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The Dangers Of ISIS And Its Progeny Pose To Regional And Global Peace

Washington, D.C. – The American Center for Law and Justice (ACJL) recently published a paper entitled ‘The Dangers Of ISIS And Its Progeny Pose To Regional And Global Peace’ written by Jay Alan Sekulow, Ph.D., J.D. and Robert Weston Ash, J.D. The paper was submitted and presented last month by Dr. Sekulow, on behalf of the ACJL, at the University of Oxford’s program on Middle East studies.

Dr. Sekulow is the Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice and the European Centre for Law and Justice. He was a speaker at The Archon Second International Conference on Religious Freedom held in Berlin, Germany in December 2013 and has been named the recipient of the 2014 Athenagoras Human Rights Award, the presentation of which will take place on October 18, 2014 in New York City.

An excerpt of the paper is provided below with a link to full article.


Introduction and Background

On 4 July 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, newly proclaimed “Caliph Ibrahim” and leader of the so-called “Islamic State” (formerly known as ISIS or ISIL), delivered a sermon at the Grand Mosque in Mosul, Iraq. In his sermon, al-Baghdadi claimed the mantle of caliph–Allah’s vicegerent on Earth–and called on fellow Muslims to obey him as they would Allah and Muhammad. His sermon reads, in pertinent part, as follows:

Verily your brothers the Mujahidin, Allah Blessed and High be He, has favoured them with victory and conquest. And he established for them after long years of Jihad and patience, and meeting in combat with the enemies of Allah, he granted them success, empowered them in order to fulfill their purpose. Verily they hastened to announce the Caliphate and appointing [sic] a leader, and this is an obligation upon Muslims. An obligation which has been made lost for centuries and was absent upon earth’s existence, and so many Muslims were ignorant of it. And those who commit sin; where Muslims are sinning by abandoning and neglecting it, for verily they have to always strive to establish it and here now they have established it, praise and favour is due to Allah.

Verily I am in a trial by this great matter. I am in trial by this trust, a heavy-weighted trust. And so I was put in authority over you, and I am not the best of you nor am I better than you. If you see me upon truth, then support me; and if you see me upon falsehood, then advise me and guide me and obey me as long as I obey Allah in you. Verily if I disobey Him, then obey me not. I am not to promise you as how the kings and rulers promise their followers and their citizens from luxury, prosperity, security and wealth; but instead, I promise you by what Allah, Blessed and High be He, has promised His believing servants: Allah has promised those who have believed among you and done righteous deeds that He will surely grant them succession upon the earth just as He granted it to those before them. Just as He granted it to those before them and that He will surely substitute for them, after their fear, security, they worship Me, not associating anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after that–then those are the defiantly disobedient [25:55].

Who is the New Caliph?

“Caliph Ibrahim” was born Abu Du’a in 1971. His most recent nom de guerre is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He grew up in “a religious family in Samarra . . . . He studied Islamic history as a student and . . . gained a doctorate from Baghdad University in the late 1990s”. “It is likely al-Baghdadi held a religious position in the Sunni community when the US invaded Iraq in 2003”. Following the US invasion of Iraq, al-Baghdadi joined the armed resistance to coalition troops in Iraq, but he was captured and detained in a US-run Iraqi prison in 2006. Following al-Baghdadi’s release in the late 2000s, he joined the predecessor to ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). In 2010, al-Baghdadi became the leader of ISI. He changed the name of the organisation to ISIS in 2013. Al-Baghdadi is regarded as a battlefield commander and tactician. His battle tactics and leadership skills appeal to young jihadists, to the extent that ISIS now threatens al-Qaeda’s dominant role in Muslim youth recruitment.

Under al-Baghdadi’s leadership, ISIS gained considerable financial clout. ISIS previously relied on donations from wealthy individuals in the Gulf Arab states who were supporting ISIS in the Syrian conflict. ISIS now has cash and assets of its own. Al-Baghdadi has secured two primary revenue streams: oil sales from ISIS-controlled oil fields in Syria and sales of antiquities from looted historical sites. ISIS accumulated cash and assets worth an estimated two billion dollars. When ISIS overran Mosul, Iraq, his forces looted banks of cash and precious metals.

On 29 June 2014, al-Baghdadi declared himself to be “Caliph Ibrahim”. A statement published by ISIS to support al-Baghdadi’s designation as caliph listed his qualifications as follows: “The mujahid, the scholar who practices what he preaches, the worshipper, the leader, the warrior, the reviver, the descendant from the family of the Prophet, the slave of Allah”.

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