Islamic State Sanctions Organ Harvesting

by Church Militant  •  •  December 28, 2015   

"The apostate's life and organs don't have to be respected"

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RAQQA, Syria ( - Scholars for the Islamic State have declared the harvesting of organs from living victims is now a sanctioned practice.

In a newly released document acquired by U.S. Special Forces, the ruling, commonly known as a fatwa, states that removing any number of organs, including those vital to the victim's life, is permissible in order to save Muslim lives even if the operation proves fatal for the captive.

"The apostate's life and organs don't have to be respected and may be taken with impunity," declares the fatwa, which was discovered among a pile of documents during a raid in Syria last May.

While the document fails to define who qualifies as "apostate," the U.S. government has held it to mean anyone who does not embrace the Muslim religion and culture. This is reinforced by the Islamic State's record of killing or imprisoning Shiite and Sunni Muslims in addition to non-Muslims — specifically Christians.

The documents do not specify the Islamic State is participating in the trafficking of human organs, but the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations believes this to be abundantly clear. In an address to the U.N. Security Council earlier this year, ambassador Mohamed Alhakim reported that corpses removed from mass graves have been found with surgical incisions and missing kidneys. He invited the United Nations to "[c]ome and examine them," as it is "clear they are missing certain parts."

Additionally, Alhakim stated that 12 doctors had been slaughtered by ISIS militants for refusing to participate in the harvesting of organs.

The ruling, formed by the Islamic State's Research and Fatwa Committee, cites several Islamic texts to justify their decision, in addition to referencing the practice of cannibalism in extreme circumstances, which had been approved by early Islamic scholars: "A group of Islamic scholars have permitted, if necessary, one to kill the apostate in order to eat his flesh, which is part of benefiting from his body."

Previous fatwas issued by the Islamic State have served to justify a range of mostly taboo activities. A fatwa dated January 29, 2015 lays out the guidelines for molestation, detailing when male members of the Islamic State are allowed to rape their female slaves.

Other fatwas from the Islamic State outline the characteristics of "women's proper clothing" and a declaration that any form of travel to "the lands of unbelief ... is permissible only on the condition of one's ability openly to disavow and show hatred to the unbelievers."

The most recent fatwa orders members of the Islamic State to "kill newborn babies with Down's Syndrome and congenital deformities and disabled children." To date, 38 babies from one week to three months old have been murdered through suffocation or lethal injection.


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