State (IS) online community has been reacting to the loss of the IS leader, Abu
Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the appointment of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi.
October, the U.S. President Donald Trump and the Pentagon officially confirmed
the death of Al-Baghdadi, who killed himself during a counter-terrorism
operation launched by U.S. special forces in a compound nearby Barisha, a
village in the insurgent-held region of Idlib in northern Syria.
online community did not accept U.S. confirmation and urged that their comrades
wait for confirmation to be issued by the official media branches of the group,
as happened with former spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani al-Shami, confirmed by
IS to have been killed within a few hours of the U.S. airstrike in 2016.
period between Trump’s press conference and the official statement by IS, the
group’s supporters shared famous speeches from the past, considered by IS
sympathizers to be ideological touchstones of the self-styled Caliphate’s
these, the prominent IS supporters’ group, Ahlut Tawhid Publications shared a
speech released by Abu Umar al-Baghdadi, Abu Bakr’s predecessor, entitled “The
Promise of Allah”. With this message, released in late 2008, Abu Umar
emphasized the outcomes that has to be awaited by the mujahideen—martyrdom or
victory. The outlet added:
And about a
year later Shaykh Abu Umar al-Baghdadi received one of the two best outcomes
for the Muslim: martyrdom.
way, it seems that Ahlut Tawhid Publications, despite the unconfirmed news of
the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, wanted to prepare and to close the ranks of
IS supporters. Abu Umar’s speech itself warned the jihadists against U.S. lies
about the imminent defeat of the group. Indeed, the editors of Ahlut Tawhid
Publications commented this speech writing:
defiant speech, Shaykh Abu Umar al-Baghdadi (rahimahullah) tells of the U.S.
and how its lies of defeating the Mujahideen were increasing, similar to today,
claiming that the war was laying down its burdens.
message from Al-Adnani’s 2015 speech, “Say, ‘Die in Your Rage’,” was
re-released, where he states:
impossible it is for you (Crusaders) to gain victory! Indeed, every Mujahid
Muwahid has complete certainty that you altogether will not be able to harm
him except with the permission of his Lord who has taken him as an ally.
As noted by
several analysts in these days, a pro-IS channel named “Freedom” affirmed:
Al-Baghdadi was killed … Will that change the situation in the ground? Probably
although influential, is but one person. The term Caliphate that ISIS promotes
is not a temporary idea whereby if one person dies, the whole project or
ideology ends. Al-Baghdadi is not the first jihadi leader to be killed, if the
news is verified; before him influential figures such as [Osama] Bin Laden,
[Abu Musab] Al-Zarqawi, Abu Umar al-Baghdadi, [Abu Hamza] Al-Muhajir,
Al-Adnani, [Abu Umar] Al-Shishani were all killed. It didn’t stop anything,
neither did it change the situation on the ground.
to the New Caliph
October, Al-Furqan Foundation, the official IS channel, released an
audio-message with the voice of the new spokesman of the group, Abu Hamza
al-Qurayshi, entitled, “And he who fulfills that which he has promised Allah,
He will give him a great reward”. In this speech, Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi
confirmed the deaths of his predecessor, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, and the
martyrdom the Caliph, Abu Bakr. Moreover, he affirmed that, as stated by the
Shura Council of the group in accordance with Al-Baghdadi’s will, Abu Ibrahim
al-Hashemi had been appointed as the new Caliph, inviting the mujahideen
worldwide and the entire ummah (Islamic nation) to give bay’ah (an oath of
heavy loss suffered by the group’s leadership, IS’s online community has
promptly reacted to the appointment of the new leader, sharing official
communications in order to swear allegiance, transcribe, and translate the
audio-message released by Al-Furqan.
Al-Muntasir Media shared the audio-messages translations in English and
Spanish; Infos an-Nur in French; Meydan Haber in Turkish; Ar-Raje Foundation in
Dhivehi (Maldivian language); and Al-Tamkin Media in Bengali. On it went.
