Middle East

Sharia 'spreading' in Syria's rebel held areas

There's growing concern in Syria about the use of Sharia law in some of the rebel-held areas, following the death of a 14-year-old boy in Aleppo.  

There's growing concern in Syria about the use of Sharia law in some rebel-held areas, following the beating and shooting of a 14-year-old boy in Aleppo, reports the BBC's Paul Wood.

Mohammed Qataa was working in a coffee shop run by his family whne a customer asked him for a free cup of coffee.

“Not even if the prophet himself returns,” Mohammed Qataa said laughing. The remark was a death sentence.

His family describe how on 10 June Mohammed Qataa was accused of blasphemy then beaten and shot in the street after three men overheard his comment.

"'Whoever insults the prophet will be killed,' they said," his mother recounted.

Mr Qataa's family believe the killing symbolises what has gone wrong with Syria's revolution.

The killing has been condemned by religious groups in Syria.

Pictures of Mohammed Qataa's body went viral on Facebook and Twitter in Arabic, resulting in an outcry, the BBC reports.

"We have no freedom left," says Mohammed's older brother, Fouad Qataa.

"We had it when the rebels first took over in Aleppo but now we have nothing. What we have instead are countless [Sharia] committees, each following its own interpretation of religion."

The BBC Arabic service has recorded cases of Sharia law, such as floggings, being carried out in other parts of Syria.