Al-Qaeda in Iraq dictates men's clothing choices

An Iraqi man tries on a leather jacket at a shop in central Baghdad. Al-Qaeda has been threatening men and women for wearing clothes it considers un-Islamic. [Sabah Arar/AFP]

An Iraqi man tries on a leather jacket at a shop in central Baghdad. Al-Qaeda has been threatening men and women for wearing clothes it considers un-Islamic. [Sabah Arar/AFP]



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Rifaat Hussein, a resident of al-Jura village in al-Tharthar sub-district, south of Samarra, sported a grey shirt which he said he had been forced to leave stored inside a chest for a year.

"I could not wear it because of threats by al-Qaeda gunmen who were in control of the village," the 22-year-old told Mawtani, standing confidently with his colleagues.

The gunmen warned village residents that "anyone wearing what they described as irreligious clothes, such as neckties and ordinary shirts imprinted with words in English or images of international celebrities" would be punished, he said.

Last week joint Iraqi army, police and counter-terrorism forces drove al-Qaeda from the village and its surrounding areas, arresting 21 gunmen and seizing about 1,000 kilogrammes of explosives.

Life under al-Qaeda's rule

There were dark days in the village when al-Qaeda was in control, said al-Jura mukhtar Abdul Raheem al-Hassany.

"Al-Qaeda members would disappear during the day, and appear at night to terrorise residents by giving out printed statements containing death threats to anyone who might violate their instructions," he said.

"The list of instructions would start with a ban on enlistment in the Iraqi security forces, or co-operating with them, and extends to include not only the imposition of the hijab on women, but also a threat to men for wearing clothes they considered un-Islamic," al-Hassany said.

"According to their instructions, trousers, shirts and neckties are Western traditions that are inappropriate to imitate," he said. "They also banned us from wearing T-shirts with prints, images or words in English, or even names of world-renowned celebrities and artists," he said.

Al-Qaeda members would whip those caught defying their instructions on what to wear in public, al-Hassany added.

At first the group had concerned itself with proscribing the types of clothing women should wear, al-Tharthar mayor Ibrahim Ali al-Abbasi told Mawtani.

But al-Qaeda's fanaticism in applying its extremist ideology extended to imposing a dress code on men, he said.

"This shows that this group was not satisfied with endless bloodletting and murder, but went further than that by banning the simplest freedoms," al-Abbasi said.

"One night, they blew up a shop for modern men's outerwear, to wipe out what they described as a source of decadence forbidden by Islam," he added.

Restrictions extended to children's games

Banning individual freedoms under false religious slogans even extended to children's games, al-Abbasi said.

"Security forces found printed leaflets the armed group was preparing to distribute in various areas of al-Tharthar warning parents against buying PlayStations for their children," he said.

The leaflets also carried threats "of targeting children's primary schools if they did not separate the boys from the girls", he added.

Four gunmen now in detention are facing seven charges of "setting on fire the clothes of a teenager while he was wearing them, causing third-degree burns which disfigured the upper part of his body", Capt. Adel al-Jubury of the Samarra police told Mawtani.

"They had stopped his car on the highway on the pretext he was wearing un-Islamic clothes," he said, adding that the group considered dressing this way an act of sedition.

Area residents "were never more overjoyed than on that day when they saw military vehicles carrying the members of that group, handcuffed and blindfolded, after they had spread death and destruction and restricted people's freedoms", al-Jubury said.



    كمال الشمري


    May God curse all the criminals and the terrorists.

  • توتا


    The Brotherhood has no religion. May God punish them.

  • موحدباللة


    Fear God as to your country, money, family, and religion. You must know that you will be held accountable for this.

  • اولد الشعة


    May God help the Shia in all their wars. O God! Forgive their sins and have mercy upon them. We wish to see you safe, God willing.

  • حسين ابوالوفا


    We ask God to further support his allies.

  • الطبار


    We will destroy ISIS

  • الكلبي


    Those Israeli mercenaries were hired by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Those are the people who sold Palestine in the past.

  • heiderliaq


    Long live Abu Irsaa and the brave Iraqi army.

  • محمد سعادة


    God bless Iraq’s great builder and protector, who lives on like the pyramids, Saddam.

  • رانيا


    The people in Anbar, Iraq, are Zionists who took the religion as a cover.

