Sunday, 07 September, 2014
Up until now, locals in Mosul, the northern city under the control of Sunni Muslim extremists, have not been able to withdraw their money from their bank accounts. That changed last week. However every withdrawal comes with conditions, including a three-person committee that asks where the money came from and a compulsory tax for funding the Islamist’s Caliphate.
Locals in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul have been allowed to enter neighbourhood banks for the first time since Sunni Muslim extremists took over the city. Before this fighters from the group now known as the Islamic State, or IS, have been guarding the banks and not allowing anybody inside.
A day after the official IS radio station in Mosul, Al Bayan, broadcast the message about the banks being re-opened, there was a long queue outside Branch 112 of the Rafidain Bank.
“The instructions that the IS group gave were shocking to anyone who has a bank account,” one of Branch 112’s employees whispered to a cement merchant, Abdullah al-Jibouri, who had come into the bank.
To withdraw money the holder of any bank account has to submit a statement to a three-person committee, all of whom are members of the IS group. The members of the group are allegedly experts in finance.
The committee would also check that the accounts did not belong to, or was connected to, any government institution. Nor could it be in the name of any wanted individuals that the IS group was seeking, or in the name of any Christians, Yazidis, Shiite Muslims or Sunni Muslims that the IS fighters considered an enemy – for example, members of the security forces or local politicians.
If all of these conditions are fulfilled and the account holder gets the committee’s approval, then money may be withdrawn.