Still image from video of Maaz al-Kassasbeh's brutal execution
Still image from video of Maaz al-Kassasbeh's brutal executionReuters

Egypt’s former mufti expressed doubt recently that the Islamic State (ISIS) indeed burned alive a Jordanian pilot it kidnapped in Syria.

In an address posted on the internet on February 5 and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), the former mufti, Ali Gomaa, opined that the images showing the burning of the pilot  were photoshopped in order "to instill terror in people's hearts."

“Let me surprise you… ISIS did not immolate the guy. He died on January 3. When you say him standing there – it was photoshopped. The proof is that he did not move while he was burning. Can anyone just stand there and burn like that,” Gomaa said in the video.

“By the way, I know that he was killed on January 5. I know that the pilot was killed on January 5. So why did they do all this? To instill terror in people's hearts. When they enter villages, they take the women and kill them. Just like the Mongols did – the Mongols did the same exact thing. Whenever they took over a city, they would kill the women. They would kill the children in front of their mothers. Then they would kill the men, and the rest would say: ‘Enough. No one is left to protect us. Do as you wish. You are our masters now,’" he added.

Since joining the fighting in Syria and subsequently taking over swathes of land in Syria and Iraq, ISIS has committed countless atrocities. After releasing a video showing the burning alive of the Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, the group burned 45 people to death in al-Baghdadi in western Iraq.

The group has also released videos showing its members beheading hostages, the last such video being the beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians kidnapped by ISIS’s affiliate in Libya.

ISIS has not been all about brutal death and destruction, however. In its attempts to recruit young women to its ranks, the group has used images of Nutella chocolate spread, kittens, and emoji computer ideograms.