Our Divine Living in Diversity 7,507 Ethiopian New Year Wish List/SMART CHECKlist and Work Plan
SMART: Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic and Time Sensitive
1. Promote Individual and Collective Diving Living in Diversity by Serving Others in Diversity-biodivrsity, socio-economic diversity and ecological diversity.
2. Promote individual and collective sustainable security and progressive prosperity
3. Promote and empower youth and the Divine Feminine in all aspects of life from cradle to grave
4. Promote the culture of SICQIE/safety, integrity, compliance to law, quality, innovation and excellence in all things I do
5. Promote the Strategy of Eliminating Threat, Reducing Risk and Converting Challenges into Opportunities
6. Create a series of Win-Win Enterprises that promote health, wealth and sustainable security across the world.
7. Promote enterprises that Integrate our body, mind and spirit/Primate, Human and Divine- Arawit, Serawit and Melekot in all things we do
Dear Universal and Multiversal Divine Community in Diversity.
Happy Ethiopian 7,507- First Millennial Sabbatical New Year ! on 11 September 2014
The Prevention and Early Intervention Strategy towards our shared Divinity in Diversity!
Our Strategy is to Eliminate Threat, Reduce Risk and Convert Challenges into Opportunities”
Supporting the Campaign to End Geriatric Male Citizens United- Drug, Financial and Military Industrial Complex Oppression of the Majority, youth and women, ninety-nine percent (99%)- Global population!
Evidence based civilization
The sources of all our challenges and opportunities depend on our ability to to respect our shared in divinity in diversity expressed by our determination to live for others or serve others in Diversity. Our culture and civilization should be a reflection of our understanding of our selves and others and the greater universe and multiverse we live in.
Expanding the Science horizon
Modern science is providing significant evidence that all living things are interrelated and we all live in an integrated cosmos, be it universal or multiversal in nature. The concept of our existence in a continuum of life in all its diversity i.,e unicellular, multicellular organisms, evolving into plants, animals, humans and divine beings that live eternally in different forms in this and other cosmos. This changing understanding of our being, past, present and future continues to be a serious challenge and opportunity for all of individual and collective existence. The secret is to remember the past, understand the present and charter a better future for all of us based on science, facts and our relative perception of events unfolding around us.
As such our perception of gods, God, primates, humans and the Divine is changing by the day. We need to respect each other’s perception of self and non self or others including the whole biodiversity, socio-economic diversity, cultural and ecological diversity. The secret is that Diversity is beautiful and interesting. Imagine if all of us looked alike and thought alike and believed alike? This will be a very boring robotic world and cosmos!
Our disaggregation of facts and knowledge has allowed us to look at our Micro and Macro cosmos in much more detail for the past 100 years. More recently the advent of multimedia communication is allowing us to share knowledge at a much faster and effective way with more people than any other time in history.
Appreciating the expanding universe and multiverse
The special collector’s edition of Scientific American entitled “The secrets of the past, present and future, is addressing fundamental questions like:
1. What came before the Big Bang
2. How Massive Black Holes Formed
3. The Inner World of Dark Matter
4. Truth about the Multiverse
5. The Far, Far Future of Stars, etc.
Preventing Man made and Natural Disasters
As scientists are straining to peer into the atmospheres of distant skies to seek signs of extraterrestrial life, the misguided youth of extreme unscientific ideologies are sacrificing Divine Human Lives in different parts of the globe supported by misguided Geriatric Males
driven by outdated Babylonian Apocalyptic End Time ideologies where everything ends in disaster.
Some scientists are proposing hypothesis of such as “Big Bang”, “Black Holes” and aging solar system and planet that support these Babylonian apocalyptic end time world order
theories. Instead of following evidence and putting together hypothesis that explain the facts and evidence at hand, the Babylonian Apocalyptic Prophets of doom are seeking and facilitating events towards the gloom and doom theories of some 3,000 years unverifiable man made disasters.
The Russian and ISIS fiasco
The recent NATO meeting in Wales and subsequent communique where member nations are expected or have pledged to spend up to two percent (2%) of their respective GDP/Gross Domestic Product on security, intelligence and associated military hardware and software is going to make the Military Industrial Complex and its Financial and Political Corporations wanting to create more insecurity and conflict around the world to access these new resources. High risk behavior is feeding into the age old Babylonian apocalyptic world order and disorder.
Timing is everything. Security Vs. Prosperity
The global economy and associated security challenges post “digital bubble” of the post 2000 Millennium computer superhighway, followed by the “housing bubble” of 2007 and associated “deregulation bubble” of the financial institutions has created the worst depression and financial crisis. The architects of all these bubbles are now moving towards “commodity bubble” that includes commodities such as energy, food and consumables, etc. creating more insecurity that will generate a series of conflicts around the world.
Our shared security and prosperity are inter-linked. We need to get out of our self imposed silos and exiles and begin engaging and connecting with each other. Steve Job’s Apple and Google gives us this unique world of communication and opportunities for exciting discovery of the multiverse and multi-civilizatioins of the past, present and future.
We need to give space and time for each other as we discover the great potential in each other.
With regards and seeking your alternative perspective.
Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH
Uni+Multi Versal Divinity in Diversity
Collective Security 4 Our Shared Prosperity
PROMOTING TRANSPARENCY TOWARDS OUR SHARED DIVINITY IN DIVERSITY-
THE CALL OF OUR TIMES!
Our Divinity in Diversity demands promoting the Vision and Culture of Collective Security 4 Shared Prosperity
The Prevention and Early Intervention Strategy towards our shared Divinity in Diversity!
Our Strategy is to Eliminate Threat, Reduce Risk and Convert Challenges into Opportunities”
Supporting the Campaign to End Geriatric Male Citizens United- Drug, Financial and Military Industrial Complex Oppression of the Majority, youth and women, ninety-nine percent (99%)- Global population!
This papers attempts to identify the sources of current global man made and natural challenges and seek for ways of converting them into opportunities of our shared sustainable security and progressive prosperity.
Terms of reference: Divinity in Diversity is about living for others or serving others in diversity, that is biodiversity, socio-economic, cultural and ecological diversity, etc.
Divinity: Godlike, Goodness, divinity is the state of things that come from a supernatural power or deity, such as a god, or spirit beings, and are therefore regarded as sacred and holy. Such things are regarded as “divine” due to their transcendental origins, and/or because their attributes or qualities are superior or supreme relative to things of the Earth. Divine things are regarded as eternal and based in truth, etc.
Diversity: change, difference, variation, dissimilarity, variety; multiformity, a point of difference, divergence, biodiversity, socio-economic diversity and ecological diversity, multi-cultural, age, gender and diverse civilizations.
I. Identifying The Problem
1.1 Disrespect to our shared Divinity in Diversity is the cause of The Great Disenfranchisement Connection of race, ethnic and religious intolerance of our time!
