From the Times Online (UK):
The Islamic State of Iraq was declared last autumn by a coalition of al-Qaeda-linked and hardcore Sunni insurgent groups. It is focused on Diyala province to the northeast of Baghdad, although it lays claim to six other governorates including Baghdad.
The aim of the “state” is to recreate a Sunni land in the image of Arabia at the time of the Prophet Muhammad, turning back the clock in a way that the Taleban tried to do in Afghanistan.
The puritanical movement enforces a rigorous version of Salafist Islam, banning men from shaving their beards, having short hair like American soldiers or even smoking. Men caught repeatedly smoking have their index fingers rammed into metal pipes and then snapped, while cigarette shops have been torched.
The rules have often been taken to absurd extremes. Greengrocers in the Caliphate told The Times they had been ordered not to sell bananas in public because they were deemed obscene, while for similar reasons cucumbers could not be sold next to tomatoes, which are deemed to represent femininity.
At the most extreme level, shepherds have even been ordered to cover the nether regions of their goats to avoid offending strict Salafist sensibilities. A doctor from Baquba who recently spoke to The Times said he always written off such absurd tales as rumours. But driving in a shared taxi through a village near the provincial capital of Diyala he saw a goat wearing boxer shorts and started laughing.
“The other passengers told me to shut up, or it could cost me my life,” he said.
Edicts have also been issued banning the use of ice, as the Prophet would not have had access to chilled water. While seemingly ridiculous, the rules are often enforced by brutal extremists who fail to see the absurd side of their regime.
So where in the U.S. media do we find these reports? Don’t let anyone tell you that the American “Religious Right” is “just as a bad” as the Islamic extremists. And it’s the leftists in this country that want to use force to stop people from smoking in this country.