BAGHDAD: The leader of a brutal militant group addressed worshippers in the militant-held Iraqi city of Mosul, ordering Muslims to “obey” him and calling for global jihad, in a video distributed online on Saturday.
The appearance by the hitherto elusive chief of Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham (ISIS), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, at a mosque in Mosul for Friday prayers marks a significant change for the militant leader whose group has overrun swathes of territory across five provinces north and west of Baghdad.
A video posted on social media showed a portly man clad in a long black robe and a black turban with a long greying beard addressing worshippers at weekly prayers at Al-Nur mosque in central Mosul.
“I am the wali (leader) who presides over you, though I am not the best of you, so if you see that I am right, assist me,” said the man, purportedly Baghdadi.
“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.”
Text superimposed on the video identified the man as “Caliph Ibrahim”, the name Baghdadi has gone by since the group on June 29 declared a “caliphate”.
The video is said to be the first official appearance by Baghdadi.
Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2014