The Psuedo Revolutions of France, Germany, Russia, China, Iran The US Fergu’s son -Miss Ouri Crisis + The Global Refugee Crisis be it in all Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, The Gaza – Jerusalem Terror, the ISIS Genocide, and the evolving Global terror around the world, be it at Maghreb, +African Bochu-haram Terror Network, the Saudi-Hamas-Syria Terror, and Ukraine –Russia Terrorist Crisis and the new biological terror of Ebola and HIV Crisis – all have a common thread and Connection! They all share the same common thread of disrespect to our Divinity in Diversity be it bio-diversity, socio-economic diversity or ecological diversity.
1.2 Respecting our shared Divinity in Diversity. We at Universal and Multiversal Divine Living in Diversity believe and live for serving others in Diversity that is biodiversity, socio-economic diversity and ecological diversity!
We believe our Divinity demands good governance at all level, such as transparency and accountability, responsiveness to all stakeholders and not confidentiality! We promote the culture of Good Governance via transparency and accountability to all stakeholders. Responsiveness and inclusiveness is the solution.
1.3 Lack of transparency. Confidential communication the beginning of disenfranchisement. The traditional series of Confidential communication under any pretext is the beginning of disenfranchisement, the source of global conflict, disenfranchisement, abuse and spiritual, emotional and physical poverty, and eventual perpetual terror. For instance, the Series of African Confidential Reports generated by non-Africans about Africa for generations, and then distributed via Multimedia Communion Channels with out input of the target community a practice that needs to change to reflect the reality of Africans or any community under confidential reporting.
1.4 Modern technology driven terror. Creating an image of others in a negative format without their inputs creates the construct of negative them and us. Confidential communication is what generates and perpetuates conflict and misrepresentation for generations. Similar communications today are flourishing via ICT and SMN communication networks. We are exposed to extreme hate, barbarism with modern technology driven terror in the comfort of our home by just striking few keyboard letters. We are self-terrorized by modern technology in our own homes at our own will. The minute we dehumanize each other or talk of each other in confidence without respect to our divinity, we are allowing the gradual evolution of respectability of terror in our midst.
1.5 Good Governance & Disenfranchisement. Disenfranchisement begins with confidential communication, with codes and social taboos in our home, school and the community at large. What starts as a small casual interaction is promoted as an issue with comedy and tragedy cultural outfits? Making an evil experience acceptable to all. All these series of Africa confidential, Arab Confidential and European Confidential communications need to have input from the local communities such as African, Arabs, Jews and Latin population perspectives, openly and with transparency second to none. The concept of disenfranchisement starts with confidential reporting and now has evolved into multi-media network bullying of all sorts and need to be challenged with openness and transparency at all times. The current series of misinformation to support a series of potential criminal activities need to be debated and discussed openly in a transparent manner.
1.6 Confidentiality Vs. Transparency. In general, the process of reporting “Confidentiality” in terms one person or group against the other, is about hiding the truth from the people concerned. Once we discuss issues behind the back of the people concerned then we justify our unacceptable behavior. Confidentiality is about hiding the truth from the stakeholders and as such it goes against the principle of Good Governance, that is transparency, accountability and responsiveness to all stakeholders! There is no European Confidentiality, Nor Asian Confidentiality nor American confidentiality! Why African confidentiality?
1.7 Discrimination begins with confidentiality. The current evident global racism to people of African descent started with overt and covert series of Africa Confidentiality communication by outsiders for generations and it is clear it does not have Africa’s interest at heart? The current series of war like terror in the streets of North America where African American boys are murdered every day does not generate any compassion even comparable to the beheading of American journalists by ISIS terrorists that is rather shocking. We are continuously desensitized by criminal activities of one group against the other because we are encouraged to think of each other not as Divine but as sub humans. If Africans are no involved at all level of the communication from incident reporting, root cause analysis, resolution, action plan decision-making, and eventual communication with all stakeholders, then this confidential communication does not serve their interests and perpetuates disenfranchisement, conflict and eventual terror and genocide. We need to make our communications transparent.
1.8 Disrespect to our Divinity in Diversity. The evil forces of disrespect to our shared Divinity in Diversity, are the perpetual sources of terror and genocide are generated by who are marketing apocalyptic theologies and ideologies of suicide and genocide, who are currently involved in distributing, selling and donating illegal confidential information, drugs, guns, toxic chemicals, nuclear and biological poison and pathogens to vulnerable global communities under confidentiality via third party non-state actors like international overt and covert Banks, Sheik-Sheik lords, jihadists, crusaders and retro-holocaust operatives and Gulf Terrorist states! We need to develop a shared vision, mission, strategy and SMART Action Plan that is Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic and Time Sensitive.
1.9 The New apocalyptic end times prophecy and mythology. The driving force of the current genocide is rather an offshoot of these traditional Babylonian non evidence based mythology of apocalyptic end time, prophecies, that is created, documented and advanced by geriatric, senile men towards the end of their lives in their respective nursing home like, dehumanized monastic journeys. None have gone through the rigorous scientific random controlled trials nor are they designed to be questioned or examined by any new scientific tools of what, who, when, where, why and how, etc. These visions and nightmares were documented their dreams, nightmares and psychological self generated terror into visions and dreams of the future. Millennia later, the modern disenfranchised youth misread these documents out of context and want to recreate the dreams and nightmares of these geriatric male scribes posing as prophets, priests, sheiks and Caliphs of their imaginary nightmares. T
1.10 Prevention and Early Intervention. The current left over ideology of the Babylonian mythology of apocalyptic end times prophecy, where young men are encouraged to commit barbaric homicide and genocide towards a mystical access to 72 Virgins after death, is now converted to accessing common harems (shared wives) of ISIS Kingdom on earth, that is composed of widows and orphans of Christian and traditional Muslim women and daughters, whose husbands and fathers are sacrificed in a barbaric shadow terrorist and homicide act by the new ISIS European and American recruit goons. The Americans and Europeans facilitate this new wave of terror by giving these misguided youths passports and even access to the battle ground via their NATO Member Muslim Country -Turkey. These goons come back to Brussels, the headquarter of EU and murder people at worship places; join local anarchist and peace activist but do their damage at night in secret. The EU and NATO leaders have so far done nothing to address these sleeper cell terrorists. Now they post their horrendous crimes, in u -tube, ICT and MSN networks and continue to show us the murder of local Arabs, Babylonians and Iraqis in thousands and the world leaders seem to do nothing.
1.11 Silence in the face of evil only encourages terror. Here comes an American Photo Journalist murder and the Media Network begin to notice, because one of them is beheaded now! Yet, we do nothing or more shockingly our leaders tell us they have not Strategy! Does this mean another Confidentiality speak, that we are not going to share our plans or we are already there and we do not want our surprise factor to be exposed. This confidentiality business is the root cause of the problem. If the ISIS goons know that their criminal activities have series consequences they may not even try or not be so vulgar by beheading thousands in front of the camera.
