Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the shadowy leader of the Sunni extremist group ISIS, is said to have delivered a Ramadan sermon in Mosul, a city which his group overran just last month. This would a rare, if not first, public appearance by the leader. From the Associated Press:
The video was released on at least two websites known to be used by the group, but it was not possible to independently verify whether the person shown was indeed the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. It bore the logo of al-Furqan, the group's media arm."
Needless to say, this is quite a power move for Baghdadi. It was the first Friday service of Ramadan. It was held at the Great Mosque in Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, which ISIS recently conquered. And, at the service, Baghdadi reportedly introduced himself as Caliph Ibrahim (after the Caliphate he declared last month). Baghdadi also said he was going to appear there ahead of time.
So Baghdadi schedules a sermon in a mosque in Mosul, then holds said sermon at designated time. And no one can catch him...— Michael Weiss (@michaeldweiss) July 5, 2014
In the sermon, he called on other Muslims to "obey" him:
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 in you."
Sounds pretty reasonable. Also this:
Missing from #Baghdadi sermon was any threat to the West or the United States. Only vague threats to the enemies of Islam.— Ben Hubbard (@NYTBen) July 5, 2014
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.