Meet the new caliph

By Zhao Jinglun
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 28, 2014
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 Shrouded in bigotry [By Zhai Haijun/]

 Shrouded in bigotry [By Zhai Haijun/]

Ibrahim al-Badri, also called Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is the new caliph of the newly established caliphate on June 29. Caliph Ibrahim is the supreme religious and political leader of the Muslim faithful in the State of Islam (formerly the ISIS-Islamic State of Iraq).

Al-Baghdadi took the name Abu Bakr, the name of the earliest caliphs, and proclaimed an affiliation with the Quraysh, the Prophet's natal tribe, although he is not of Meccan origin.

According to Sunni Muslim tradition, the caliph should be elected by Muslims or their representatives. But as al-Baghdadi declared to his followers, "I have been appointed over you." He thus thumbed his nose at the principles of consultation and public allegiance that are the foundation of the earlier, legitimate caliphate.

The original Arabic sources discuss the qualifications of the individual best suited for the office of the caliph, and they emphasize the following traits: generosity, truthfulness, courage and most importantly, superior knowledge of both religion and the world. Al-Baghdadi did earn a master's degree and a PhD in Islamic studies from the University of Islamic Sciences in the Baghdad suburb of Adamiya. However, that was at a time when education there had collapsed because of Saddam Hussein's misrule and UN sanctions.

Another problem is that al-Baghdadi is a psychopathic mass killer. He blew up children at ice cream shops, blew up wedding parties and then came back to blow up the funerals. He led the attack on the Umm al-Qura Mosque in Baghdad and killed prominent Sunni lawmaker Khalid al-Fahdawi on August 28, 2011.

According to the UN, after the ISIS captured Mosul, it quickly executed civilians and government security troops. Some 1,700 of the latter were killed. It persecuted the minorities so severely that for the first time in 1,900 years, there are no Christians left in the city. Those who escaped murder ran away.

For these reasons the new caliphate does not bear any resemblance to mainstream Islam.

After the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632 AD, Abu Bakr al-Siddiq was proclaimed caliph. He was chosen over Ali ibn Abi Talib, the Prophet's cousin and son-in-law. This shows kinship to the Prophet or tribal affiliation was not a decisive factor in choosing the next leader.

Al Siddiq said in a speech that the caliphate should be selected on the basis of moral excellence, humility and accountability to the people. Even though al-Baghdadi did cite part of al Siddiq's speech in a sermon he gave at the Grand Mosque in Mosul, he is the opposite of moral excellence. As a mass killer, he is known for moral depravity.

The vicissitude of the caliphate is quite remarkable. The Abbasid caliphate was ended by the Mongol conquest of Baghdad in 1258.

According to Ahmad al-Damanhuri, rector of al-Azhar Seminary in Cairo, the foremost center of Sunni learning, the caliphate ended in 1258, and the Mamluk "shadow caliphate" hadn't amounted to much. The Ottomans were kings, not caliphs.

In 1880, Abdulhamid declared himself caliph. Then the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I. In 1924, General Mustafa Kemal, founder of modern Turkey, abolished the caliphate.

Ninety years later, we have a new caliphate based in Mosul and headed by al-Baghdadi. He is sometimes called a second Osama bin Laden. His policy of war and mass killing doesn't bode well for the caliphate's future.

The author is a columnist with For more information please visit:

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