1.12 Our Strategy is to Eliminate Threat, Reduce Risk and Convert Challenges into Opportunities. This new ideology is attracting frustrated young men of Europe and Americas and that are flying to the ISIS Kingdom of Common Shared Harems in drones to the surprise and confusion of their democratic leaders and multi-media channel talk heads. Now the terrorists are coming home! The UK PM David Cameroon is alerting us to the severe level of Caution. The Russians who share the same terror threat from their Jihadist populations are making fun of the British Democracy of Peace Activists demonstrating at the upcoming NATO conference. The Russians could have been allies against these ISIS Terror Network but they are doing their own in Ukraine generating the old Cold War World Disorder. Leaders need to be made accountable by Global Citizens and should not allow our Delinquent Youths to terrorize our mothers, daughters, children and vulnerable communities across the world.
II. Scientific Tools of Resolution
Modern science is giving us a unique opportunity to review our past knowledge, theories, prophecies and expectations from each other and universe or multi-verse at large
Moving towards Evidence based civilization
The sources of all our challenges and opportunities depend on our ability to to respect our shared in divinity in diversity expressed by our determination to live for others or serve others in Diversity. Evidence based science is giving us a unique opportunity to examine our individual and collective perspectives, values, vision and mission in life.
Expanding the Science horizon
Modern science is providing significant evidence that all living things are interrelated and we all live in an integrated micor and macro cosmos. The concept of our existence in a continuum of live in all its diversity i.,e unicellular, multicellular organisms, evolving into plants, animals, humans and divine beings continues to be a serious challenge and opportunity for all of individual and collective existence.
Our disaggregation of facts and knowledge has allowed us to look at our Micro and Macro cosmos in much more detail for the past 100 years. More recently the advent of multimedia communication is allowing us to share knowledge at a much faster and effective way with more people than any other time in history.
Appreciating the expanding universe and multiverse
The special collector’s edition of Scientific American entitled “The secrets of the past, present and future, is addressing fundamental questions like:
1. What came before the Big Bang
2. How Massive Black Holes Formed
3. The Inner World of Dark Matter
4. Truth about the Multiverse
5. The Far, Far Future of Stars, etc.
Preventing Man made and Natural Disasters
As scientists are straining to peer into the atmospheres of distant skies to seek signs of extraterrestrial life, the misguided youth of extreme unscientific ideologies are sacrificing Divine Human Lives in different parts of the globe supported by misguided Geriatric Males
driven by outdated Babylonian Apocalyptic End Time ideologies where everything ends in disaster.
Some scientists are proposing hypothesis of such as “Big Bang”, “Black Holes” and aging solar system and planet that support these Babylonian apocalyptic end time world order
theories. Instead of following evidence and putting together hypothesis that explain the facts and evidence at hand, the Babylonian Apocalyptic Prophets of doom are seeking and facilitating events towards the gloom and doom theories of some 3,000 years unverifiable man made disasters.
The Russian and ISIS fiasco
The recent NATO meeting in Wales and subsequent communique where member nations are expected or have pledged to spend up to two percent (02%) of their respective GDP/Gross Domestic Product on security, intelligence and associated military hardware and software is going to make the Military Industrial Complex and its Financial and Political Corporations wanting to create more insecurity and conflict around the world to access these new resources.
Towards a Distressed Civilation
Stress and Insecurity driven high-risk behavior is feeding into the age-old Babylonian apocalyptic world order and disorder. It is time to challenge this construct of gloom and doom apocalyptic and rather destructive worldviews with our shared sustainable security and progressive proseperity driven distressed civilization that is based on scientific evidence based culture and civilization. Understaind our shared Divinity in Diversity will generate a distressed civilization that is at ease with itself and others in other multiverse whenever we discover extra-terrestrical civilization.
Timing is everything. Security Vs. Prosperity in the 21St Centuery and 8th Millinneum
It is now almost fifteen (15) years since the advent of the new Millnnium (2000) or 7,500
The last 15 years had been expected to be the beginning of a new World Order of significant transformation. The United Nations had generated a series of Millennium Development Goals to be achieved in 15 years. Our record shows mixed results. Making Poverty History and Green Renaissance Transformation ideas had generated a lot of positive activities towards talents and technologies and resources being invested into a better world order.
The 2005 and 2010 Economic Crisis.
The global economy and associated security challenges of the post “digital bubble” of the post 2000 Millennium computer superhighway, followed by the “housing bubble” of 2007 and associated “deregulation bubble” of the financial institutions has created the worst depression and financial crisis. The architects of all these bubbles are now moving towards “commodity bubble” that includes commodities such as energy, food and consumables, etc. creating more insecurity that will generate a series of conflicts around the world.
Our shared security or insecurity versuse our shared prosperity and poverty are inter-linked. The records of the past fifteen years indicate that the glass is half full and at times half empty at the same time.
Our knowledge base and communication capacity for common shared understanding is not catching up with our discoveries and
Universal Divinity in Comprehensive Diversity that is biodiversity, socio-cultural diversity and economic and ecological diversity
2.1 Root Cause Resolution. The age old Medical dictum is “Treat the cause and not the symptom”. We need to seriously consider how to handle geriatric males in their old lives and their foolish young men who are incited by these goons for pie in the sky or pie in ISIS kingdom that is made of a series of abusive relationship with women victims. We need to deploy all our scientific, neuroscience tools that involves Geriatric Brain and Behavior Studies on how to deal with an aging mind and its fantasies and anxieties that attacks old men in their dreams and nightmares that they convert into some outlandish Genocidal, Apocalyptic End time prophesies that reduces the young male competition to access their fantasy of heaven with unfettered access to lots of women and girls. The recent Bochu-haram deplorable activity of abusing young girls stems from the same foolish ideology masquerading as religion, revolution and nirvana, etc.
2.2 Make the Geriatric Males Accountable. All the current Arab Terrorism that is spreading in North and Central Africa, Middle East, Asia and now Russia and Europe, is mainly due to the Dirty Oil, Drug and Military Industrial Complex Mafia Network who are using the international criminal banks, Saudi and Sheikdom Goons as Distribution Centers and allowing them to terrorize the region. We need to prevention, intervene early to ensure this Demonic ideology does not consume our civilization. It is time to create a medically socially, and culturally appropriate behavior change communication program for geriatric old men with disproportional amount of money, power and influence to be channeled in a positive direction that sustains our shared security and progressive prosperity for all.
2.3 Competency based strategy. It is evident the young soldiers of doom and gloom that are creating all the disasters of homicide, suicide and genocide do not have the technologically enabled decision making tools with strategic option appraisal tools to execute their innovations and prosperity but are left to a series of homicides and terror.
