Spending 10 months as captive for the so-called Islamic State (ISIL), French journalist Didier François said his captors were usually engaged in political discussions and “didn’t even have the Qur’an”.
“There was never really discussion about texts or — it was not a religious discussion. It was a political discussion,” François told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, February 3.
“It was more hammering what they were believing than teaching us about the Quran. Because it has nothing to do with the Qur’an.”
“They didn’t even have the Quran; they didn’t want even to give us a Qur’an.”
Francois is one of the few captives who were released by ISIL last April before the militant group’s expansion in Iraq.
Though he did not wish to elaborate on how he was treated by ISIL, he stressed that local Syrians and Iraqis faced most of the torture at the hands of their captors.
“We could see some of them in the corridors when we were taken to the toilets,” he said, “and we could see some people lying in their blood.”
“You could see the chains hanging, or the ropes hanging, or the iron bars.”
For François, losing freedom was the worst nightmare he faced during those 10 months.
“Of course we were beaten up. But it was not every day. I mean, it’s hard enough — you don’t have to overplay it.”
“It’s hard enough to lose your freedom. It’s hard enough to be in the hands of people who you know are killing hundreds and thousands of local Syrians, Iraqis, Libyans, Tunisians, can put bombs in our countries.”
“It’s terrifying enough. The beating is strong, but it’s not every day. It happens sometimes.”
“If they wanted to wreck you, they could. None of us would have been able to go through if it was beating every day, and torture every day.”
Francois was released on April 19, 2014, at the Turkish borders where soldiers found them with their hands bound and blindfolded.
He was released just before ISIL made its shocking sweep through Iraq, capturing vast amounts of territory in June 2014.
“So we didn’t know the level of the risk, or we didn’t realize the level of the risk at the time.
“Plus it was the time when the people from ISIS were still hiding within Jabhat al-Nusra and didn’t organize their kind of coup within al Qaeda,” he added, using another acronym for the militant group.
Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have been widely condemned by Muslims worldwide who staged several protests to express anger against the terrorist group.
Echoing Al-Azhar Grand Imam condemnation of the group, Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh has urged Muslims to take up arms against the militant group’s members, condemning them as aggressors who abuse people’s lives, possessions and honor.
Al-Sheikh has described Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State jihadists as “enemy number one” of Islam.
Months ago, Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam also condemned the militants for atrocities they have been perpetrating in the countries and their violation of principles and teachings preached by Islam.
India Sunni and Shiite Muslims have united against the rise of ISIL, asserting that the actions of destroying holy sites, supporting sectarianism and divisions between Muslim groups cannot be attributed to a true Islamic state.
Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia’s largest Islamic group has condemned ISIL, urging the government to take firmer action against the possible spread of the movement in Indonesia.
The Islamic Student Union (HMI) has also condemned Indonesian Muslims condoning and adhering to ISIL’s ideology.