An ISIS fighter publicly executed his own mother in the group's stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, after she allegedly urged him to flee the city together, anti-ISIS activists reported on Thursday.
According to the Independent, citing reports from the activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, 20-year-old Ali Saqr al-Qasem informed authorities that his mother Leena, 45, urged him to flee the city together. An ISIS court convicted his mother of apostasy, and ordered al-Qasem to be her executioner.
Al-Qasem then shot his mother in the head with an assault rifle outside her workplace, the Raqqa post office, in front of hundreds of spectators, activists said.
While apostasy usually means leaving one's religion, in ISIS' regime the term "apostate" is used for anyone who challenges the group's authority. According to the Independent, citing the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, the official charge against Al-Qasem's mother was "inciting her son to leave the Islamic State and escaping together to the outside of Raqqa."
The public killing was the latest in ISIS's brutal public killings over the past two years in the de facto capital of the group's self-proclaimed caliphate.
The killings — and there have been scores since ISIS blitzed across Iraq and Syria to capture large swaths of land in the summer of 2014 — are meant to spread terror and intimidate opponents. Many have been captured on camera, with the gruesome videos later posted on social media sites.
In 2014, a woman was stoned to death after ISIS charged her with adultery. Last year, the group put a Jordanian pilot inside a metal cage, then set him on fire, apparently also in Raqqa. The Islamic State has also posted images of beheadings of captured foreigners, journalists and aid workers, including Americans, British and those of other nationalities.
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