46 Facts About ISIL


The American-led intervention was followed by a smaller-scale Russian military intervention exclusively in Syria, in which ISIL lost thousands of more fighters to airstrikes, cruise missile attacks, and other Russian military activities, and had its financial base further degraded.

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In October 2019, ISIL media announced that Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi had become the new leader of the group after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group's previous leader since 2013, died during an American military operation after detonating his suicide vest in Barisha, Syria.

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ISIL has had a presence outside of the Middle East through its various "provinces" and affiliates, and has had a notable militant presence outside of the Arab world, predominantly in countries with significant or majority Muslim populations such as Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger ; Afghanistan and Pakistan ; as well as in countries with relatively low Muslim minority populations such as the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Caucasus states .

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ISIL's ideology has been described as being a hybrid of Qutbism, Takfirism, Salafism, Salafi jihadism, Wahhabism, and Sunni Islamist fundamentalism.

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ISIL's ideology represents radical Jihadi-Salafi Islam, a strict, puritanical form of Sunni Islam.

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ISIL promotes religious violence, and regards Muslims who do not agree with its interpretations as infidels or apostates.

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Senior Saudi religious leaders have issued statements condemning ISIL and attempting to distance the group from official Saudi religious beliefs.

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ISIL aims to return to the early days of Islam, rejecting all innovations in the religion, which it believes corrupts its original spirit.

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ISIL believes that only a legitimate authority can undertake the leadership of jihad and that the first priority over other areas of combat, such as fighting non-Muslim countries, is the purification of Islamic society.

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One difference between ISIL and other Islamist and jihadist movements, including al-Qaeda, is the group's emphasis on eschatology and apocalypticism – that is, a belief in a final Day of Judgment by God.

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ISIL believes that it will defeat the army of "Rome" at the town of Dabiq.

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ISIL believes that after al-Baghdadi there will be only four more legitimate caliphs.

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Specifically, ISIL has sought to establish itself as a caliphate, an Islamic state led by a group of religious authorities under a supreme leader – the caliph – who is believed to be the successor to Prophet Muhammad.

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In June 2014, ISIL published a document in which it claimed to have traced the lineage of its leader al-Baghdadi back to Muhammad, and upon proclaiming a new caliphate on 29 June, the group appointed al-Baghdadi as its caliph.

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ISIL has detailed its goals in its Dabiq magazine, saying it will continue to seize land and take over the entire Earth until its:.

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Documents found after the death of Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi, a former colonel in the intelligence service of the Iraqi Air Force before the US invasion who had been described as "the strategic head" of ISIL, detailed planning for the ISIL takeover of northern Syria which made possible "the group's later advances into Iraq".

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In Raqqa, after rebel forces drove out the Assad regime and ISIL infiltrated the town, "first dozens and then hundreds of people disappeared".

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From 2013 to 2019, ISIL was headed and run by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State's self-styled Caliph.

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ISIL thanked Turkey, Russia, Syria, Iraq and the Syrian Kurdish forces for their support.

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For example, ISIL captured US-made TOW anti-tank missiles supplied by the United States and Saudi Arabia to the Free Syrian Army in Syria.

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ISIL captured nuclear materials from Mosul University in July 2014, but is unlikely to be able to convert them into weapons.

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In September 2015 a US official stated that ISIL was manufacturing and using mustard agent in Syria and Iraq, and had an active chemical weapons research team.

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ISIL publishes material directed at women, with media groups encouraging them to play supportive roles within ISIL, such as providing first aid, cooking, nursing and sewing skills, in order to become "good wives of jihad".

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ISIL is known for its extensive and effective use of propaganda.

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Videos by ISIL are commonly accompanied by nasheeds, notable examples being the chant Dawlat al-Islam Qamat, which came to be viewed as an unofficial anthem of ISIL, and Salil al-sawarim.

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In mid-2014, ISIL established the Al Hayat Media Center, which targets Western audiences and produces material in English, German, Russian and French.

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When ISIL announced its expansion to other countries in November 2014 it established media departments for the new branches, and its media apparatus ensured that the new branches follow the same models it uses in Iraq and Syria.

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The "most potent psychological pitch" of ISIL media is the promise of heavenly reward to dead jihadist fighters.

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ISIL has attempted to present a more "rational argument" in a series of videos hosted by the kidnapped journalist John Cantlie.

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Since 2012, ISIL has produced annual reports giving numerical information on its operations, somewhat in the style of corporate reports, seemingly in a bid to encourage potential donors.

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In mid-2014, the Iraqi National Intelligence Service obtained information that ISIL had assets worth billion, making it the richest jihadist group in the world.

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However, doubt was later cast on whether ISIL was able to retrieve anywhere near that sum from the central bank, and even on whether the looting had actually occurred.

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Education in ISIL held territory was organised by the Diwan of Education.

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ISIL introduced its own curriculum which did not include lessons in history, music, geography or art, but included lectures in Islamic Law, Sharia, and Jihad.

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In Iraq and Syria, ISIL used many of those countries' existing governorate boundaries to subdivide territory it conquered and claimed; it called these divisions wilayah or provinces.

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ISIL received pledges of allegiance and publish media releases via groups in Somalia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines, but it has not announced any further official branches, instead identifying new affiliates as simply "soldiers of the caliphate".

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Sunni critics, including Salafi and jihadist muftis such as Adnan al-Aroor and Abu Basir al-Tartusi, say that ISIL and related terrorist groups are not Sunnis, but are instead modern-day Kharijites serving an imperial anti-Islamic agenda.

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ISIL stated on his official website "United Arab Emirates and the leaders of Daesh terrorist group are from one species and they are two sides of the same coin".

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ISIL is widely denounced by a broad range of Islamic clerics, including Saudi and al-Qaeda-oriented clerics.

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Al-Qaeda and al-Nusra have been trying to take advantage of ISIL's rise, by attempting to present themselves as "moderate" compared to "extremist" ISIL, although they have the same aim of establishing sharia and a caliphate, but doing so in a more gradual manner.

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In February 2014, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al-Qaeda, announced that his group Al-Qaeda had cut ties with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and denounced ISIL after being unable to reconcile a conflict between them and the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front.

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ISIL called upon jihadists to establish Islamic entities in Egypt and the Levant, slowly implementing sharia before establishing a caliphate, and has called for violent assaults against America and the West.

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The main criticism of defectors from ISIL has been that the group is fighting and killing other Sunni Muslims, as opposed to just non-Sunnis being brutalised.

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In one case, a supposed defector from ISIL executed two activists of a Syrian opposition group in Turkey who had sheltered them.

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On 28 January 2017, President Donald Trump issued a National Security Presidential Memorandum which called for a comprehensive plan to destroy ISIL to be formulated by the Defense Department within 30 days.

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On 10 September 2015, an audio message was released by al-Qaeda's leader Ayman al-Zawahiri criticising ISIL's self-proclaimed caliphate and accusing it of "sedition".

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