Since no one has actually stopped the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the people in charge of the Caliphate have decided to set up shop as an actual country. Â CNN reports that this includes organizing a bureaucracy that deals with everything from issuing birth certificates to instituting a form if rent control. Â Some of the finer points of ISIS’ way of life:
- ISIS’ territory has been divided into provinces each with its own governor. Â Just like empires have done for centuries.
- The caliph of ISIS, Abu Bakral-Baghdadi, has declared himself in charge. Â His cabinet of sorts controls all the same parts of life that our local governments do. Â They even have trash pick up.
- Health care is dealt with including running hospitals complete with maternity wards and sending officials out to vaccinate the population for things like polio, measles, mumps and rubella which is forbidden among other Islamic governments such as the Taliban.
- There is a court system that, of course, is perfectly Sharia and enforces the Muslim code of conduct which to modern sensibilities is rather brutal.
- Education is available for all, although girls may only go to school until the age of 15, and then segregated from boys. Â The curriculum includes reading, writing, math and religion. Â It does NOT include music, art, philosophy, archaeology, theater, hotel management, tourism, democracy or physical education.
- Using explosives to fish has been banned as it harms the environment. Â Muslims must care for the Earth according to their sacred documents.
- A form of rent control is taking hold as the Quran says that landlords are not to put undue burdens on renters in order to gain spiritual rewards.
ISIS considers itself and the territory it has conquered to be a sovereign state, and they are taking steps to set up the sort of bureaucracy a real country would have. Â Interestingly enough, the system is actually more modern than other such regimes (Taliban) as they do allow modern healthcare, and girls to be educated.
However, it is fairly plain that ISIS is more interested in instituting Sharia than accommodating those who do not ascribe to Islam. Â They just are doing it in a less than brutal fashion in order to win over the people who are accustomed to no order at all.
“A general theme for ISIS is that they try, initially when they seize control, to portray themselves as more just, more fair to the inhabitants than the previous ruler,” explains [researcher Aymenn] Al-Tamimi. “For example, in Syria, the first thing ISIS did was lower the price of bread. This is as much about winning over the population as it is about religious rulings.”
At times, such as taking up the case of renters, the regime can seem almost benevolent, Al-Tamimi says.
“If someone does complain, especially in Syria, ISIS does actually try to deal with it,” he says. “That’s why they’ve been seen by many in Syria as imposing order, especially in areas where multiple parties, rebel factions and the Syrian government were previously in control.”