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IS Sanctioned Organ Harvesting
International

IS Sanctioned Organ Harvesting

Islamic State has sanctioned the harvesting of human organs in a previously undisclosed ruling by the group’s Islamic scholars, raising concerns that the violent extremist group may be trafficking in body parts.
The ruling, contained in a January 31, 2015, document reviewed by Reuters, says taking organs from a living captive to save a Muslim’s life, even if it is fatal for the captive, is permissible.
Reuters could not independently confirm the authenticity of the document. US officials say it was among a trove of data and other information obtained by US special forces in a raid in eastern Syria in May.
“The apostate’s life and organs don’t have to be respected and may be taken with impunity,” says the document, which is in the form of a fatwa, or religious ruling, from the IS’s Research and Fatwa Committee.  
“Organs that end the captive’s life if removed: The removal of that type is also not prohibited,” Fatwa Number 68 says, according to a US government translation.    
The document does not offer any proof that IS actually engages in organ harvesting or organ trafficking. But it does provide religious sanction for doing so under the group’s harsh interpretation of Islam, which is rejected by most Muslims. Previously, Iraq accused IS of harvesting human organs and trafficking them for profit.
The document does not define “apostate”, though the IS has killed or imprisoned non-Muslims, such as Christians, as well as Shia and Sunni Muslims who don’t follow its extremist views.
US officials say the records that were seized have given the US government a deep look into how IS organizes, raises funds and codifies laws for its followers.
Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, told Reuters the documents should be examined by the UN Security Council as evidence that IS could be trafficking in organs to raise cash.
“The May raid in Syria, which resulted in the death of IS top financial official Abu Sayyaf and the capture of his wife, netted seven terabytes of data in the form of computer hard drives, thumb drives, CDs, DVDs and papers,” said Brett McGurk, US President Barack Obama’s special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, in an interview.
Abu Sayyaf was a Tunisian militant whose real name was Fathi ben Awn ben Jildi Murad al-Tunisi.
US officials have previously described the Abu Sayyaf raid and some of the documentation seized. But until now, none of the actual documents has been released—aside from materials illustrating IS’s trafficking in antiquities, made public at an event at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in September.
The US government has shared some of the documents from the Abu Sayyaf raid with allied governments to increase their understanding of IS in recent weeks, as Washington works to shore up support for countering the group.
For instance, “Fatwa Number 64” dated January 29, 2015, provides detailed rules for rape, prescribing when IS men can and cannot have sexual relations with female slaves.
McGurk said IS’s Research and Fatwa Committee reports directly to the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
William McCants, a Brookings Institution scholar who is author of the book “The ISIS Apocalypse,” said the group’s ruling on slavery and human organs do not represent modern Islamic interpretations.
In February, Alhakim had urged the UN Security Council to investigate the deaths of 12 doctors in the Islamic State-held city of Mosul. Alhakim said the doctors were killed after refusing to remove organs.
The UN special envoy for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, said at the time that he could not confirm the claim, but it would be investigated. The UN has not provided an update on that investigation, which Alhakim said he would ask the Security Council to revisit.

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