Newly Released Tape of ISIS Leader: ‘Islam is the Religion of War’

Baghdadi’s face hasn't appeared in any IS media since July 2014, when the group conquered the Iraqi city of Mosul.

By Published on May 15, 2015

An audio recording surfaced online Thursday purporting to be the voice of Islamic State’s self-styled caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, urging Muslims worldwide to join the jihadi group. His most recent previous audio message was released in November.

The new message, whose title is translated as “March Forth Whether Light or Heavy,” relies heavily on Quranic passages and arcane myths about the end of the world. The leader uses them to argue that “there is no excuse for any Muslim who is capable of performing hijrah [immigration] to the Islamic State, or capable of carrying a weapon where he is.” The English translation used here was released simultaneously by official Islamic State channels.

He goes on to insist to his audience that “Islam was never for a day the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of war.”

He also denounces “America and its allies from amongst the Jews, Crusaders, Rāfidah (Shiites), secularists, atheists, and apostates,” dismissing as lies the claim that the U.S.-led military campaign against his group “is to aid the weak and oppressed, help the poor, relieve the afflicted, liberate the enslaved, defend the innocent and peaceful, and prevent the shedding of their blood.” Sunni Arab allies of the United States, meanwhile, he calls “guard dogs.”

In recent weeks, rumors have circulated about Baghdadi’s death or incapacitation in the U.S.-led airstrikes targeting the group in Syria and Iraq. The Iraqi Ministry of Defense claims that his deputy, a man named Abu Alaa al-Afri, was killed in recent weeks — a claim the Pentagon denies.

Analyst Hassan Hassan tweeted upon the recording’s release that it likely dated from late March 2015. While it makes repeated references to the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen and other events from that time, it does not allude to any news since then, including IS’ territorial gains or losses.

There was no immediate confirmation that the voice in the 35-minute recording was Baghdadi’s.


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Copyright 2015 The Daily Caller News Foundation

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