To us, Westerners, it does not seem like a particularly big deal that ISIS/ISIL had pronounced the terrirories it now controls as a Capilhate and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (whatever previous names he may have been know by) as a Caliph.
All right, let’s analyze this, one bit at a time…
Al-Baghdadi simply means ‘from Baghdad’.
So, what does Abu Bakr mean?
It is obviously not the man’s birth name but rather a name he adopted in order to fit/further/support/explain the role he perceives himself (and others perceive him) to play. Or, if you wish, the ‘mantle’ he had assumed.
Who was the original Abu Bakr?
The ‘original’ Abu Bakhr was the very first person outside of Muhammad’s family to become a Muslim – and he was the father of Muhammad’s child bride, Aisha.
To a person who is familiar with the history of early Islam, the above sentence is chock filled with meaning – so much so that a single little article may not do it justice…but, I will try!
The Early history of Islam is imbued with much meaning and allusions to it will convey many layers of meaning to those cognisant of it. In order to even scratch the surface, I will need to ‘back up’ to the time of Muhammad himself.
Muhammad was born to a pre-eminent Meccan family. His paternal grandfather was in control of the temple now know as the Kaaba. It is now the most sacred site in Islam – the direction in which every Muslim prays. Back then before Muhammad’s ministry, the Kaaba was a temple dedicated to many, many deities worshiped by the pagan Arabs – including the Moon God, Allah.
As the patriarch of the clan, Muhammad’s grandfather controlled access to the Kaaba temple – and much (if not all) of his income was generated from the fees paid by pilgrims who wished to visit the Kaaba.
Muhammad’s father was the son of this ‘gatekeeper’ of the Kaaba.
As a matter of fact, when Muhammad’s grandfather went to purchase Muhammad’s wife for his son, he saw another lovely woman in that family and purchased her for a wife for himself. Therefore, Muhammed’s father married Muhamed’s mother in the same ceremony as his father married her kinswoman….and it is from this tradition that the tales of Muhammad’s unnaturally long gestation period come from…
Whatever the truth of the story, Muhammad was born long after his mother’s husband’s death – so long, in fact, that some people have questioned his parentage. It seems that the worry about Muhmmed’s parentage was shared by Muhamed’s paternal grandfather….who refused to acknowledge Muhammed as being of his kin, prompting the teenage Muhammed’s excommunication from Mecca. It was not until Muhammed’s paternal uncle officially adopted him that Muhammed was permitted to return to Mecca.
Once in Mecca, Muhammed caught the eye of his uncle’s employer, a wealthy widow named Khadija – who eventually married Muhammed.
Prior to meeting Muhammed, Khadijah was in love with her cousin whom he believed to be the messenger from the one and only God. Once she saw the young and handsome cattle-boy Muhammed, Khadija realized she was totally wrong and, afer she married Muhammad, she realized that it was really Muhammed who was the true prophet of the one and only God.
It took a few years of persuasion, but, eventually, the young Muhammed believed his wife (the first convert to Islam) that he was, indeed, special and chosen by God to be his Messenger!
Abu Bakhr, a wealthy merchant, was the first person outside the family to believe this and to embrace Muhammed as the prophet of the one and only God – thus becoming the first person outside the family to convert to Islam.
When Muhammed told him that, in a dream, he was told that he is to marry Abu Bakhr’s six year-old daughter, Abu Bakhr first argued that she is too young, but, submitting to the will of God’s messenger, he eventually agreed.
Unfortunately, at about the time of the betrothal, Abu Bakhr’s daughter, Aisha, fell ill and all her hair fell out. So, Muhammed waited until she recovered and her hair grew back in before bedding her.
Aisha remained Muhammed’s favourite wife till his death.
Which is where the traditions ‘break path’, so to say.
BOTH traditions agree that Muhammed was ill, then felt better, lead Friday prayers, went to spent time with Aisha and then died.
