ISIS bans pigeon breeding - punishable by public flogging - because seeing birds' genitals overhead offends Islam
By JOHN HALL and ROBERT VERKAIK FOR U.K. Daily Mail Online
PUBLISHED: 03:57 EST, 2 June 2015
Senior clerics fighting for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have issued a diktat banning pigeon breeding as they claim the sight of the birds' genitals as they fly overhead is offensive to Islam.
Jihadis operating in the group's 'Euphrates province', which stretches from Anbar in Iraq to Dier ez Zour in Syria, told pigeon breeders they had one week to stop the practice or face public flogging.
The announcement isn't the first time ISIS has targeted the apparently blasphemous practice of pigeon breeding - a popular pastime in the Middle East.
Earlier this year it was claimed that 15 boys had been arrested and at least three of them executed by ISIS militants in Iraq's eastern Diyala governate after fighters took exception to their pigeon breeding hobby on the grounds that it stopped them spending their time worshipping Allah.
ISIS' latest ban on pigeon breeding was revealed in an official document released by senior administrators in the group's self-declared Euphrates province.
Written in Arabic script on paper headed with the terror group's chilling black and white logo, the short document begins with a warning to locals who keep pigeons on the roof of their houses.
When rumours of an ISIS ban on pigeons began to circulate earlier this year, it was widely assumed that it was related to the birds being used to either smuggle anti-ISIS messages or cigarettes.
However the new document clears up that misunderstanding, clearly stating that the ban is intended 'to put a stop to the greater criminal act of harming one's Muslim and Muslim women neighbours, revealing the [pigeon's] genitals and wasting time.'