  • وليد عقل


    Death is waiting for you.

  • رحيم العلياوي


    O God! Protect the great army of Iraq and grant them victory over the enemies of Iraq.

  • علي عبدالمالك حته


    Did it reach the limit of controlling the people and telling them what to wear? Does Islam mean terrorizing the people? I swear by God that this is unfair and prohibited.

  • mansourelasmar


    I want somebody to explain to me, what religion justifies what they are doing, what justifies the attack on the freedom of Muslims? If you are harsh and heartless, those around you will rebel. Shame.

  • عبدالله الافاتار


    Forbidden! Forbidden!

  • علاوي اللورد


    O God! Grant victory to the city of Fallujah and the revolts of our tribes from Al-Maliki and his men.

  • محمد الشيخ


    Terrorism has no religion.

  • علاء الدراجي


    Long live Iraq. I don't think any one who sells out his country counts as a human being.

  • محمود يحيي العماري


    God never accepts oppression. We ask God to grant victory to the Arab states.

  • صباح الجعيفري


    I want to ask you who are responsible for bringing Al-Qaeda? Is not right that you brought them to your houses?

  • رامى سيد


    May God grant victory to the Arabs.

  • لا يوجد


    Death is awaiting you.

    • هالة


      Death is waiting for anyone praised or supported Da'ish.

  • مصرى


    O, people of Iraq, people of hypocrisy, now you should be missing the days of Saddam!

  • حرب الحسيني


    May God support and help the province of Anbar!

  • رشدى


    You know, in spite of what happened and what will happen, I swear to God that here in Egypt we live in grace. We are the country of safety and security, despite every malicious individual and all those who wish misfortune and bad omens for others. God willing, we will succeed against the black terrorism.

  • عبدعلي الربيعي


    Those people have no religion. They focus on offending Islam and the destruction of the Islamic religion. They are made by Zionist.

  • مصرية وافتخر


    Those people do not understand the religion.

  • abdelaziz


    There is none worthy of worship except God.

  • داليا العربى العربى


    The teachings of Islam are compassion, tolerance, freedom and Islamic behaviour in all human relationships. So, come to your senses! God bless you.

  • gemo


    We ask God to guide us.

  • ياسر


    It could be an amazing bed story.

  • عبدالواحد اسماعيل فنجان طاهر-الشيخ سعد


    They will be spit out like kernels. Damn all metaphysical-unrealistic thinking.

  • محمدفتحى محمد


    O God! Grant victory to all Arabs and protect them from all evils. O God! Destroy the oppressors and do not accept their work.

  • حمام كامل


    All Islamist groups are willing to rule in this way, there is only a little difference in their administrative methods.

  • قاسم القيسي


    Are you watching the events in Ramadi and other places such as Basra, Najaf, and Baghdad, the capital? Know that the issue is not the problem of Al-Qaeda but the problem of politicians controlling things. Iraq’s tribes are flags that your history speaks about. The Iraqi people are not terroristic people, we are one and the same, Sunni = Shiite. Times passed can tell you that we are the Iraq of devotion and dignity.

  • محمدعامر


    The honourable men are gone.

  • adel alokesh


    Will the Iraqi people be united as it was in the past.. There is no power except with God the Almighty.

  • هاشم سيف


    Betrayal is very bad when it comes from a friend.

    • بدرالدين الهكري


      This is right.

  • نعمه المولى


    O God! You are our Lord and we ask You to grant victory to our brave army and police, as well as the golden squad. O God! Grant victory to the Mr. Al-Malikii and destroy Al-Qaeda and ISIL. O God! Make them suffer in hell. Amen O lord of the Worlds.

  • MAMO


    I think that there are many things still hidden.

  • نسر العرب


    Anyone who respects himself will be respected by others. It incomprehensible how your minds, you Arabs, are like those of animals. Even some animals are compassionate unlike you.

  • ادم محمد


    This angers God the Almighty.

  • عنكيلي


    Praise be to Allah!

  • محمد العراقي


    Long live Abu Israa and the brave Iraqi army.

  • رياض السوداني


    The time of mighty wise men is gone; it's now the time of fools and the ignorant.

    • محمود المحمدي


      As long as the lion remains on the sidelines, the rats will come to take his place.

