Anti-tobacco campaign launched by Islamists
BEIRUT: An Islamist movement in coastal Latakia province has begun encouraging residents to avoid smoking and tobacco cultivation, according to a pro-opposition news outlet.
The website All4Syria said the group called itself the Association for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the formal name adopted by Saudi Arabia’s mutawaa, or religious police. The report said both Syrians and non-Syrians had formed the group, which has destroyed tobacco crops in the Jabal Turkman region of Latakia province, controlled by anti-regime groups. It has also launched a propaganda campaign encouraging locals to give up smoking and adopt several ultraconservative habits. An Al-Qaeda splinter group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) has become notorious for instituting an ultraconservative version of Islam in areas that it controls, mainly in Aleppo and Raqqa provinces.