The Peril of Taking Taxis in Raqqa

Raqqa in 2009. Wikimedia.

It was an ordinary day in mid-February 2015. Hayat pulled on her niqab (face veil) and stood in front of her mirror, making sure she was ready to leave the house…

…She stood on the pavement looking out for a taxi. She didn’t have to wait long, and she climbed in and gave the driver her address. Her mind was already on what she would cook for supper, so she didn’t listen to the cab driver’s gossip.

A few minutes later, as she approached her house, she gestured to the driver to take the turn on the right.

An unimaginable surprise lay ahead. The taxi was stopped by an IS militant who had been following them on his motorbike.

“Your ID!” the militant screamed at the driver.

The driver looked at him in surprise.

“Why, Sheikh, is anything the matter?”

“Don’t you know you’re not allowed to pick up a woman on her own?” the militant said…