Ben Carson, ISIS Doesn’t Smoke Cigars

In tonight’s GOP debate, Ben Carson showed his usual ignorance on Islamic State. In the past there was his claim that that their oil extraction operations can be stopped “fairly easily,” and that oil is their main source of revenue, both of which I debunked.

What particularly stood out tonight was his rhetorical question: “Why should we let their people be sitting there smoking their cigars, sitting in their comfortable chairs in Raqqa?”

And this is not the first time Dr. Carson used the cigar line. Because he made a similar comment in a campaign event earlier this month, as recorded by the New York Observer:

We cannot let them sit comfortably in their command and control center in Raqqa with their big cigars figuring out what to do next.

Ben Carson seems to be unaware that Daesh outlawed tobacco. Although smoking tobacco has a long history in the Muslim world, Daesh’s interpretation of Sharia law concludes that tobacco is blasphemous, because of the high one receives from smoking.

“Every smoker should be aware that with every cigarette he smokes in a state of trance and vanity is disobeying God,” said Daesh in a public statement.

And Islamic State is also a nanny state to some degree, saying smoking is “slow suicide…not to mention its financial and health damages.”

A first time offender caught smoking receives a minimum punishment of 40 lashes. Repeat offenders can face imprisonment or death.

Someone merely found with a carton of cigarettes on him is subject to a fine of 2,500 Syrian pounds, according to a leaked internal document. Having a carton with a woman present carries a fine of double.

Shops that sold tobacco had 15 days to empty their stock. If they did not comply they were subject to punishment of confiscation or burning down the shop.

Daesh also regularly holds public demonstrations where they burn piles of contraband cigarettes, which seems a little ironic.

Ben Carson, then, might want to think before talking. Or at least someone on his campaign should vet his statements.

Copyright notice: the image of tobacco being incinerated is copyright Islamic State. If they object to my use they can notify me.