Croissants may look harmless, but a sharia committee overseeing a rebel-held area of Aleppo thinks otherwise. The judicial committee, Hayaa al-Sharia, banned Syrians from consuming the flaky pastries earlier this week. The committee isn’t taking a page out of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s book and banning croissants for their impressive calorie count, however — the committee announced that the moon-shaped pastry “celebrates European victory over Muslims,” Al Arabiya reported. Syria was a French colony until the mid-twentieth century.
The fatwa against croissants, which aren’t likely to be abundant in the war-torn city anyway, is part of a growing trend of extremism in rebel groups. Recently, one rebel group controlling a part of Aleppo executed a 14-year-old boy for using the Prophet Muhammed’s name in vain. An Aleppo-based rebel group has also issued fatwas warning women not to wear make-up or tight clothing in public. Syrians typically follow a moderate interpretation of Islam, so the extremists who have begun to exercise power throughout some rebel-controlled areas have enraged many residents.
The ban on croissants likely stems from the legend that the pastry was invented in Budapest to celebrate repelling a Turkish invasion. Many food historians have debuked the veracity of the legend, and it’s the French, not the Hungarians, that once controlled Syria. Despite the dubious origin of the croissant ban, no one seems to have stepped forward to deliver an au contraire to the extremist sharia court.