Isis lifts smoking ban to ‘boost popularity’

The Islamic State (also known as Isis) has made a Sharia-law U-turn in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk by stubbing out its cigarette ban in an attempt to boost popularity among the local population, according to a story by Gianluca Mezzofiore for the International Business Times.

A resident of Hawija, 55 km southwest of Kirkuk, was said to have told Almada Press that Isis had lifted the embargo on shops selling cigarettes in the province and its towns.

In June, Isis imposed Sharia laws that banned the use of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes in the Nineveh province days after capturing the provincial capital Mosul.

Isis explained its opposition to smoking by calling it a ‘slow suicide’ and saying that ‘every smoker should be aware that with every cigarette he smokes in a state of trance and vanity is disobeying God’.

But, according to the Al Arabiya website, Isis changed its mind ‘as an attempt to gain popularity after the group’s extremist actions began to appal residents, particularly after security forces, aided by international support, began to attack Isis’.

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