According to Sunni Muslims, Muhammed had been poisoned by a Jewish woman who had served him a meal of poisoned mutton right after he had slaughtered her entire family and clan. The Sunni believe she did this to test if he was just another King (who could be poisoned) or a true prophet (who could not – by the grace of God). While he survived the immediate attack, the Sunnis believe Muhammed died as an after-effect of this poison.
The Shi’a Muslims, however, believe that being a true prophet of the one and only God, the poison given him by the Jewess as a test did not harm Muhammed at all. Rather, they believe that while Muhammed’s nephew and bodyguard was out of town, sent on a mission by Muhammed, Aisha killed him on the orders of her father, Abu Bakhr, so that he could assume the command of all the Muslims.
Indeed, there were many stories at about this time about faithful men in line to replace Muhammed as the leader of the Muslims being assassinated, one at a time, by the brothers of Aisha, so that her father could assume the reins of power and reign as the next Caliph.
Indeed, the very first war between the Muslims was about Abu Bakhr’s succession of Muhammed as Caliph…
Th Sunnis believe that Abu Bakhr was the rightful heir to Muhammed’s rule.
The Shi’as belive that Abu Bakhr was an usurper who had no right to power, but attempted to assassinate Muhammed’s rightful heirs in order to seize power for himself.
Whatever the truth may have been so many centuries ago is less relevant to today’s events than the traditions of these events, as told by both Shi’a and Sunni Muslims.
Today, considering the legends (and, perhaps, believing them to be true), adopting the name ‘Abu Bakr’ signals to Muslims that this person believes he is the rightful ruler of all of Islam (the Sunni bits, at least) who considers himself to he a true successor of Muhammed, with all that that implies.
Sure, it means death to all Shi’a Muslims as heretics – as well as all other non-orthodox Sunni followers of Islam. According to this ‘Abu Bakhr tradition’ - anyone who did not acknowledge Abu Bakhr as the rightful successor of Muhammed and all followers of the forms of Islam that sprung from this must be exterminated as heretics, even ore dangerous than outright infidels…
Which means war in the middle east…
So – why is this important to the people outside the middle east?!?!?
It has to do with the very concept of ‘Caliph’.
A ‘Caliph’ is not just the ruler of a particular geographic area.
A ‘Caliph’ is the spiritual and political ruler of every Muslim in the world!
That is agreed upon by all the schools of Sharia – Islamic jurisprudence.
Thus, a Caliph erases the differences between different forms of Islam – regardless of Shi’a, Sunni, Ahmadi or anything else, once there is a proclaimed Caliph, all Muslims owe HIM and ONLY HIM their allegiance and obedience.
Regardless where on Earth they live, what local jurisdictions they are living under: once there is a Caliph, Sharia dictates all Muslims must obey the Caliph before the laws of the land they happen to be living in.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may only control a small geographic area. But, by having had himself declared a Caliph, he now commands the loyalty and obedience of all Sharia-adherent Muslims everywhere on this Earth.
THIS is why we, in the West, must draw a very pragmatic distinction between the Muslims who are immigrants to our lands, hoping to escape Sharia (and whom we must protect from their co-religionists) and the settlers/invaders who came here to try to enact Sharia law in our lands and thus make us conquered by Islam.
Make no mistake: by having declared a Caliphate and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the new Caliph, militant Muslims have, in one move, turned Sharia-adherent Muslims in Western countries into enemy agents, whether they want to be or not!!!
From Connie and Mark Fournier:
A large number of the civilian casualties in Gaza did not die as a result of the Israeli response to the unprovoked acts of war by Hamas (both rocket fire and territorial invasion via underground tunnels): they have died of the Hamas rockets themselves.
Do not be fooled into thinking these rockets to be ‘mere firecrackers': without the Israeli defensive Iron Dome and the many bomb-shelters in Israel, the Israeli civilian casualties would be much, much higher.
This is no mere conjecture but a statement of fact.
How do I know this?
