What began as a cosmetic change in Mr. Hamoud’s office soon turned into a wholesale transformation.
The militants sent female employees home for good and closed the day care center. They shuttered the office’s legal department, saying disputes would now be handled according to God’s law alone.
And they did away with one of the department’s daily duties — checking an apparatus, placed outside, to measure precipitation. Rain, they said, was a gift from Allah — and who were they to measure his gift?
Employees were also told they could no longer shave, and they had to make sure the leg of their trousers did not reach the ankle.
Glossy pamphlets, like the one below, pinpointed the spot on the calf where the hem of the garb worn by the companions of the Prophet around 1,400 years ago was said to have reached.
I forgot how awesome religion is.
But wait, ISIS runs a ruthless but clean ship:
Mr. Hamoud, who is known as “Abu Sara,” or Father of Sara, gave in and bought a niqab for his daughter.
As he walked to and from work, Mr. Hamoud began taking side streets to dodge the frequent executions that were being carried out in traffic circles and public squares. In one, a teenage girl accused of adultery was dragged out of a minivan and forced to her knees. Then a stone slab was dropped onto her head. On a bridge, the bodies of people accused of being spies swung from the railing.
But on the same thoroughfares, Mr. Hamoud noticed something that filled him with shame: The streets were visibly cleaner than they had been when the Iraqi government was in charge.
Omar Bilal Younes, a 42-year-old truck driver whose occupation allowed him to crisscross the caliphate, noticed the same improvement. “Garbage collection was No. 1 under ISIS,” he said, flashing a thumbs-up sign.
So hey, you’ll have the occasional head smashed with a big stone, but things are going to be squeaky clean.