The self-proclaimed leader of the united Islamic State, or Caliphate, appeared for the first time in public on Saturday since his military organization took large parts of territory in northern Iraq. Before being named “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (known as ISIS).
In a sign of [ISIS] confidence, the hitherto secretive Baghdadi made an unprecedented public appearance in the militant-held north Iraq city of Mosul, ordering Muslims to obey him, according to a video distributed online on Saturday.
Baghdadi addressed followers in a mosque in Mosul and delivered a Ramadan prayer and call to arms.
According to @Francois_Gatete — here are several excerpts of the video translated into English.
Allah, the exalted, said “The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it;”
O Muslims! The one who ages to see Rama’dhan has been given a great ni’ma. (Blessing.) And a great bounty from Allah, the Exalted.
A month that brings the opening of the doors of eternal paradise and the shutting of the doors of the hellfire. And the jailing of the devils. A month therein is a night which is superior to one thousand nights. Whoever has made it impermissible upon himself (not doing it) has made the entirety of khair (good) impermissible upon himself.
And this is the application of the religion of Allah. And this is the Book that gives guidance, and the sword that delivers swift victories (he’s referring to Surat al-Fath)
And your brothers the mujahideen, indeed did Allah, blessed and exalted, give them victories and conquests which came after many years of hardship and patience. And they were firm against the enemies of Allah, and He made them powerful in the land until the declaration of the Caliphate and choice of an imam. And this is a matter obligatory upon all muslims. It is Waajib! (highest level of obligation) And it must be applied upon the earth entirely. Yet most of the people are ignorant.
Fear Allah in every blessing and in every situation. And spread the truth. And be firm upon it. And spread it upon those you love and those you hate.
And if you are pleased with the promise of Allah, then make jihad in his sake! And call the believers to this, and have patience in the times of doubt. If you knew what was in the jihad, from the ajr (reward), karama (generous blessing), raising in rank, the honor in this life and the next, none of you would stray from the path of jihad!
While this translation has not been independently confirmed, @Francois_Gatete’s translation has been used by a number of media outlets.
According to several military analysts and media reports, ISIS has surpassed al-Qaeda as the largest, richest and most influential Islamist terror group in the world.
In addition, al-Baghdadi and most of the ISIS senior leadership were once held in Iraqi detention facilities by U.S. military forces — but released in 2009.
**UPDATE: Late Saturday, the Iraqi government strongly denied that the video was of al-Baghdadi and claimed the ISIS leader was actually wounded in recent military action.
Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan told Reuters that the footage posted on the Internet on Saturday allegedly showing Abu Bakr el-Baghdadi at Mosul’s grand mosque was “indisputably” not him.
Maan said government forces had recently wounded Baghdadi in an air strike and that he had been transferred by Islamic State militants to Syria for medical treatment. He declined to give further details and there was no way to confirm the claim independently.
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