One year on, people of ISIS-held Mosul still ‘cut off from the World’

Joanna Paraszczuk reports: The longer the operation to liberate Mosul is delayed, the more psychological advantages IS gains over the city’s populace, says Shakir al-Bayati, chief editor of the Nineveh Reporters Network, a group of journalists originally from Mosul.

Since IS overran the city on June 10, 2014, Mosul’s residents have been cut off from the rest of Iraq and subjected to the militant group’s “huge propaganda machine,” Bayati tells RFE/RL’s Radio Free Iraq.

IS backs up all its rulings with extensive quotations from the Koran and the Hadith (collections of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad). As a result, some people in Mosul have begun to ask whether IS could be correct after all in its religious interpretations.

“They [IS] are winning over the streets,” Bayati says. “Some say that they have begun to wonder: Is IS the true outlook? Were we wrong before?”

Hisham al-Hashimi, an adviser to the Iraqi government who is widely considered to be Iraq’s leading expert on IS, tells Radio Free Iraq that their “enforced coexistence with IS” could result in Mosul residents being attracted to the group’s extremist interpretations of Islam.

“Especially if they feel abandoned by the international community and their own government,” Hashimi adds. “Those living under IS rule are at best neutral, and at worst supporters of IS.” [Continue reading…]

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