Lack of cohesive team leadership. None of the known terrorist networks have the financial and technical capability to create, develop and distribute these weapons of mass destruction! They need confidential outside agents who do not have their interest at heart, to facilitate the resources, skills and competencies of terror and self-destruction! Most of the lethal terrorists have western passports! They are recruited and transported with Western resources and facilitations. Are they free agents or confidential middlemen? The current UK Premier David Cameron, resolution of Terror Alert and withdrawal of the West facilitation of terror is a great example for the global community to follow.
2.4 Exporting terror among our sacred homes-the Divine Feminine and Children. Remember so far the Divine Feminine are not involved in the Babylonian & Arabian Terrorist Saga, yet the Russians Terrorist Network have began to deploy some women to facilitate terror in Ukraine under Pseudo /confidential that can be exposed with modern technology and satellite eyes that expose them all the time. The Arab Terrorists are exporting their Terror Network in Africa as experienced by the recent series of terror in North Africa/Libya bombing of UAE and Egypt bombing of Tripoli and its environs. This is a good sign that the African Continent is vulnerable to man made and natural disasters of Terrorists and Ebola i.e. chemical and biological warfare. Where this lawlessness is going to go if we do not act early. The Drug and Military Industrial Complex facilitators will next facilitate terror to Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. So no one, even our sacred homes and treasures of civilization, children and the Divine Feminine are not safe from these terror networks.
2.5 Remember: Prevention and Early Intervention is the only viable solution. How can we allow the Geriatric Terror Network fund their partners in crime the Saudi Militant Oligarchy in billions and trillions of Modern Armaments that is then distributed to the clue less young male ISIS terrorists? Most of the 911 Terrorists were Saudis and yet their Oil Corporation Oligarch partners in crime or the Geriatric Military Industrial Complex Criminals went after the Baths Party and the Taliban, shocking and awing the Iraq and Afghanistan communities, the source of current ISIS network, while the culprits and their associates like the Bin Laden and Jihadist Saudi networks in the US and some who collaborated with the 911 terrorists were allowed to fly to safety at a time of Severe Terror Alert and International “No Fly Zone in USA”. That is cooperation par excellence.
2.6 Treat the case and not the symptom. The same goons who made billions and trillions in that war are now distributing their left over armaments to US police stations, converting our neighborhoods and schools into war zones of great metropolitan small counties like Chicago, London, Brussels, Boston and Fergu’s son, Miss Ouri, Sandy hooks Elementary Schools, US military bases and college campuses such as Christiansburg Virginia Tech, etc. Now, NATO is expected not to learn from the past mistakes is likely to go after the ISIS Recruits in the West and in Babylonia ignoring the source of the problem who finance and distribute explosives and not after the source of the problem that fund and distribute these sophisticated armaments, i.e. the Wahhabi/Salafi Extremists and their Drug-=Military Industrial Complex who benefit in trillions.
2.7 Where is the prevention and early intervention strategy? The crisis of 911 is being repeated in Brussels and Jerusalem and the ISIS goons, like the former Iraqi Prisoner has promised his American captors who released them “see you in New York” and his foolish captives went ahead released him anyway now, to return as the Promised Caliph/Messiah of the ISIS Terror Network, promising to take over the White House and European Parliaments in time with their sleeper cell terrorists who have European and American Passports and naturalized citizenships.
2.8 The British Lead too late and yet on target! Only David Cameroon of Britain and the British Parliament is waking up and the US President was heard saying we have no strategy? Eliminate threat, reduce risk and convert challenges into opportunities should be our strategy. Time is of essence and indecision is the best tool for asymmetrical terrorists as it gives them time and opportunity to regroup and metastasize/penetrate among the unsuspecting law abiding communities. Time, Space and Person need to be coordinating fast!
2.9 Lessons of the past terror network genesis. We are not learning fast from past mistaes! Remember Osama Bin Laden and the Yugoslavia fiasco of Mujahedeen of Afghanistan? Who trained and supplied him with modern technology Does any one remember? It was Russians then and now it is Israel and Syria, may be Iraq, Turkey, oh no the Fool wants to come to the White House and we have no strategy yet? Our Military Industrial Complex Activists are busy ensuring we remember nothing! Our politicians are manipulated and the public memory is confused and our leaders in Britain give Severe Warning while those in Washington have no Strategy? We need to be proactive, focus in Prevention and Early Intervention strategies that involves diplomacy, trade, intelligence and pre-emptive solutions.
2.10 Un accountable powerful Geriatric Goons. Most if not all the sources of evil are Geriatric Male Goons. None of these Geriatric males goons suffer any consequence for their illegal and evil activities across the globe, as they purchase the confidential political and strategic consultants with the same dirty criminal money they gather in their confidential and criminal actives. Remember: These Senile Geriatric Goons are never accountable to any one; they are always protected from prosecution and accountability with their Confidential Golden Parachutes. They can even retire in some criminal offshore Islands or Western capitals after creating so much havoc to every one!
2.11 The Experience across the world is the same: Disrespect, Disenfranchisement and then Genocide
Root Cause Analysis. The Apocalyptic and Genocidal Compact. The Jihadists, the Crusaders and Retro-Holocaust recruits of a misguided ideology and mythology that started in Babylon some three thousand years with an apocalyptic and Suicidal Mission of the end of the world. These apocalyptic and genocidal view point needs to be challenged at its root by modem science and the universal and multiversal Divinity in Diversity perspective that promotes life, sustainable security and progressive prosperity. The history of the last 3,000 years has been dominated by these misguided ideology and mythology of an eventful end point of apocalyptic genocide that many misguided prophets of doom, mostly geriatric male goons with series mental health challenges that evolves with age and geriatric physiology that have recruited unsuspecting youth to their eventual deaths and suicides.
2.12 Addressing the challenge at its root. The modern day captains of the apocalyptic mythology such as Hitler, Sadam Hussein, and the like early childhood, adolescence and adult recruitment into organized criminal activities and misguided politics and genocide is very similar to the evolution of the modern jihadists, crusaders and retro-holocaust messiahs of doom. The most recent stories of First, Second and potential asymmetric Third World War crisis are being driven by the same foolish ideology of gloom and doom and apocalyptic genocidal end of world perspectives that need to be challenges and changed.
III. The Solution Strategy: Option Appraisal
3.1 The lessons of Post Cold War tragedies. The impact of more recent wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan Fiasco associated Shock and Awe Drama! Where millions died, and thousands of American and European poor kids returned with emotional, psychological and physical trauma and terror; the Veterinary/veterans departments are behaving like their masters Senior Geriatric Male dominated Military Industrial Complex Goons and churn out their misleading confidential erroneous reports to the congress leaving the VA/Veterans Affairs Department as non functional, and yet many veterans and their families are homeless in streets suffering the indignity of the bankrupt health and social service system designed only to serve the elderly Geriatric goons who abuse every body else!. The US Medicare System is there for the rich, but the Medicaid System for the poor, is being gutted by the same sale out politicians who serve these goons!
