Blind imam who lives under DAESH

Ahmed Nasru has been blind from birth. He was a Yazidi until his mid-teens, when he converted to Sunni Islam. That was when he found a version of the Koran written in Braille

Photo by: TRT WORLD
Photo by: TRT WORLD

Filming Ahmed with his family

Updated Nov 3, 2015

He’s from Afrin in north-west Syria - in Aleppo Province near the Turkish border. When he got older, he became an imam.

18 months ago, he was living in a village when DAESH took control. They wanted him to work for them, but he refused.

They wanted him to read only specific hadiths - sayings of the Prophet Mohammed - and give sermons in the name of the DAESH leader, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.

He told me: ’The situation was really hard because I couldn’t agree with them. This caused me financial problems. I didn’t work under them.

"They offered me a job but I didn’t accept it. They said if anyone agreed with them, they would be paid. If they didn’t agree, they wouldn’t be paid."

Ahmed said there was also intimidation to deal with. "One day I was in the mosque and about to give a sermon at Friday prayers."

"Someone came and held my shoulder and told me that a militant would give the sermon instead of me."

All of which has left him highly critical of the group. "They are a backward organisation. They are so cruel. They use Islam as a pretext for their actions."

"But this is not Islam. Our prophets didn’t preach religion like this, by beheading people or cutting their hands."

Ahmed plays with his son [TRT World]

Eventually he left for Turkey, and now he lives in Gaziantep in a vacant shop with his disabled wife and two children. They share the building with a widow and her two children.

He doesn’t have a job - but he would like one. "Since I am disabled, of course it is really hard but I want to thank the Turkish government."

"I also want to thank my fellow Syrians who opened their doors to me ın Gaziantep. I will be so ın their debt if they can find me a steady job or a steady income."

Author: Andrew Hopkins