Life under Isis: Why I deserted the ‘Islamic State’ rather than take part in executions, beheadings and rape – the story of a former jihadi

Hamza is a 33-year-old from Fallujah, a city ruled by Islamic State 40 miles west of Baghdad, who became an Isis fighter last year after being attracted by its appeal to his religious feelings. Two months ago, however, he defected, after being asked to help execute people he knew – and being appalled by invitations to join in what amounted to rape of captured Yazidi women.

In an interview with The Independent, given in the safety of another country, he gives a vivid account of why he joined Isis, what it was like to be a member of the jihadist group, and why he left. He reveals extraordinary details about how the army of Isis operates, the elaborate training that its fighters receive in Iraq and Syria and the way in which taking part in executions is an initiation rite, proof of the commitment and loyalty of fighters.

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  • puttytat

    He still should never return. Traitor.

    • Frances

      But here’s a man, Muslim and native to the middle East, who was seduced by the promise of a “pure’ Islam. Didn’t take him long to realize that ISIS is far from pure. So give him the benefit of the doubt.

      • Brett_McS

        Except that ISIS is pure Islam; at least it is the closest thing today to the original invasions of the Arabic empire, along with all its atrocities, lovingly re-created.

  • BillyHW

    Plague for every single last one of them.

  • Hard Little Machine

    You can’t trust a traitor. Chainsaw off his head.