3.2 Resolution and Action Plan. Good Governance and The Universal Health Care System is an Idea whose time has come. Obama Care in the USA is just the beginning! Other nations do not even dream of initiating the dialogue about prevention and early intervention based health care system. They are being terrorized full time and have no time to talk about strategies of eliminating threats, reducing risks and converting challenges into opportunities. They are pre-occupied with perpetual terror! The solution is convert challenges of youth unemployment to entrepreneurship, see below the case of the “Start Up Nation” for details of potential solutions.
3.3 Monitoring Compliance over time. To make things worse, the same Military Industrial Complex Geriatric Goons are distributing the left over killing machines to the US Police Departments, thus converting our homes and streets in to battleground, in effect creating a new set of local Confidential Military Industrial Complex market at home! Again, creating a non-accountable criminal syndicate at home, US-Mexico border and Latin America where the kids are massacred by these criminals drug and military industrial complex operatives that are not accountable to any one. In fact they create a series of Military Coup d’états to perpetuate their crimes and come to the UN with a new garb of Presidential and Civilian respectability. So, we need to monitor Good Governance and Universal Health Care System across the glove over time.
3.4 Advocating for Peace & Good Governance! Who is going to speak up for these global vulnerable populations? The Catholic Pope and President Obama do so from time to time, but that is not enough! The New Millennial and their associates across the world have to take up these noble and sacred challenges of our time! Entrepreneurship should be the choice in stead of terror for global youth. As such we need to creatively engage our youths in innovation, technology, talent driven trade and entrepreneurship. Please see below the “Start Up Nation” case study for insight towards a long-term solution globally. Invest in the talents and entrepreneurship potential of the global youths!
3.5 Addressing the root cause: Disrespect and Disenfranchisement The challenge of our time is that we do not see, recognize and appreciate these moronic geriatric male Drugs and Military Industrial Complex Goons and their religious/ideological mafia as a threat and they and their terrorist clients are not suffering any loss be it emotional, psychological, physical, ecological and economic crisis as is the case of the global children, youths and women do around the world.
3.6 Avoid Revolving Doors of Criminals posing as Civilians. They even organize themselves as civilians, Para-military and respectable think tanks and Media Moguls by producing more potent marketing tools, drugs, guns and allow crazy goons terrorize our schools and communities. Then they purchase foolish politicians who protect them from prosecution under confidential arrangement that is against the constitution of both humans and divine ones.
3.7 Recruiting Politicians into criminal activities. The Global Politicians job has evolved into Shutting Down Good Governance or Government in general into chaos by starting to Do Nothing that challenges these criminals Geriatric Goons and Go on August recess after setting up the most horrendous terrorist network on the globe. They are paid about $150,000 by the Public and to the tunes of Millions by the Criminal Industrial Military and Media Goons and whom do they serve? Their real masters! The current US political theatricals where the Corporations are organizing the political campaigns instead of the politicians themselves is a cause for concern as the voice of the people is consistently tempered with. Imagine the US Ambassador to Libya and his associated murdered in Benghazi and now the US Embassy in Tripoli is converted into a Swimming Diving Pool for the ISIS Terrorist Network. Did NATO have a Strategy for Libya when they bombed Gadhafi? Surely, this culture of non-transparency and lack of accountability has to change. What was African Union doing then and now? The Arabs are now bombing Libya just like NATO did last time. Where is the African Union in all these?
3.8 CAT/Complete, Accurate and Timely Communication and Not Confidentiality. The time has come to stop any Confidential none sense and be open and transparent. The lives of journalists being be headed by the terrorist goons who are using the West weapons of mass destruction stops when we stop selling these weapons to middle clients terrorist non states like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and United Arab Emirates and other hedge fund managers, and criminal banks that are exchanging the money with the known terrorists.
3.0 Good Governance for Sustainable Security for all. It is critical that we promote the culture of transparency and accountability in all parts of our lives. Let us stop the Confidentiality and be open to protect our shared sustainable Security and Progressive prosperity by respecting our Divinity in Diversity that is our bio-diversity, socio-economic, cultural and cultural diversity. Imagine if the world and the universe looked like us, that is the plants, animals, humans and other beings in the universe! Just imagine how ugly and uninteresting it will be. It will be a very ugly and unpleasant place hence our divinity in diversity!
3.10 Resolutions at the Root Cause. We can stop all the global terror in a week if we stop distributing guns, drugs and poisonous chemicals and pathogens through third client terrorist states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Qatar! and Latin American Dictators that is sacrificing their children into Mexico-US border! Just imagine, if the Military, Drug, and Weapons of Mass Destruction Geriatric Goons stopped manufacturing these terrorist weapons, what world we will be living in Any crocodile tears we shed in public but terrorize the globe in private, called Confidentiality has to stop immediately. Then we will talk peace and sustainable security and progressive prosperity for all.
3.11 Reporting consistent and sustainable compliance to Good Governance. These idiotic confidential documents have to stop and we need to be transparent! Literally in minutes we can stop these evolving terrorist networks if we stop their financial and military weapons of mass destruction distribution network. The truth is these morons cannot manufacture and distribute these terrorist tools without support from the established governments be it the west, east and the North (Russia). None of them have the capability to produce and distribute these weapons. We need to report consistent and sustainable compliance to good governance and universal Health Care instead of allowing our best and most able journalists to be murdered by these terrorists and their collaborators. Make every one accountable and remove the current series of dangers of confidential reporting.
3.12 The Geriatric Criminals should be punished and not honored with ignorance. We need to look at our criminal financial, political and military industrial complex more seriously than we have done so far. We need to create a new transparent and accountable world order and stop the cycle of violence and genocide NOW! Gangs, mafias, drug lords and counter-intelligence terrorists, turned political activities posing as politicians and priests, bishops and Sheiks and Emirs and even Caliphs to unsuspecting future generation, etc. is an idea whose time has come and we should not honor the culture of converting past criminals and rehabilitating them to continue their criminal activities in civilian lives. Imagine where Caliph Abu baker will be if the US Prison Guard had some intelligence? The media should alert the Millennial generation to Google /Fact Check the past unwritten resumes of overt and covert criminals of past years posing as potential current and future political leaders supported by criminal resources.
3.13 The Millennial Future. This generation has a unique opportunity to provide the Global Millennial Generation that is the majority an opportunity to create a future of sustainable security and progressive prosperity for all. We need to protect the current and future civilization if we shared information not keep confidentiality thrive!
Our Divinity in Diversity demands our passion to live to serve others in Diversity, that is our bio-diversity, socio-economic diversity and ecological diversity! Respecting our Divinity demands we tell the truth and live the truth all the time!
I look forward to your alternative perspective
IV. Towards Solution: Challenging Terror with Entrepreunerships
Promoting (IT)3= Innovation, Integrity, Investment via Talent, Technology, Training towards Transparent Trade.
