What is Shariah law?

The al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) announced Friday that a Shariah-based system of governance will be imposed in Mosul and other cities and towns in Iraq that have been overtaken by militants.

It is already forbidden in Iraq to enact legislation that is antithetical to Islam, but the imposition of Shariah law is highly controversial and open to interpretation.

We answer some questions about Shariah law below:

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The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has imposed Shariah law in parts of Syria and Iraq. Here, veiled women walk along a street in the northern province of Raqqa, Syria.

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