Certainly, non-Israeli reports of this are scarce because even though they don’t admit this, the reporters in Gaza are reporting under duress and thus act (willingly or not) as accomplices of Hamas: repeating in their reports only the numbers and things that Hamas wants reported, showing only the images that Hamas wants shown. Hardly ‘journalism’…
And if that is not enough, here is an excerpt from Wikipedia (hardly a Zionist source):
“The weapons, often generically referred to as Qassams, were initially crude and short-range, mainly affecting Sderot and other communities bordering the Gaza Strip. However, in 2006 more sophisticated rockets began to be deployed, reaching the larger coastal city of Ashkelon, and by early 2009 major cities Ashdod andBeersheba had been hit by Katyusha, WS-1B and Grad rockets. In 2012, Jerusalem and Israel’s commercial center Tel Aviv were targeted with locally made “M-75″ and Iranian Fajr-5 rockets, respectively, and in July 2014, the northern city of Haifa was targeted for the first time. A few projectiles have contained white phosphorus.“
Estimates of PTSD among Israeli children living under constant threat of being targetted by these Qassam rockets is estimated at over 50% – yet these long-lasting scars are not included in the injuries incurred by Israeli civilians…
Of course, I pity the Gazan children no less – they suffer greatly and in more ways than the Israeli children…and will continue to suffer as long as Hamas is in power in Gaza and perhaps longer: until religious hatred of ‘the other’ stops destroying their young lives before they have a chance to get started!!!
A week ago today, there was a pro-Israel rally in Ottawa. I would really have liked to have attended, but, alas, I was out of town and out of internet reach, and thus did not get a word of it until after it happened. During this rally, an Israeli mother describes the effect living under constant fear of rocket attacks has had on her young family:
The world will not be a better place until we learn to set all dogmatic beliefs and irrational faiths aside and begin to live like moral human beings!
*sorry – WordPress just updated their ‘look’ and this seems to have broken the embedding mechanism – please, follow the link!
EDIT: More evidence of Hamas rockets being the source of Gazan child casualties is here.
That was a question CodeSlinger asked me.
I replied in a comprehensive manner, explaining my reasoning: but thought it worthy of a post of its own. So, here it is:
I really, really don’t know that I would have them do anything other than what they are doing now.
The Israelis are in a very, very difficult position: the UN is stacked with anti-Semites, the Europeans are afraid to upset their anti-Semitic Islamist colonists (and yes – the Muslims who are true immigrants are integrating as best as they can – it is the Islamists who are entering Europe who are colonists, not immigrants who are preventing them), and the US is more anti-Semitic than ever. It seems that Canada is the only major ally of Israel – and we are small potatoes on the world stage.
So, the Israelis are stuck in a highly unenviable situation.
Israeli civilians are bombarded by rockets fired from Hospitals and UN schools within Gaza. It is only because of their investment in bomb shelters that the Israeli casualties are minimal.
But, the Hamas ruled Gazans have taken billions in ‘humanitarian aid’ and instead of bomb shelters and the equivalent to the iron dome, they built underground tunnels into Israel, often undermining kindergartens as particular targets in order to add shock value to their anticipated attack during a Jewish holiday. They have even worked several hundred Gazan children to death in mining these tunnels…
The Israelis MUST do something to primarily stop these tunnels which are extensive and through which Gazans dressed in Israeli military uniforms have snuck into Isrel and murdered people, secondarily to stop the rocket fire because a civilian population cannot indefinitely function under such conditions.
But, if the Israelis do not take extreme care to do what they are doing – dropping leaflets to warn people, phoning them to let them know an attack is coming, sending a harmless, warning shot against a building with enough time for civilians to evacuate before the real missile which will demolish the building is fired, if they did not call off air strikes when children are in the target area….they would be sinking beneath their own level of civilization!!!
After all, some of these Gazans may have voted in Hamas, but others did not and the children, of course, are innocent. Brainwashed – yes, but killing them would be barbaric. Israelis would be abandoning their own civilized state – not in the past, but now.