4.1 Empowering youths towards “Entrepreneurship” Youth Empowered Economic miracle, based on (IT)3 as a tool for sustainable security and progressive prosperity for all. The global youth and women make up 75% of the global population and need to be stakeholders in the leadership network across the world with time limited leadership of good governance across the globe. We need to retire ambitious politicians and economic powerhouses towards knowledge transfer power houses to the vulnerable youths. Managing transitions should be the new science that is relative to our age, gender and entrepreneurship potential across the world.
4.2 Challenging the old with a promising new perspective. The age old negative apocalyptic end of the world order promoted by misguided religious and political mythologies needs to be challenged by scientific evidence based entrepreneurship for sustinble security and progressive prosperity for all. We need to integrate scientific knowledge of all disciplines towards a coherent positive world order based religious, political and economic and ecoligcal world order.
Use scientific Research and Development a means of Green Renaissance and Transformation
4.3 Seven Steps of Transformation
- Research Pyramid: Ask the six questions of Who, What, When, Where, Why and How to address the Root Cause Analysis towards a desired effect and outcome.
CORT Analysis. Challenges, Opportunities, Risks and Threats. CORT Analysis towards a Strategy of eliminating threats, reduce risk and convert challenges into opportunities.
NDSIM: Value and Price determination via Need, Demand, Supply Interaction Model for 3As and 3Es: A value or desired outcome of Accessible, Affordable, Accountable outcome that is Effective, Efficient and Equitable to all stakeholders.
Option Appraisal. Use of time, space, and person variables towards strategic options.
Options: ABC, where A=Best Option, B= Win-win Option and C=Compromise Option
Strategy: 1= Immediate, 2= Intermediate/short term and 3= Long term
Strategy (Time) 1 2 3
Option A A A A
B B B B
C C C C
- Best Option: The desired option by all stake holders at immediate, intermediate and long term strategy, where immediate and long term options have greater value of 3A+3Es. 3A=9
Win-win option: Favorable option by all stakeholders that is fair and equitable. 3B=6
Compromise Option: Beneficial options with limited immediate and short-term value 3C=3
Three Track Strategies. Strategies with three Options at hand all the time, at Best,
Win-win, and compromise options.
Calendar based SMART Work Plan. Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic and Time Sensitive.
Activity Accountable Person
- Daily Productivity Report All staff
- Weekly Productivity Report Senior Management Team
- Monthly Productivity Report Corporate Management Team
- Quarterly Productivity Report Professional Adv Board
5. Annual Productivity Report Governing Board
- Quality Assurance Protocol towards consistent and sustainable compliance
A. Performance Evaluation Tools: Qualitative and Quantitative Monitoring Tools
- Qualitative PE tool: Individual and Focus Group Interviews and Surveys
- Qualitative PE tool: Data set based statistical productivity reports
- Monitoring progress: Tending events towards excellence and success
B. Education & Training. In-service training and continuous education protocol based on Performance
C. Excellence & Success: Professional Development and Growth Strategy: Recruitment, Orientation, and Retention
Converting Challenges into Opportunities a case study of Start up nation
A. The case study of Israel as an Innovation (Start up nation)
Use of the 2-3 Years Civil Service in the Security and Military Industry for all youths
V. Case Study of a Start-up Nation- Entrepreneurship and Investment in Talent
Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle- The Lesson of Early Youth Engagement into Entrepreunership
Author Dan Senor and Saul Singer
Country United States
Publication date November 4, 2009
Media type Print (hardcover)
5.1 Lessons of Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle is a 2009 book by Dan Senor and Saul Singer about the economy of Israel. It examines how Israel, a 60-year-old nation with a population of 7.1 million, was able to reach such economic growth that “at the start of 2009, some 63 Israeli companies were listed on the NASDAQ, more than those of any other foreign country.”
In 2010, Start-up Nation was ranked fifth on the business bestseller list of The New York Times. It also reached The Wall Street Journal bestseller list.
1 Book overview
3 Critical reception
5 See also
7 External links
5.3 Book overview:”
A Nation of 7.1 Million People of 60 years existence with consistent existential threat
No natural resources accept its creative and innovative talent
The Council on Foreign Relations states in its publisher’s blurb for the book that Start-up Nation addresses the question: “How is it that Israel—a country of 7.1 million people, only sixty years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources—produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada, and the United Kingdom?”
5.4 High tech start up and larger venture capital industry per capita
The Economist notes that Israel now has more high-tech start-ups and a larger venture capital industry per capita than any other country in the world. The success of Israel’s high-tech sector over the past two decades has attracted recent attention from business journalists and The Economist describes Start-up Nation as the most notable of a “growing pile” of books on the subject.
5.5 New talent/Immigration and mandatory integration institutions
In their attempt to explain Israel’s success in this area, Senor and Singer discard “the argument from ethnic or religious exceptionalism, dismissing ‘unitary Jewishness’ or even individual talent as major reasons for Israel’s high-tech success” and analyze two major factors that, in the authors’ opinion, contribute most to Israel’s economic growth. Those factors are mandatory military service and immigration.
5.6 IDF creates Entrepreneurs= Colleges + SBEs
The authors argue that a major factor for Israel’s economic growth can be found in the culture of the Israel Defense Forces, in which service is mandatory for most young Israelis. The authors believe that IDF service provides potential entrepreneurs with the opportunities to develop a wide array of skills and contacts.
5.7 Desired Value: Creativity and intelligence
They also believe that IDF service provides experience exerting responsibility in a relatively un-hierarchical environment where creativity and intelligence are highly valued.
5.8 Improvising & open communication
IDF soldiers “have minimal guidance from the top, and are expected to improvise, even if this means breaking some rules. If you’re a junior officer, you call your higher-ups by their first names, and if you see them doing something wrong, you say so.”
5.9 Promoting Talent led leadership: Immigrants and Entrepreneurs
Neither ranks nor ages matter much “when taxi drivers can command millionaires and 23-year-olds can train their uncles,” and “Israeli forces regularly vote to oust their unit leaders.”
The book also dwells at length on immigration and its role in Israel’s economic growth: “Immigrants are not averse to start from scratch.
5.10 Risk Taker Immigrants
They are by definition risk-takers. A nation of immigrants is a nation of entrepreneurs. From survivors of the Holocaust to Soviet refuseniks through the Ethiopian Jews, the State of Israel never ceased to be a land of immigration: 9 out of 10 Jewish Israelis today are immigrants or descendants of immigrants the first or second generation.
5.11Immigrants have nothing to loose
This specific demographic, causing fragmentation of community that still continues in the country, is nevertheless a great incentive to try their luck, to take risks because immigrants have nothing to lose.” This is a great lesson for the TEA Party dominated immigrant aversion party and the rather tentative Democratic Party that is pro-immigration and entrepreneurship.
5.12 Start up friendly public and private policies.
Additional factors cited by the authors include a sense of dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs, a culture where individuals frequently tinker with technology, and government policies friendly to start-ups.
