Correspondence, provided to The Intercept and Al Jazeera, was sent to a religious scholar living in Jordan who has been associated with radical groups in the past, but is critical of ISIS. The messages come from people in ISIL-held territory, both members of the group and civilians, who are seeking his religious advice. Seeking advice from religious figures is common in the Muslim world, but the recipient of these messages in particularly respected among ultra-conservative Muslims in Iraq, Syria and Jordan.
The religious figure is not named here in order to protect his legal status in Jordan.
The advice seekers are unrelated: one is an ISIS fighter in Fallujah, and the other is a Sunni Muslim civilian living in Mosul.
The correspondence took place from early June to mid August, and coincided with major events in those cities reported by international media – including the Iraqi government’s offensive to retake Fallujah and the increasing pressure on the inhabitants of Mosul in preparation for the operation.
“The battle for Fallujah was a success in that it ended with ISIS driven out and a government established that had representation from the local Sunni community,” says Nathaniel Rabkin, managing editor of the political risk publication Inside Iraq Politics.
“Having said that, there was a lot of ugliness associated with the campaign, including damage to infrastructure and allegations of abuses by Shia militia groups.”
Read More: aljazeera