Spiritual Humiliation: Sectarian Torture Tactics in Assad’s Prisons
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Using an Islamic lens, this paper will explore spiritual humiliation, a method of torture used by guards in Syria’s government torture facilities to violate religious boundaries and demean the spiritual identity of detainees. Spiritual humiliation will be categorized into two forms; the first being forced sin. This is committed in verbal and physical blasphemy and false confessions. The second form of spiritual humiliation is the restriction of religious practice, apparent both directly, by forbidding prayer, fasting, the call to prayer, growing of a beard, and indirectly, by preventing them from seeing the time of day, necessary for fasting and praying, and by imposing a state of religious impurity upon the detainee. Labeling the sectarian abuse that takes place on a smaller scale in torture facilities provides a deeper understanding the religious dimension to the genocide in Syria.