5.13 Google Suggest/medical technologies
Using stories and anecdotes, the book provides examples of Israel’s technological and medical achievements, among them “the Israeli innovations that made possible Google Suggest, the list of suggestions that appear instantly in menu form as you type a search request, the capsule endoscopy, a miniature camera embedded in a pill so that 18 photos per second can be wirelessly and painlessly transmitted from gastrointestinal tracts.”
5.14 Lack of mature management culture and sell outs
While the book describes Israel’s many successes in technological innovation, it also attempts to address, in the words of one reviewer, why Israel still lacks its own Nokia, Samsung, or IBM. According to the book’s authors, this is partly because Israeli startups tend to be bought up by large foreign companies and partly because Israeli business has thus far failed to develop the kind of mature management culture needed to run such companies.
5.15 Qualitative and Quantitative 100 interviews.
Senor and Singer interviewed over 100 people to write the book, among them leading Israeli venture investors including key players in Google, Intel, and Cisco; and historians, U.S. military leaders, and Israeli heads of state. Their conclusion is that “while Israel has much to learn from the world, the world has much to learn from Israel.”
5.16 Authors: Dan Senor & Saul Singer: Venture capitalist and Journalist
Dan Senor is a former foreign policy official in the United States government. He served as chief spokesmen for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and now advises venture capital firms. Saul Singer is a columnist and former editorial page editor for The Jerusalem Post.
5.17 Critical reception
Praise: Anecdote instead of Analysis
Jon Rosen OF USA Today believes that the book is written from an Israeli perspective and may irk those with reservations about Israeli foreign policy, but it is still an accomplishment, “not simply for exposing the roots of Israel’s success, but by showing what the Israeli case might teach the rest of the world.” In The Wall Street Journal, James K. Glassman says that “the greatest strength of Start-up Nation is not analysis but anecdote.
5.18 Success story narrative
The authors tell vivid stories of entrepreneurial success, such as that of Shai Agassi, the son of an Iraqi immigrant to Israel, with his electric-automobile technology, now in the process of creating ‘Car 2.0.'”
5.18 Case studies and interviews
Publishers Weekly states that “the authors ground their analysis in case studies and interviews with some of Israel’s most brilliant innovators to make this a rich and insightful read not just for business leaders and policy makers but for anyone curious about contemporary Israeli culture.”
5.19 Key Hebrew expressions: chutzpah and bitzua for Action, Rosh gadol: Can do attitude!
In The Economic Times, R Gopalakrishnan writes that the use of Hebrew expressions makes the book “alive and eminently-readable.” Besides chutzpah, the authors use the word bitzua, which roughly means “getting things done.” Another Hebrew expression used in the book is rosh gadol, literally “high head”, which could be translated “can-do and responsible attitude with scant respect for the limitations of formal authority.”
5.20 Innovation capabilities
Gopalakrishnan concludes that the ideas demonstrated in the book “are highly relevant for innovation capability in general, but for India, especially at this juncture.”
David Horovitz of The Jerusalem Post says that conclusions of Start-up Nation find confirmation in the real world, such as how the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was saved when an emergency medical team applied a revolutionary elasticized bandage developed in Israel to staunch her head wounds.
5.21 Critics: No straight line between theory and case study
A review in The Washington Post says that “the book weaves together colorful stories of Israeli technological triumphs” such as the story of Shvat Shaked, who “founded a cybersecurity firm with his old buddy from Army intelligence and had the chutzpah to bet a top executive at PayPal, the online commerce company owned by eBay, that his few dozen engineers could beat PayPal’s thousands in developing secure online software.” The review also states that the authors could have done a better job drawing “straight lines between their theories about Israel’s success and these case studies”.
5.22 No credit to US foreign Aid- The connection of US Capital that enabled the innovation
Maureen Farrell of Forbes was disappointed that the authors mostly ignored the effects of U.S. foreign aid, but says the book “is worth reading to understand not just Israel’s history but the history of capitalism and innovation.”
5.23 Criticism: Exaggeration of Patriotism: 7 Million Nation with more Nasdaq listed Corps.
Ruth Schuster, reviewing the book for Haaretz, feels that it is “tarnished by a jarring, tub-thumping patriotism.” A review in The Christian Science Monitor notes that “critics say that the story behind how a country of 7 million has more Nasdaq-listed companies than Europe is more complex than Singer and Senor paint it to be.”
5.24 IDF and Soviet-Jewish Migration + US and Private Investment
Economist Yusuf Mansour, writing in the Jordan Times, argues that two of the factors to which Senor and Singer attribute Israel’s success, the IDF and Soviet-Jewish immigration, have only been sustainable because of the foreign aid that Israel receives from the United States and private sources.
5.25 Exclusion of Arabs from the IDF and Investment Opportunities
Mansour also faults the authors for suggesting that the disparity between entrepreneurship in Israel’s Arab and Jewish sectors is rooted in the exemption of Arabs from military service rather than what Mansour perceives to be “the discriminatory policies of Israel against its Arab citizens,” particularly in education and the labor market.
5.26 Focus on Success than failures
Highlighting Technological Achievements away from problems of Arab conflict
Gal Beckerman, writing in The Forward magazine, observes that the book “presents Israel in an extremely positive light as a bastion of entrepreneurial spirit and technological achievement. It skirts a discussion of the conflict with the Palestinians, or even the wealth inequality within Israel, thereby dovetailing nicely with recent public relations efforts by Israel to shift attention away from its problems and toward its achievements.”
5.27 Impact: Promoting Entrepreneurship: Incentives for privatization & Venture Capitalism
Journalists and policymakers in several countries have recommended Start-up Nation as a useful guide for promoting entrepreneurship. A review of the book in The Irish Times calls on Ireland to follow Israel’s model. Andrius Kubilius, the prime minister of Lithuania, has cited Start-up Nation as his favorite book. Yrjö Ojasaar, managing partner of Solon Partners, an executive consulting and angel investor company in Estonia, says “there is much to be learned from the Israeli experience of venture capital incubation through building incentives for privatization.”
5.28 Handbook of classic economics: The value of “Effective Cohesive Team” for success!
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria called Start-up Nation “a book every single Arab businessman, Arab bureaucrat, and Arab politician should read.” The book is cited as a handbook of “classic economics.” It teaches small businesses “how effective a cohesive team can be, especially when that team places an emphasis on chutzpah first.”
5.29 A Reference for aspiring leaders of transformation
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad reportedly keeps a copy of Start-up Nation on his desk as a source of inspiration for the West Bank’s own burgeoning technology industry.
Additional References: See also
• Economy of Israel
• Israeli inventions and discoveries
• Science and technology in Israel
• Silicon Wadi
• List of Israeli companies quoted on the Nasdaq
• Venture capital in Israel
All the Global Crisis is initiated by Corrupt Geriatric Male Drug, Military and
Dear Universal and Multiversal Divine Living Communities:
This is to wish you a happy Millennial and First Sabbatical New Year of 5,707 Ethiopian New Year on September 11, 2014.
