The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), alternatively translated as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Arabic: الدولة الاسلامية في العراق والشام al-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah fī al-ʻIrāq wa-al-Shām), also known by its Arabic acronym as DĀʻiSh or DAISH (Arabic: داعش Dāʻish), now called simply the Islamic State (IS) (Arabic: الدولة الإسلامية al-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah), is an unrecognized state and active jihadist militant group in Iraq and Syria. In its self-proclaimed status as Caliphate, it claims religious authority over all Muslims and aspires to bring much of the Muslim-inhabited regions of the world under its direct political control,beginning with nearby territory in the Levant region, which includes Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Kuwait, Cyprus, and an area in southern Turkey that includes Hatay.
The group, in its original form, was composed of and supported by a variety of Sunni insurgent groups, including its predecessor organizations, the Mujahideen Shura Council, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) and Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the insurgent groups Jaysh al-Fatiheen, Jund al-Sahaba, Katbiyan Ansar Al-Tawhid wal Sunnah and Jeish al-Taiifa al-Mansoura, and a number of Iraqi tribes that profess Sunni Islam.
ISIS grew significantly as an organization owing to its participation in the Syrian Civil War and the strength of its supreme leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Economic and political discrimination against Iraqi Sunnis since the fall of Saddam Hussein also helped it to gain support. At the height of the Iraq War, its forerunners enjoyed a significant presence in the Iraqi governorates of Al Anbar, Ninawa, Kirkuk, most of Salah ad Din, parts of Babil,Diyala and Baghdad, and claimed Baqubah as a capital city. In the ongoing Syrian Civil War, ISIS has a large presence in the Syrian governorates of Ar-Raqqa, Idlib and Aleppo.
ISIS is known for its harsh interpretation of Islam i.e., Wahhabi movement and brutal violence, which is directed particularly against Shia Muslims and Christians. It has at least 4,000 fighters in its ranks who, in addition to attacks on government and military targets, have claimed responsibility for attacks that have killed thousands of civilians. ISIS had close links with al-Qaeda until 2014, but in February of that year, after an eight-month power struggle, al-Qaeda cut all ties with the group, reportedly for its “notorious intractability” and wanton brutality.
ISIS’s original aim was to establish a caliphate in the Sunni-majority regions of Iraq. Following its involvement in the Syrian Civil War, this expanded to include controlling Sunni-majority areas of Syria (see spillover of the Syrian War). A caliphate was proclaimed on 29 June 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was named as its caliph, and the group was renamed the Islamic State.
ISIS is an extremist group which follows al-Qaeda’s hard-line ideology and adheres to global jihadist principles. Like al-Qaeda and many other modern-day jihadist groups, ISIS emerged from the ideology of theMuslim Brotherhood, the world’s first Islamist group dating back to the late-1920s in Egypt, which follows an extreme anti-Western interpretation of Islam, promotes religious violence and regards those who do not agree with its interpretation as infidels and apostates. Concurrently, it aims to establish a Salafist-orientated Islamist state in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the Levant. ISIS’s ideology originates in the branch of modern Islam that aims to return to the early days of Islam, rejecting later “innovations” in the religion which they believe corrupt its original spirit. They condemn later caliphates and the Ottoman empire for deviating from what they call pure Islam and hence have been attempting to establish their own caliphate. Some Sunni scholars, Zaid Hamid, for example, and even Salafi and jihadi muftis such as Adnan al-Aroor and Abu Basir al-Tartusi, say that ISIS and related terrorist groups are not Sunnis, but Kharijite heretics serving an imperial anti-Islamic agenda.
From the beginning the establishment of a pure Islamic state has been one of ISIS’s main goals. According to journalist Sarah Birke, one of the main “significant differences” between Al-Nusra Front and ISIS is that ISIS “tends to be more focused on establishing its own rule on conquered territory”. ISIS is “far more ruthless” in building an Islamic state, “carrying out sectarian attacks and imposing sharia law immediately”. Finally, on 29 June 2014, ISIS removed “Iraq and the Levant” from its name and began to refer to itself as the Islamic State, declaring its occupied territory a new caliphate.
In mid-2014, the group released a video entitled “The End of Sykes–Picot” featuring an English-speaking Chilean national named Abu Safiyya. The video announced the group’s intention to eliminate all modern borders between Islamic Middle Eastern countries, referring in particular to the borders set by the Sykes–Picot agreement during World War I.
They are threatening to demolish sacred Shrines in Iraq, they demolished some of the sacred shrines in Syria. They have also threatened to capture Saudi Arabia so that they can bring down the Ka’abah, which is the most sacred place for every Muslim.
Yet they still call themselves as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and they call them Mujahideens (the holy fighters) as according to them they are carrying out God’s commands. But I was wondering that there is a recent Israeli aggression in Gaza in Palestine, but why don’t these Holy Fighters going in Palestine to help the Palestinians?
If Mr.Baghdadi is a Khalifa of Muslims, then shouldn’t he be commanding to carry out Jihad in Palestine? Do they only do Jihad against Muslims, be it Syria, be it Iraq, be it Pakistan? I shoot this question towards the apologists of ISIS that can you explain this to me please?