A street magician in Syria beloved by children was beheaded by Islamic State group militants after his performances were deemed to be insulting to God, the Daily Mirror reported Wednesday. The murder of the magician, who was known as “Sorcerer,” was called “barbarism and butchery” by a Syrian activist who knew him but fled to safety in nearby Turkey.
"The magician was a popular man who entertained people with little tricks on the street like making coins or [a] phone disappear,” the activist told the British tabloid. "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.”
But to the Islamic State, the group formerly known as ISIS, the street magician’s tricks were anti-Islamic because they were performed through “illusions and falsehood,” according to the Mirror. They also said the Koran forbid the tricks because the time people spent captivated by them could have been better used by going to a mosque, the tabloid added.
The street magician was a staple in Raqqa, the Syrian city where ISIS has its base of operations. He was performing in the eastern Syrian city when he was whisked away by ISIS militants and later beheaded in a public square.
"This is the reality of life in Raqqa, murdered in the name of Allah for performing a few tricks,” the activist said.
Reports of the street magician’s beheading surfaced a day after a deputy in ISIS’ police force in Syria was found beheaded on Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The body of the deputy emir of ISIS’ al-Hesbah force in the Syrian province of Deir el-Zour was also found to be tortured. A message that read, “This is evil, you Sheikh,” was found on his corpse.