The cowardly head hackers are now killing street magicians

I don’t think David Copperfield will be doing any shows in Syria anytime soon.

ISIS it appears has run out of gays and journalists to kill and is now hacking the heads off street magicians.

The Islamic State is no stranger to attacking civilians. Recently, though, they’ve been targeting not only gay people and journalists but also subversive magicians. Earlier this month, reports emerged of a street performer who was beheaded in a public square in the city of Raqqa, Syria, the capital of the Islamic State.

The illusionist, who went by the moniker “Sorcerer,” was known for entertaining locals with innocuous magic tricks like making coins and cell phones disappear. According to UK tabloid the Daily Mirror, he was charged with “creating illusions and falsehood” deemed offensive to Islam and was sentenced to death by beheading. An activist who recently fled Raqqa and was familiar with Sorcerer told the Mirror that the magician was a popular performer who simply entertained locals: “He was just called ‘Sorcerer’ by people, and children loved him. He was doing nothing anti-Islamic but he paid for it with his life.”

The Islamic State has been cracking down on all forms of magic. The video below was released in July by the organization’s media arm and shows a man from Aleppo moments before he is beheaded for sorcery. Another propaganda video shows militants scouring a so-called “sorcerer’s nest” for books about magic and declaring that the appropriate penalty is to be struck by a sword.   

Clearly, the Islamic State does not take the threat of supernatural forces lightly. To understand why seemingly harmless street magicians are being lumped in with supposed satanic, spell-casting sorcerers, VICE spoke to Adam Silverstein, professor of Abrahamic religions at Tel Aviv’s Bar-Ilan University and author of Islamic History: A Very Short Introduction. He is also a magician and member of the Magic Circle, a UK-based organization dedicated to “promoting and advancing the art of magic.”

According to Silverstein, the root of this problem is largely semantic. “The Arabic word for ‘magic’ is sihr—pronounced with a guttural H—and in the Qur’an it means ‘magic’ in the sense of ‘black magic,’ but in modern Arabic the same word is used for ‘entertaining magic,'” Silverstein explained. “That can lead to unfortunate confusions that can, very occasionally, have serious consequences for magicians in the Muslim world.

Chapter 2, verse 102 [of the Qur’an] specifically states that it is ‘the Satans’ who teach magic,” he said. “Seeing as how sihr is associated with ‘the Satans,’ it would not surprise me at all if some in the Muslim world associate sihr—even of the entertainment sort—with threatening forces.”

Notice how the gutless cowards doing this all cover their faces. What are they afraid of?

What sort of religion is frightened of street entertainers?

A religion of peace?

The carnage is appalling.


– VICE News

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.