'Islamic State' Leader: Next We Take Rome
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi calls on Muslims worldwide to join the fight
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2014 5:35 PM CDT
This undated photo posted by the US State Department in their Rewards for Justice website on June 18, 2014 shows Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State.   (AP Photo/U.S. State Department Rewards for Justice, File)

(Newser) – A self-proclaimed "caliph" of the Middle East is urging Muslims worldwide to join the fight in Iraq and one day conquer the world, "if Allah wills." Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the newly named Islamic State (formerly ISIS) that has grabbed swaths of northern Iraq, issued his call today in an online audio tape, the Telegraph reports:

  • "Rush O Muslims to your state. It is your state. Syria is not for Syrians and Iraq is not for Iraqis. The land is for the Muslims, all Muslims. This is my advice to you. If you hold to it you will conquer Rome and own the world, if Allah wills."

He also called on judges, doctors, and engineers to add their skills to the battlefield, and told everyday jihadists to intensify fighting for the month of Ramadan, which started yesterday. He described their battle as one between "belief and hypocrisy," the latter including Jews, the US, and Russia, NBC News reports. The Islamic State just pronounced al-Baghdadi as "caliph," a medieval title, but of course not everyone agrees; fighters in Syria and an association of Muslim scholars in Iraq have already issued rejections, Al Jazeera reports. Meanwhile, the Sunni militant group showed off a parade of military hardware this weekend in a Syrian town, including armored personnel carriers, tanks, and a scud missile—but experts say the missile is likely inoperable, the Daily Mail reports. (The Islamic State also crucified eight rebel fighters deemed "too moderate.")

View 1 more image