BAGHDAD — Police cars have been repainted to say “Islamic police.” Women are forbidden from wearing bright colors and prints. The homes of Shiites and others have signs stating they are property of the Islamic State. And everyone walks in fear amid a new reign of terror.
That’s what life is like in Mosul, Tikrit and other cities in northern and western Iraq under the control of Islamic extremists after their lightning-fast military campaign that overwhelmed the Iraqi army in June.
The new normal for these residents means daily decrees about attire and raids to root out religious minorities in a campaign to impose strict Islamic rule in cities that tolerated multiple religions for centuries.
Residents chafe at the radical changes, and some are starting to rebel against the militants as they try to “cleanse” the region of anything — and anyone — deemed non-Islamic. As many Christians in Mosul have discovered, their only choice is fleeing.