A man claiming to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIS, the Islamic terrorist group that has been tearing through the Middle East and taken over several areas of Iraq, brazenly took to the pulpit Friday at the Great Mosque in the northern city of Mosul. The event was captured on video, and showed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaiming to his audience, “Allah likes us to kill his enemies and make jihad,” reports the Mirror.
Brazen, that is, if the speaker was, in fact, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The enigmatic terrorist leader is seldom seen and only a few rare photographs of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi are said to exist, let alone video. So his publicly taking the stage in the wake of his group’s successful military quests is also believed to be a dramatic flexing of the muscle behind his Islamic extremist campaign.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, an Iraqi militant, is believed to be in his early 40s, according to an AP report. He also reportedly has a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head, making this alleged public appearance all the more bold.
The ISIS group’s original incarnation was a branch of al-Qaida, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took control of it in 2010. From its humble al-Qaida beginnings, the group has now evolved into a major military force making Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the widely recognized world leader of the jihadi community.
It was five days ago that the group claimed it had established an Islamic state, also known as a caliphate, covering the areas it has taken control of in Iraq and Syria. Al-Baghdadi was announced leader of the caliphate and he quickly called for all Muslims to pledge their allegiance to him.
The purported Al-Baghdadi reflects on this in the video, and the divine nature of his role:
“The mujahedeen have been rewarded victory by God after years of jihad, and they were able to achieve their aim and hurried to announce the caliphate and choose the Imam… It is a burden to accept this responsibility to be in charge of you. I am not better than you or more virtuous than you. If you see me on the right path, help me. If you see me on the wrong path, advise me and halt me. And obey me as far as I obey God.”
The Al-Baghdadi-led ISIS takeover of Mosul last month sent the international community scrambling for answers to combat the Islamic extremist power. It also established ISIS as the richest terror group on the planet.
Al-Baghdadi was held in a U.S. detention camp in Iraq from 2005 to 2009, the source of one of the few pictures of him. Upon his release from the camp, he reportedly told U.S. officials: “I’ll see you in New York.”
Images via Youtube