Syrian Rebels Issue Fatwa Against Croissants – But Not Because They’re Fattening

While an appeals court ruled Tuesday that New York City’s limit on the size of sugary soft drinks served in restaurants is unconstitutional, it appears rebels in Syria have also gotten into the act of policing food.

A sharia committee linked to Islamist rebels in Aleppo, Syria has issued a fatwa declaring croissants to be “haram,” that is, forbidden under Islamic sharia law.

Al Arabiya reports that the reasoning behind banning the buttery pastry is that “croissants’ crescent shape celebrates European victory over Muslims.”

The popular French croissant pastry now banned by a sharia rebel committee in Syria. The crescent shape is widely associated with Islam (File photo: Getty)

A symbol widely associated with Islam, the crescent is often seen atop mosques and is emblazoned on the flags of Tunisia, Algeria and Mauritania.

But according to the religious edict, Europeans eat croissants to celebrate their victory over Muslim rule.

Al Arabiya reports that the ruling is just the latest in a string of fatwas by Syrian rebels. Those rulings include:

  • A fatwa posted on Facebook prohibiting “Muslim women wearing makeup and tight clothes that reveal physical features from going out.”
  • A fatwa ruling one year in jail for those who are discovered not to be fasting during Ramadan. Notably, that fatwa was issued by the Free Syria Army-affiliated Council of the United Judiciary, according to Al Arabiya. The Free Syria Army is considered to be the more moderate armed group fighting the rule of President Bashar Assad.
  • An Al-Nusra Front issued ban on smoking and listening to music as reported by residents in northern Syria.

According to a report in China’s Xinhua News Agency, the Al-Qaeda-linked group has set up its own courts to impose its hardline religious rulings.

But Asharq Al-Awsat reports that Al-Nusra’s efforts to impose sharia law locally stand in stark contrast to the city’s wider Muslim population which practices a more moderate version of Islam as well as its Christian residents.

Xinhua quoted a local resident it identified only as Hanadi, a 49-year-old private sector employee.

“We were looking for more freedom and felt the revolution would give us more benefits… However, we now feel we are moving backwards and will soon return to the medieval era,” Hanadi said.

“It’s anything but a revolution for freedom,” the disgruntled resident added.

It also quoted a man named Ahmed who said, “Al-Nusra Front fighters come up every day with a new unimaginable fatwa, or religious edict.”

The Al-Nusra Front’s stated goals are to topple President Assad and replace his regime with sharia-based rule with the hope of reinstating the Islamic caliphate. The U.S. has designated the group as a terrorist organization.

Xinhua reports that Syrians fed up with the effort to impose sharia law have taken to social media to post “cynical comments” mocking the latest fatwas, including banning women from driving and forcing little girls to wear veils.

In a list it compiled of what it called the “weirdest fatwas” of 2011, Al Arabiya wrote that in Somalia, the ultraconservative al-Shabaab al-Mujahedin Movement issued a fatwa banning sambousak, a triangle-shaped stuffed pastry. That’s because to them, a triangle symbolizes Christianity’s Holy Trinity and should therefore not be consumed by Muslims.

No word on if the Syrian jihadis have banned the “cronut.”