriage on the premise that they were carrying out jihad in the cause of God," he said.
Rather, he said, the men seeking to marry "were terrorists involved in shedding the blood of dozens of innocent people," and would soon abandon their brides, ending up as fugitives from the law, prisoners or even dead.
The fatwa is based on an Islamic ruling that prohibits people from entering into marriage with murderers, thieves or liars, al-Dulaimi said, noting that "all these characteristics are found in the terrorists who are still carrying on bombings and killings".
But the fatwa's success was not limited to marriage, he said, noting that it "extended to any association with terrorists, such as socialising or trading with them, or offering them houses for rent, which they used as headquarters to kill people and plan strikes against the people's security".
"We did not come up with anything new, because this is found in the essence of our faith, which calls for peace, orders us not to treat the killer and his victim equally, and commands that we do not help those who kill," al-Dulaimi said.
"The fatwa was born out of necessity, and we thank God that the citizens have abided by it," Sheikh Sameer al-Qaisi, imam at the Old Mosque of Heet, west of Ramadi, told Mawtani.
"Today, we are struggling with the problem of a full generation of children, estimated at hundreds, who are homeless, without citizenship papers, education or care," he said. "Their only fault is that their mothers accepted to marry, or the mothers' parents married them off, to some wanted gunmen in an illegal manner outside the courts."
"This by itself is considered a religiously forbidden, harmful, useless marriage," al-Qaisi said. "Here lies the reason why we forbade this type of marriage."
"Those who kill children in the streets are capable of killing their own wives inside their homes for the most trivial reason," he said. "Therefore, boycotting and shunning them is a duty, because with many of them, neither advice nor preaching would work, and the only solution is to get rid of them, or at least stay away from them and their evil."
Gunmen usually resort to common-law marriage because they do not acknowledge the authority of the Iraqi courts, said Judge Saadi al-Wakeel of the Personal Status Court in Anbar province.
They view these courts as illegitimate and see it as their duty to target court judges and clerks, he added.
Additionally, he told Mawtani, gunmen are wary of registering their names, which the authorities could then use to track them down and arrest them.
Statistics compiled by the Ministry of Human Rights and the parliamentary committee on human rights indicate that 521 children have been fathered by foreign terrorists who used false names in their common-law marriages, committee member Waleed Abboud told Mawtani.
These children, scattered around the country, are victims who have committed no wrong, he said.
"The government agreed to grant them the right to register for school and receive education and healthcare, but they have no citizenship," he said. "We are trying to resolve this legally or through a special legislation specific to them."