The leader of one of the terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan was interviewed on the BBC’s Newshour this morning. The interview was conducted by John Simpson, a veteran of the BBC and one of the most highly respected contributors to what is still the world’s biggest news organization. The BBC has more international correspondents than any other news channel.
In the interview, the terrorist leader expressed an interest in joining ISIS, the terrorist group that is operating in both Syria and Iraq. He said that his followers dream of a caliphate in the same way that members of ISIS do, that a caliphate was the only way forward for Islam.
A few days earlier, a friend in California sent me a message, explaining that the name of the leader of ISIS says a great deal about his intent. It’s not his given name but rather the name he has adopted as the self-proclaimed leader of the Caliphate that was declared in June.
His name is Abu Bakr Baghdadi.
Abu Bakr was the leader of the first caliphate after the death of the prophet Mohammed.
Baghdad was the capital of the Caliphate during one of its greatest periods. The whole Muslim world was ruled from Baghdad, currently the capital of Iraq, from 750AD. This period lasted two centuries and was the third caliphate after the prophet.
Clearly, the intent is to restore this caliphate. This would, of course, include Israel. It would also make the caliphate one of the most powerful countries in the world, if not the most powerful. The Baghdad caliphate (often referred to as the Abbasid dynasty) stretched from Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east, through Iran and the entire Arab world, which today constitutes 22 different countries. It included all of North Africa.
There were other caliphates right down until 90 years ago when the Ottoman Empire and its sultans were abolished following defeat in World War One.
The dream of a restored caliphate is not new. Nor is the barbarism of its adherents.
For over two hundred years, Islam has been subject to the West. Now, with the West in terminal decline, many Muslims see an opportunity to reorganize the world in accordance with their vision of Islam – that everybody in the world must be a Muslim.
A symbolic blow against the West was struck this weekend, but hardly noticed over the Labor Day weekend, when the abandoned US Embassy in Libya was taken over by Muslim extremists. Islamic extremists also gained ground in Nigeria where Boko Haram took control of Borno’s second largest city
“IS (Islamic State) is the most extreme manifestation of a Muslim response to the history of the past few centuries when the West has been seen to thrive as the Muslim world has declined. One line of thinking blames this on the absence of a caliphate – and of sharia rule.” (The Economist, August 30th, page 42.)
At this critical time, western leaders cannot adjust their thinking quick enough to defend the West. They still live in the past. President Obama said on Friday that the reason all the terrorists are attracted to ISIS is poverty and unemployment in their home countries. This is 1960’s liberal thinking – that every problem is a socio-economic problem that can be solved with bigger and more expensive government programs!
In 2005, when the UK suffered terrorist attacks in London, the four young men responsible all came from affluent backgrounds. The latest Economist points out that: “Poverty does not explain the lure of jihad for Western fighters. Many of them are quite middle class.” (The Economist, August 30th, page 42.) It should be remembered that the 19 men who staged 9/11 were all from wealthy families.
Another example of 60’s thinking was on a domestic British radio program in which ISIS was discussed. A naïve and, frankly, ridiculous comment was made by a woman contributor who said that “everybody knows eventually we are going to have to sit down with the leaders of ISIS and discuss our differences . . . ” (“Any Questions”, Radio 4, August 22nd, paraphrased.) Sorry to say this, lady, but what’s building up here is very much a case of “kill or be killed,” as Bible prophecy clearly shows.
The King of Saudi Arabia moved 30,000 troops up to the border, fearful of ISIS moving south. He also warned western leaders that ISIS inspired terrorist attacks will take place on their territory.
Could Abu Bakr Baghdadi be the King of the South prophesied in Daniel 11? “At the time of the end, the King of the South shall attack him” (verse 40). The leader of a power south of Jerusalem will push against the King of the North, a power to the north of Jerusalem.
Certainly, Abu Bakr Baghdadi could be the leader of the King of the South. But we need to realize that if Baghdadi is killed, the dream of the Caliphate will not die with him. Osama bin Laden has been dead for more than three years but his dream continues.
It’s a dream that goes back to the seventh century – it’s not going away!