Instead, Al Qaeda quickly regained a sanctuary in the province and imposed its extremist interpretation of Islam. U.S. and Iraqi security forces scarcely venture into west Baqubah, where smoking is prohibited, as is the sale of women’s clothing by men. Even placing a cucumber next to a tomato in the markets is forbidden because they have been gendered male and female.
Many people think they can introspect their way toward understanding how other human beings model the world around them. That’s a human bias, we have an innate psychology and in many situations it serves us in good stead. But really, I don’t think most Americans can generate a model where they can make explicable laws against placing different vegetables next to each other because the sexes must not mix. I think the “normal” reaction here is to laugh, but these are people who are willing to kill so that cucumbers and tomatoes don’t occupy the same space. Years ago I was talking to a Muslim who was going to convince me that Islam was true, he had definitive proof. You see, there was a tomato that someone had cut open which exhibited the Arabic inscription “Allah.” Q.E.D. Of course I laughed, and the other individual was left to wonder what was wrong with someone would couldn’t see the power of his proof.
Note: Word of advice: turn on safe search if you query google images for “cucumber.”