Syria jihadists behead Shia Ismaili man for 'apostasy'

AFP , Tuesday 25 Nov 2014

Islamic State
Militants from the Islamic State group parade in Raqqa, north Syria Monday, June 30, 2014 (Photo: AP)

The jihadist Islamic State group on Tuesday said it beheaded a member of the minority Ismaili community, an offshoot of Shia Islam, accusing him of "apostasy".

"Yesterday (Monday) the Islamic police in Homs province carried out the punishment for apostasy against on an Ismaili apostate... The punishment was carried out before a group of Muslims," IS said in a statement distributed on jihadist forums.

IS also distributed graphic photographs of the execution, including one showing the unnamed victim kneeling on the ground as a jihadist raises a sword above his head.

"This is what will happen to every apostate," read a handwritten sign placed above the shoulders of the victim's disfigured body.

The Ismaili community numbers some 200,000 people in Syria, where many live in Salamiyeh, a town in the central province of Hama.

IS considers all non-Sunnis to automatically be heretics and deserving of death, especially Shiias and Alawites, the sect to which President Bashar al-Assad's clan belongs.

The jihadist group also believes that Sunnis who do not subscribe to its extreme ideology are apostates.

Rooted in the Islamic State in Iraq, it emerged in Syria's conflict in spring 2013.

It has since committed some of the Syrian war's most brutal abuses, and activists say it carries out near-daily executions -- often beheadings -- in areas under its control.

The jihadists proclaimed a "caliphate" in June after seizing swathes of Iraq and Syria.

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