ISIS militants have reportedly beheaded a popular street magician in Syria who tried to entertain children in his war-torn city, saying that his tricks created “illusions and falsehood” and were an insult to God.
The killing reportedly took place in Raqqa, which ISIS has named as its “capital” city. The performer was beloved by children and was known to perform small tricks to entertain them.
But ISIS militants dragged him away during a street corner show, declaring his show as forbidden by the Koran and later beheading him in a public square.
“The magician was a popular man who entertained people with little tricks on the street like making coins or phone disappear,” said one activist. “He was just called Sorcerer by people and children loved him. He was doing nothing anti-Islamic but he paid for it with his life.
“This is the reality of life in Raqqa, murdered in the name of Allah for performing a few tricks.”
ISIS militants have reportedly targeted others in Raqqa, persecuting taxi drivers who take a longer route as they say this takes away time that people can be spending in a mosque. ISIS has also shut down barbers in an effort to prevent men from cutting their beards.
ISIS has used beheading as a tool to create fear among the people under its rule in Iraq and Syria. While the terrorist group has beheaded soldiers and police officers in the areas it has taken over, it has also used the brutal tactic on innocent civilians and those caught in the conflict.
A report from late last year claimed that ISIS beheaded four Christian children who refused to convert to Islam.
Cannon Andrew White, one of only a handful of Christian leaders who have remained in Iraq, said ISIS tried to make the children renounce Jesus Christ and accept Islam, but they brave children refused and paid for it with their lives.
“Islamic State turned up and said to the children, you say the words that you will follow Mohammed,” White was quoted in the Guardian. “The children, all under 15, four of them, said no, we love Yesua, we have always loved Yesua, we have always followed Yesua, Yesua has always been with us.
“They said, ‘Say the words.’ They said, ‘No, we can’t.’ They chopped all their heads off. How do you respond to that? You just cry.”
The report that ISIS beheaded a popular street magician was not confirmed, though the militant group’s strict control over the region has made independent reporting nearly impossible.