A 15-year-old coffee seller was reportedly executed by gunshot to the head by Islamist rebels in Syria as an act of punishment and example-making for seeming to express disbelief in the Muslim god.
As reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group opposed to the Bashar al-Assad regime, the killing confirms the simplistic nature of a good guy/bad guy view of the civil war in Syria.
According to the group, the boy, named Mohammad Qataa, had been heard arguing with someone about the existence of God, and supposedly said: “Even if the Prophet Muhammad returns, I will not become a believer.”
Other sources contradict that report, suggesting that the comment was misheard. “Even if the prophet returns, I will not give you a free coffee,” they claim he said.
Qataa wasn’t killed immediately. Sources say he was kidnapped and tortured for 24 hours before being dragged into the middle of a crowded street and executed in front of his father and mother.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
The Huffington Post:
The Observatory said in a statement: “People gathered around him and a member of the fighting brigade said: ‘Generous citizens of Aleppo, disbelieving in God is polytheism and cursing the prophet is a polytheism. Whoever curses even once will be punished like this’.
“He then fired two bullets from an automatic rifle in view of the crowd and in front of the boy’s mother and father, and got into a car and left.”
“The observatory cannot ignore these crimes, which only serve the enemies of the revolution and the enemies of humanity,” the Observatory’s founder Rami Abdulrahman said.
FreedomHouse2 (CC BY 2.0)
Two Syrian women walk by graffiti that reads “Freedom.”