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Rules of the Islamic State

Rules of the Islamic State is the 29th counter narrative video in the ICSVE Breaking the ISIS Brand series. This video clip features Ibn Mesud, an eighteen-year-old Syrian ISIS defector from al Hasakah, Syria who joined ISIS as a Cub of the Caliphate.  He was interviewed by Anne Speckhard and Ahmet S. Yayla in southern Turkey in December of 2015 after defecting from ISIS. The video clip was produced by Zack Baddorf and ICSVE staff.

In this video, Ibn Mesud tells the story of serving in the ISIS hisbah, or morality police. Ibn Mesud recalls the hisbah stopping to get their tire repaired and being offered tea by their repairman’s wife. Instead of graciously accepting, the hisbah members insulted her for not wearing the full nikab and then, despite her being covered in a hidjab (headscarf), they flogged both the repairman and his wife. The wife was beaten so badly that she miscarried her pregnancy.

Ibn Mesud was horrified by the events and ends by advising others not to join , warning that people were terrorized under the brutal and merciless rule of ISIS.

Timed transcript of Rules of the Islamic State video:

0:02     We were in the car. We had a flat tire.

0:09     We passed by the repairman’s store and we greeted him.

0:15     We asked him if he could fix the tire. He said, ‘Yes.’

0:21     He called his wife. He said, ‘Bring me water.’

0:25     He asked, ‘Would you guys like some tea?’

0:27     We replied, ‘No, thank you. We just need the tire fixed. We are in a hurry.’

0:32     He started working on the tire.

0:33     His wife came out at the same time as the hisbah [religious police] was passing by in an ISIS car.

0:41     The ISIS guys were calling her names and insulting her.

0:45     IBN MESUD

Former ISIS Child Soldier

We thought that she was dressed ok.

0:49     They asked her, ‘Where is your husband?’ She answered, ‘This man.’

0:55     ‘Why is your wife not covering her face?’ [they asked]. She had a hijab, though.

1:05     Her husband replied, ‘She has a hijab on.’

1:07     They said ‘No, she should be dressed according to shariahlaw, only in black.’

1:11     They called her kafira[barefaced] and a murtada[apostate]. They insulted her.

1:16     Then they forced her husband to go on his knees and they flogged him fifty times.

1:22     Then it was her turn.

1:25     Her husband begged, ‘Please flog me instead of her.’

1:29     But they didn’t agree.

1:32     They attacked her and flogged her 25 times.

1:37     They kicked him out and they kept flogging her. People gathered around the scene.

1:43     The people were begging them [the hisbah] to stop, but they wouldn’t listen to anyone,

not the young or the wise.

1:51     They flogged her. When she left, there were traces of blood on the floor.

2:02     People were saying that she was pregnant and thus had miscarried her baby.

2:09     In the name of Allah, the merciful and prayers and peace be upon his Messengers.

2:15     I address the Americans and the Turkish to not be tricked into joining ISIS,

2:25     because the things you experience are different from what you hear.

2:31     I don’t advise you to join them because people are terrorized [by ISIS].

2:41     The Truth Behind the Islamic State

2:45     Sponsored by the International Center for the Study Violent Extremism

2:50     See more at

Anne Speckhard, Ph.D., is Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. She has interviewed over 600 terrorists, their family members and supporters in various parts of the world including in Western Europe, the Balkans, Central Asia, the Former Soviet Union and the Middle East. In the past two years, she and ICSVE staff have been collecting interviews (n=78) with ISIS defectors, returnees and prisoners, studying their trajectories into and out of terrorism, their experiences inside ISIS, as well as developing the Breaking the ISIS Brand Counter Narrative Project materials from these interviews. She has also been training key stakeholders in law enforcement, intelligence, educators, and other countering violent extremism professionals on the use of counter-narrative messaging materials produced by ICSVE both locally and internationally as well as studying the use of children as violent actors by groups such as ISIS and consulting on how to rehabilitate them. In 2007, she was responsible for designing the psychological and Islamic challenge aspects of the Detainee Rehabilitation Program in Iraq to be applied to 20,000 + detainees and 800 juveniles. She is a sought after counterterrorism experts and has consulted to NATO, OSCE, foreign governments and to the U.S. Senate & House, Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, Health & Human Services, CIA and FBI and CNN, BBC, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, CTV, and in Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, London Times and many other publications. She regularly speaks and publishes on the topics of the psychology of radicalization and terrorism and is the author of several books, including Talking to Terrorists, Bride of ISIS, Undercover Jihadi and ISIS Defectors: Inside Stories of the Terrorist Caliphate. Her publications are found here: and on the ICSVE website  Follow @AnneSpeckhard

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