  • دلم بيخال


    Is the religion that they demand considered the religion of mercy, love and tolerance? What gives me the right to force any Muslim to do anything? What is the religion that allows killing the innocents?

  • سلام جباري


    That’s how all Islamic groups want to control. But there is a simple disparity over the methods of implementation and prohibition.

    • ahmed ege


      We, the Egyptians, are with you in doing the right thing. May our Lord help us and help you, God willing! ♥

    • بدرالدين الهكري


      Amen, O Lord of the worlds.

  • ثابت احمد


    Very pretty.

  • قصي سالم


    When you are shameless, you do whatever you want, let alone a group who do not know any path towards God, but lie about God and issue fatwas to kill children, women and elders. What barbarism! They are those whom devil has dressed up their behaviour in their minds. May God curse any oppressor!

  • aboo raeed


    While watching the TV, I noticed some politicians (the united group) and some Tribal leaders were defending al-Qaeda and Da'ish. So they are all terrorists.

  • وسام


    Those who do not show any respect to people and their characteristics are creatures which should be locked up and they should only be fed with the food of animals. In this way, people can get rid of their petrified minds because they are ravenous beasts…

  • جارالله الشبلي


    O Lord, may you place Al-Qaida in Hell.

    • بدرالدين الهكري


      Amen, O Lord of the worlds.

  • احمد السعيد


    What laws, conventions, or morals can accept what is happening in the name of sharia? Is there anything in sharia that justified such criminal and immoral acts? Wake up people! Such acts contradict all the divine instructions. Please, respect the human minds and souls as well as their private affairs, as long as they ado not encourage debauchery or evils.

  • Jassimmaliky


    We seek God's help and support!

    • بدرالدين الهكري



  • انور الحمداني


    Anyone who refrains from supporting the army troops in Anbar and the other governorates proves that he collaborates with the terrorism. The army forces must crush anyone standing in their face in order to get rid of terrorism.

    • محمدعلي محمدعزاوي الجبوري


      No, dear Anwar. What you said is unpatriotic.

  • سارة


    This is nonsense! There is nothing called Al-Qaeda.

    • حامد-الحميري


      Al-afee - a city called Al-qaeda - and I'm from there .

    • بدرالدين الهكري


      Peace be upon you. Al-Qaeda is present in Rada’a.

  • عبداللة محمد السعيد


    Iraqis have no choice but to unite and bring together all of their sects and then govern themselves.

  • علاء الجنابي


    Always well-done, Al-Sharqiyyah.

    • علي التميمي


      Every Iraqi should resist and be courageous. He should stand up against terrorism and support the Government. No to terrorism, no to sectarianism and no to foreigners!

  • ابو عباس


    All honorable and decent Iraqis must expel and kill those cowards, who claim that they defend Islam, while they are swindlers. Islam has nothing to do with those backward people. Believe me, those mercenaries are supported by the sectarian Gulf States and they know nothing other than dividing and killing the Iraqis. Kill those cowards! May God protect Iraq and its people.

  • جواد


    This is their normal behavior, and you can imagine what might happen if they ruled the world other than bloodshed. Islam came as a mercy to all people rather than as a curse.

    • ابوانس


      Saudi Arabia is the spearhead.

  • عبدالله العبودي


    We thank the security forces and ask the inhabitants to cooperate more and more with the security forces.

  • الشهيليه بنت بغداد


    Indeed, what you mentioned was a minor act of terrorism. They are criminals and we ask God to help us.

    • مصطفى السيد


      Well-done for publishing such topics.

  • عادل عباس من مصر


    Those people understand Islam wrongly. Stop lying and killing. We seek God's help and support! God will punish them in a tough way. Stop killing the people.

  • عبد الرزاق الربيعي


    If those savages and naive people of Al-Qaeda managed to make a rich state like Afghanistan the last one as to its youths, elders and intellectuals. Then, we can say goodbye to Iraq. How will you protect your women, money and home? I swear that the home is more precious than the religion and sect. Anyone with no home, will have no religion or sect.

  • fhdaly


    I call for a popular revolution against the new division.

  • Eamonn an Cnoic


    Food, good works to help the poor and infirm and employment should be more of a priority for followers of the true God than nonsense like choice of clothing.