Mosques, and mainly Friday sermons, have played an effective and essential role in the spread of the ideological message of Daesh in all areas across Syria, including Deir Ezzor province. They have also enabled the group to incite and recruit a large number of locals into their ranks.
Since the capturing of Deir Ezzor, the organization have introduced the Sharia sessions in cities and small villages located in the province, forcing all imams to attend them in order to grant the delivering of their message between the locals. The Sharia sessions are hold in a period that ranges from a week to a month based on the conditions in the targeted village or city. They had been preceded by repentance sessions that were organized for the imams on the guise that they are apostates. In addition, young male civilians are chosen to perform such a task ( imams) in order that Daesh can easily plant their twisted version of Islam in their minds and thus they guarantee the dominance over the mosques.
The Friday sermons must deliver the same message, which revolve about reminding those attending them of the situation of apostates and hypocrites that lived during the time of the prophet and at the same time applying what they witnessed to the situation now in Syria. The sermons are also tasked with the inciting of the locals to join in the fight and make duaa for Al-Baghdadi and Daesh fighters.
For instance, the sermons were recently focused on the recruitment of more people after the Kurdish militias gained control over large parts of territory in rural Al-Hasakah. They urged the people to help them in the repulsing of the attacks launched by “ the atheists’. Most of those who had being recruited and deployed to the front lines in Al-Hasakah were killed, as they were used as front troops, although they were not prepared militarily.
The sermons are also used for the justification of declaring all FSA military councils as non-believers on the pretext that they are being backed by the west and serving their agenda.
In order to plant their ideology in the minds of the locals, any violator in the province is forced to attend a Sharia session tasked with indoctrinating him into the group’s aims and project.
The imams must follow a number of rules to be able to take such a position. For example, first, they have to attend a sharia session before delivering any sermon. Anyone who does not adhere to that principle will face arrest as what had already happened with an imam in the Harwil Mosque in the city of Deir Ezzor.
Mosques and sermons have been always the main media platform from which wars against the non-believers were launched. They have also been used for all types of reconciliation and regulation of the affairs of Muslims. Therefore, the organization did not hesitate to employ them for their interests. The imams are being used as a weaponry, besides other media tools utilized by the group, to recruit thousands of people from every corner in the world.
Daesh have succeeded in the recruitment of many children into their ranks due to their Friday sermons and have implanted the seeds of sectarianism (which include the naming of their enemies with names such as Shia’, the Kurds, Rawafid and apostates…) into the minds of many locals.