The problem with ISIS and many Islamic extremists is that it is increasingly hard to tell what is a real story and what is an absurd Onion story. However, this appears a real story. When ISIS is not sledgehammering priceless artifacts and bulldozing ancient cities, it is arresting pigeon breeders and unIslamic. Why? Most articles report that the reason is that the breeding takes away time from worshipping Allah while some have reported that ISIS fanatics have also complaint that the sight of the birds’ genitals as they fly overhead is offensive to Islam. The latter rationale would seem to require exceptionally good eyesight or exceptionally well-endowed pigeons.
The anti-pigeon breeding arrests have occurred the group’s ‘Euphrates province’, which stretches from Anbar in Iraq to Dier ez Zour in Syria. Breeding has been declared blasphemy and subject to arrest or worse. Fifteen boys have been rounded up so far and three have been executed.
According to reports, ISIS officials issues a warning that “All those who keep pigeons above the roofs of their houses must stop doing this entirely within a week of the date of the issuing of this statement . . . Whosoever violates it will be subject to consequences of reprimand including a financial fine, imprisonment and flogging.”
The document also notes that the ban is designed “to put a stop to the greater criminal act of harming one’s Muslim and Muslim women neighbours, revealing the [pigeon’s] genitals and wasting time.”
Those founds with pigeons are being rounded up by the local religious police, known as the Hisbah. The Hisbah has been conducting house by house searches.
It is a particularly bizarre rule since raising falcons is one of the oldest traditions in the Islamic world and pigeon raising is one of the most popular activities by less wealthy citizens.