Jihadist 'caliph' demands obedience from Muslims

2014-07-06 13:30
Leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. (File, AFP)

Leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Baghdad - Self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made an unprecedented appearance in the Iraqi city of Mosul, which his forces helped capture last month, and ordered Muslims to obey him, according to a video posted online.

That marks a significant change for the shadowy jihadist, whose ISIL group led a lightning offensive that overran swathes of five provinces north and west of Baghdad.

The onslaught has alarmed world leaders, displaced hundreds of thousands and piled pressure on Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki as he seeks a third term in office following April elections.

The video posted on Saturday showed a portly man clad in a long black robe and turban with a long greying beard addressing worshippers at weekly prayers at Al-Nur mosque in central Mosul.

"I am the wali [leader] who presides over you, though I am not the best of you. So if you see that I am right, assist me," said the man, purportedly Baghdadi.

"If you see that I am wrong, advise me and put me on the right track, and obey me as long as I obey God."

Pan-Islamic 'caliphate'

Text superimposed on the video identified the man as "Caliph Ibrahim", the name Baghdadi took when the group on 29 June declared a "caliphate", a pan-Islamic state last seen in Ottoman times, in which the leader is both political and religious.

The video is the first ever official appearance by Baghdadi, said Aymenn al-Tamimi, an expert on Islamist movements, though the jihadist leader may have appeared in a 2008 video under a different name.

Baghdadi is believed to have been born in the Iraqi city of Samarra in 1971, and joined the insurgency against the US military following the 2003 invasion that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.

He spent time in a US military prison and eventually took over leadership of a group, then affiliated with al-Qaeda and known as the Islamic State of Iraq, in 2010.

At the time, the group was believed to be on the ropes, but Baghdadi led it back to prominence.

Last year, the organisation expanded into Syria, becoming a major player in the war to oust President Bashar Assad.

Baghdadi subsequently cut all ties to al-Qaeda, and his influence now rivals that of that group's global chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Influential Sunni Muslim scholar Yusef Al-Qaradawi, meanwhile, warned that the establishment of a caliphate by "a group known for its atrocities and radical views does not serve the Islamic project".

The title of caliph can only be "given by the entire Muslim nation", not by a single group, the cleric added.

ISIL is known for its brutality, executing and crucifying opponents, and photographs emerged on Saturday showing its militants demolishing Sunni and Shi’ite mosques and shrines in Mosul and surrounding Nineveh province.

Iraqi security forces wilted when faced with the initial ISIL-led onslaught, and while they have since performed more capably, they have struggled to retake territory from insurgents.

An assault on Saddam's hometown of Tikrit has gone on for more than a week without retaking the city, while a suicide car bomb killed 15 people on Friday near the sensitive shrine city of Samarra.

The group, formerly called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, renamed itself simply the Islamic State last week.

Iraq has reached out for international assistance and Washington has sent military advisers, but Baghdad's request for American air strikes against the militants has been rebuffed.

Tehran has also pledged assistance, and state media reported on Saturday that an Iranian pilot was killed in Iraq, without providing details on whether he died while flying sorties or fighting on the ground.

Maliki's security spokesperson, meanwhile, told AFP Saturday that ground forces commander Ali Ghaidan and federal police chief Mohsen al-Kaabi have both been sacked, the most senior officers to be dismissed since the militant offensive began.

Government formation deadlock

The crisis has polarised Iraq's Shi’ite Arab, Sunni Arab and Kurdish communities, just as their leaders look to form a new government following April elections.

Maliki, labelled at home and abroad as authoritarian and sectarian, insisted on Friday that he would not give up on his quest for a third term. He pointed to his strong electoral mandate, in which his bloc won nearly three times more seats than its closest challenger.

His remarks came after a farcical parliamentary session in which Iraq's various factions - many of which strongly oppose him staying - failed to unite and choose a speaker.

That sparked criticism from abroad and from the country's top Shi’ite religious leader.

Further highlighting Iraqi disunity, the leader of the country's autonomous Kurds has called on their lawmakers to work towards holding a referendum on independence.

The Kurds' long-held dream of statehood has been advanced by the latest crisis, with their forces having moved in to take control of disputed territory they want to incorporate over Baghdad's strong objections.
Read more on:    is  |  isil  |  abu bakr al-baghdadi  |  iraq
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
75 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Summer is the perfect time for rekindling cooling passions and for shedding your inhibitions as well as your clothes…

 
 

I love summer.24

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.