The Daily Telegraph
BAGHDAD — Al Qaeda is losing support in Iraq because of a brutal crackdown on activities it regards as un-Islamic — including women buying cucumbers.
Besides the killings inflicted those who refuse to pledge allegiance to them, Al Qaeda has lost credibility for enforcing a series of rules imposing their way of thought on the most mundane aspects of everyday life.
They include a ban on women buying suggestively-shaped vegetables, according to one tribal leader in the western province of Anbar.
Sheikh Hameed Al Hayyes,a Sunni elder, told Reuters: “They even killed female goats because their private parts were not covered and their tails were pointed upward, which they said was haram. They regarded the cucumber as male and tomato as female. Women were not allowed to buy cucumbers, only men.”
Other farcical stipulations include an edict not to buy or sell ice-cream, because it did not exist in the time of the Prophet, while hair salons and shops selling cosmetics have also been bombed.
Most seriously, Sheikh Al Hayyes said: “I saw them slaughter a nine-year-old boy like a sheep because his family didn’t pledge allegiance to them.”
Such behaviour has triggered a backlash among Sunnis, whom Al Qaeda claimed to be protecting, the sheikh and military leaders said.
Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Albers, an American intelligence officer, told Reuters: “Al Qaeda’s very heavy-handed killing of civilians backfired on them. The Sunnis just wouldn’t stand for it any more.
“The self-described protectors of the Sunni community now kill more Iraqi Sunnis than anyone else does.”
[I guess women can't eat hotdogs either.]