But if this were not a sufficient reason, if you wanted a purely pragmatic one, I can supply one of those as well.
Israel cannot survive if the whole world – with the exception of Canada and a few other little nations, like the Czech Republic – refuses to trade with them and completely isolates them.
And every dead Palestinian child – whether killed by Israeli weapons or by Palestinian rockets aimed at Israel and accidentally landing in Gaza – is a source of money for Hamas. So, Hamas will make sure that each and every real and imagined dead Palestinian child makes headlines. (And, yes – they have been caught not only passing off scenes from a horror movie as ‘Palestinian children killed by Israel’ – but also passing the photographs of the Isaeli(including a suckling infant) who were murdered by a Palestinian terrorists as they slept in their beds, these too are being passed off as !!!
The Israelis – both Jewish and non-Jewish – may have much going for them, but they are a tiny country surrounded by nation states that share an ideological imperative to destroy Israel as a State AND to kill every Jew alive on this tiny little planet. And if the Jews pack up and colonize another planet, the Islamists will follow them to that planet nd try to murder them there.
Because their desire to kill every Jew in general and destroy Israel in particular is dogmatic, rooted both in the Koran and in the Hadith.
The Islamic prophet Muhammad had sheltered with both Jewish and Christian communities while he was, for reasons not known to history, excommunicated from Mecca. Both the Jewish and the Christian communities excommunicated him in their turn, also for reasons unknown. At least, that is what I was taught at Carleton University many decades ago when I took a course on Arab history.
While with the ‘People of the Book’ (Christians and Muslims), he learned a lot of their mythology. In particular, he latched on to the idea that the Jews had been God’s chosen people – which is why all the Old Testament killing and raping and genocide to get the Jews their ‘promised land’ was OK. God was fine with genocide – as long as the genociders were God’s ‘chosen people’. But, according to Muhammad, the Jews got too comfortable and broke their covenant with God (the whole Jesus thing, money-changers in the Temple and all that stuff) – which is why God punished them by kicking them out of the magical promised land, Israel.
Because, if Israel is ‘the promised land’, then only God’s chosen people get to live there – right?
And, the punishment that Muhammed is said for God to have inflicted on the Jews – to prove they were no longer his favourite people – was to deny them a homeland at all. As in – no matter where the Jews would have set up their new nation state, it would have made Muhammed wrong for saying they will never have a homeland as divine punishment. That is, the moment the Jews have a nation state of their own, Muhammed is proven wrong and all of Islam is proven to be a false religion…
But, setting it up in the promised land is an order of magnitude worse, because that is reserved for God’s favourites. And if the Jews get a homeland there, that means that they ARE God’s favourites…which means the Muslims are not, which means that Islam is not 100% correct….which it claims to be, so if one part is falsified, then all of it is….which is why them Jews have got to be kept out of Israel.
As do the Christians and everybody else.
Because if the Muslims are not God’s favourite people, then their whole religion is proven to be false…
So, now that we know why only the Muslims may live in Israel, we get to the secondary reason: all the Jews, including children, must be killed.
Because the Koran says that only when all the Jews are exterminated will the day of judgment (and paradise on Earth) take place.
So, you see, the Palestinian Islamists have very logical reasons for not wanting peace with Israel:
1) More dead Palestinian babies = more money for Hamas
2) Permitting Jews in ‘the promised land’ would bestow the title of ‘God’s favourite people’ on them and not Muslims, falsifying Islam
3) Killing all the Jews will bring Paradise to Earth and ought to be accelerated
Thus, Israel has no hope of a peace treaty with Hamas.
If Israel acts as any other country would to protect its people, the international community (weighted by Muslim and Islamist-fearing State votes) will destroy it through isolation.
Therefore, doing what they are doing now – pursuing their objectives while taking every possible precaution to save civilian lives is the only reasonable course of action open to the Israelis.