Media, famous for its threats against Spanish judge Jose Maya, released a
poster promising to take revenge. In a chat entitled “Honor is in Jihad”, an
account shared the Al-Muntasir Media poster, commenting:
Trump, you mock our leaders. Don’t you know that we have hundreds of Baghdadis?
Hundreds of Adnanis. Hundreds of Zarqawis. And we are raising thousands of Bin
Al-Muntasir Media has also shared videos on the last Al-Furqan audio-message
subtitled in Italian, Spanish, and English.
prominent IS-aligned media groups, such as Al-Abd al-Faqir Foundation and
Al-Battar Media, shared several posters and photomontages of Abu Bakr and his
spokesman Abu Hassan. Among the most shared posters, one made by Al-Abd
al-Faqir Foundation depicts al-Baghdadi in his first public appearance in the
Nur Mosque in Mosul, as if he was leaving a last message to his Mujahideen:
I left a
Caliphate for you… Safeguard it
online supporter expected big things from the new Caliph, Abu Ibrahim:
In the era
of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (may Allah accept him), the seed for the establishment
of the Islamic State was laid. During the rule of Shaykh Abu Umar al-Baghdadi
and Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, the Islamic State of Iraq was established.
In the time
of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (may Allah accept him), big conquests took place in
Syria, Yemen, Sinai, Libya, West Africa, Central Africa, East Asia, Somalia and
Khorasan. Also, cells of Islamic State soldiers were placed in the midst of
crusaders, in their homelands.
Caliphate was established.
[God willing], at the hands of our Shaykh and our new Emir, Abu Ibrahim
al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi (the Caliph of the Muslims), will come a new phase of
victory, expansion and the fight against nations of kufr [disbelief] and
apostasy! Every time a new leader came, he was harsher than the previous one to
the people of disbelief and apostasy.
was issued by the IS-aligned Jaysh al-Islam in Gaza, mourning the passing of
Abu Bakr and Abu Hassan.
then began gathering bay’ah from the foreign provinces of IS. Despite the heavy
losses suffered by IS’s leadership, the media capabilities of the group seem to
be intact and able to coordinate the provinces’ media activities and its
supporters worldwide. For this reason, we should expect, in the upcoming
period, a new military campaign in order to avenge Abu Bakr’s death or to
praise the appointment of the new Caliph, along the lines of the previous
offensive launched worldwide after the defeat of the organization in Bagouz,
entitled “Vengeance for the Blessed Sham Wilaya”.
from Rival Jihadists
“central” (AQC) and its affiliates, and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
(Taliban) to which Al-Qaeda has bay’ah, have largely abstained from commenting
on the Caliph’s downfall.
Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the Al-Qaeda derivative jihadi group in Idlib, and some
Al-Qaeda-linked scholars have commented on the news.
through its media mouthpiece Ibaa News Channel and echoed by the Syria-based
Saudi cleric Abdullah al-Muhaysini, emphasized the crimes perpetrated by Abu
Bakr al-Baghdadi and his gang against Sunnis in Syria and Iraq. According to
Ibaa News Channel editors, Abu Bakr and his group have restored, through their
actions and crimes, the Assad regime’s legitimacy, playing a pivotal role
against the revolution in Syria and betraying the Mujahideen factions.
Al-Muhaysini has defined 27 October as a “glorious night in Muslim history”.
Zurayqat, a former scholar in Qaeda-aligned Abdullah Azzam Brigades in Lebanon
praised Abu Bakr’s death, assuring his audience that “Allah has destroyed a
symbol of falsehood”.
It is to be
expected that AQC will try to capitalize this moment, to annex what manpower
and resources it can from the disaffected among IS’s loyalists, whether through
videos and statements by Al-Qaeda emir Ayman al-Zawahiri, or by deputies within
Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) or Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
(AQAP). How much success this will have, time will tell.
Headline: “I Left a Caliphate For You … Safeguard It”: Islamic State Supporters
React to the Caliph’s Death
Source: European Eye on Radicalisation