Life Under the Islamic State: Fines, Taxes and Punishments


You can be fined for wearing a cloak that is too tight ($25), not wearing socks or gloves ($30), possessing a pack of cigarettes ($23) or showing your eyes ($10). The rules of social behavior dictated by the Islamic State are often the most strictly enforced. As the group has lost territory, it has created new rules and even allowed people to pay additional fines in lieu of corporal punishment for some violations in order to get more money out of the population it still controls.


You can be taxed for each irrigated hectare of farmland ($46 per year), the wheat you produce (10 percent) and any crops you sell at your local market. You can also be punished if your sheep wear bells (sheep confiscated). At least 30 percent of the Islamic State s taxation revenue comes from agriculture. The militants also confiscate farming equipment, which farmers then have to rent.


You can be required to pay for a certificate of repentance if you are a Shiite or non-Muslim ($200-$2,500) and renew it four times a year. Certificates used to be valid for a year, but the renewal period was shortened as pressure to find new revenue increased. Former civil servants or police officers who worked for the government before the Islamic State took control are also required to obtain certificates of repentance.

Residents of Raqqa

You can be fined for smoking a cigarette ($25) or installing a satellite dish ($50). To leave the city, you have to pay a fee ($800), and you can be punished if you do not return within 15 days (property confiscated). Regulations usually originate in Raqqa, the Islamic State s de facto capital. It is then up to the governors of other regions in the group s territory to set taxes and fines for their areas. In Falluja, for example, it costs $1,000 to leave the city.


You can be fined if your car does not have an official Islamic State license plate ($43), for failing to correctly answer religious questions at checkpoints ($20), for giving a ride to violators ($23 per passenger) or for driving on the wrong side of the road ($25).

Taxes on commercial activity are another lucrative source of revenue for the Islamic State and have increased. Customs tolls for truck drivers are at least twice as high as they were in the fall.

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