We remember Ethiopia’s September 11, 1973 Genocide that was repeated 28 or Four Seven Sabbatical Years later on September 11, 2001, and took the lives of nearly 4,000 people, and now Two Seven Sabbatical Year of 11 September 2014 is upon us with potential Commodity Bubble (Military + Terror) threat supported by
Ideological/Religious and political driven terror network.
The beginning and the end of all these Millennial and Sabbatical Terrors; current global economic and security crisis and past series of genocides such as (holocaust, crusades and jihad) is Geriatric Male Corruption!
The answer is demanding Good Governance via legal and public institutions that protect the law, and the most vulnerable.
Empowering the majority (Youths and Females) who are robbed massacred in countless Refugee Camps generated by the minority GGMMIC/Global Geriatric Male Military Industrial Complex and Network should be our focus.
All the Seven Year Cycles of the New Millennium; 2000- Digital Bubble; 2007 (Mortgage Bubble both at home and abroad- the Shock and Awe of Bagdad Mortgages; the 2014- Commodity Bubble supported by Russian/Ukraine; Syrian/Bagdad ISIS and Boku Harem/West Africa and AlQaeda-AlShabia and Al-Shabab Wahabi-Salfi Saudi Terror is driven by the same Corrupt Global Geriatric Biological, Chemical, Drug, and Military Industrial Complex Goons!
The Answer is to Empower the Millennial Youths and Females towards Sustinable Security and Progressive Prosperity for all!
I wish you a safe, secure and prosperous 7507 Ethiopian Millennial First Sabbatical New Year. Enqu-le Tatash- Gems to our Divine Feminines across the world
with regards and seeking your alternative perspectives, I remain
Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH and can be reached at GlobalBJesus@gmail.com at Universal and Multiversal Divine Living in Diversity- Serving Others in Biodiversity, Socio-Economic and Ecological Diversity
VI. References on Divinity, Diversity and Demonic States and Apocalyptic end time prophecies
I. Divinity in Diversity
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Divine” redirects here. For other uses, see Divine (disambiguation) or Divinity (disambiguation)
Elizabeth I and the three Goddesses Juno, Minerva & Venus.
In religious terms, divinity is the state of things that come from a supernatural power or deity, such as a god, or spirit beings, and are therefore regarded as sacred and holy. Such things are regarded as “divine” due to their transcendental origins, and/or because their attributes or qualities are superior or supreme relative to things of the Earth.
Divine things are regarded as eternal and based in truth, while material things are regarded as ephemeral and based in illusion. Such things that may qualify as “divine” are apparitions, visions, prophecies, miracles, and in some views also the soul, or more general things like resurrection, immortality, grace, and salvation. Otherwise what is or is not divine may be loosely defined, as it is used by different belief systems.
The root of the word “divine” is literally “godlike” (from the Latin deus, cf. Dyaus, closely related to Greek zeus, div in Persian and deva in Sanskrit), but the use varies significantly depending on which deity is being discussed. This article outlines the major distinctions in the conventional use of the terms.
For specific related academic terms, see Divinity (academic discipline), or Divine (Anglican).
1.2 Divine force or power
1.3.1 Latter-Day Saints
1.4 Christianity and New Testament references
2 See also
3 Notes and references
Divinity as a quality has two distinct usages:
• Divine force or power – powers or forces that are universal, or transcend human capacities
• Divinity applied to mortals – qualities of individuals who are considered to have some special access or relationship to the divine.
Overlap occurs between these usages because deities or godlike entities are often identical with and/or identified by the powers and forces that are credited to them — in many cases a deity is merely a power or force personified — and these powers and forces may then be extended or granted to mortal individuals.
For instance, Jehovah is closely associated with storms and thunder throughout much of the Old Testament. He is said to speak in thunder, and thunder is seen as a token of his anger. This power was then extended to prophets like Moses and Samuel, who caused thunderous storms to rain down on their enemies. (See Exodus 9:23 and 1 Samuel 12:18.)
Divinity always carries connotations of goodness, beauty, beneficence, justice, and other positive, pro-social attributes.
In monotheistic faiths there is an equivalent cohort of malefic supernormal beings and powers, such as demons, devils, afreet, etc., which are not conventionally referred to as divine; Demonic is often used instead.
The Oppositive of Divine is Demonic
Pantheistic and polytheistic faiths make no such distinction; gods and other beings of transcendent power often have complex, ignoble, or even irrational motivations for their acts. Note that while the terms demon and demonic are used in monotheistic faiths as antonyms to divine, they are in fact derived from the Greek word daimón (δαίμων), which itself translates as divinity.
There are three distinct usages of divinity and divine in religious discourse:
Main article: Deity
In monotheistic faiths, the word divinity is often used to refer to the singular God central to that faith. Often the word takes the definite article and is capitalized — “the Divinity” — as though it were a proper name or definitive honorific. Divine — capitalized — may be used as an adjective to refer to the manifestations of such a Divinity or its powers: e.g. “basking in the Divine presence…”
The terms divinity and divine — uncapitalized, and lacking the definite article — are sometimes used as to denote ‘god(s) or certain other beings and entities which fall short of godhood but lie outside the human realm. These include (by no means an exhaustive list):
Divine force or power
As previously noted, divinities are closely related to the transcendent force(s) or power(s) credited to them, so much so that in some cases the powers or forces may themselves be invoked independently. This leads to the second usage of the word divine (and a less common usage of divinity): to refer to the operation of transcendent power in the world.
In its most direct form, the operation of transcendent power implies some form of divine intervention. For pan- and polytheistic faiths this usually implies the direct action of one god or another on the course of human events. In Greek legend, for instance, it was Poseidon (god of the sea) who raised the storms which blew Odysseus’ craft off course on his return journey, and Japanese tradition holds that a god-sent wind saved them from Mongol invasion.
Prayers or propitiations are often offered to specific gods of pantheisms to garner favorable interventions in particular enterprises: e.g. safe journeys, success in war, or a season of bountiful crops. Many faiths around the world — from Japanese Shinto and Chinese traditional religion, to certain African practices and the faiths derived from those in the Caribbean, to Native American beliefs — hold that ancestral or household spirits offer daily protection and blessings. In monotheistic religions, divine intervention may take very direct forms: miracles, visions, or intercessions by blessed figures.
Transcendent force or power may also operate through more subtle and indirect paths. Monotheistic faiths generally support some version of divine providence, which acknowledges that the divinity of the faith has a profound but unknowable plan always unfolding in the world. Unforeseeable, overwhelming, or seemingly unjust events are often thrown on ‘the will of the Divine’, in deferences like the Muslim inshallah (‘as God wills it’) and Christian ‘God works in mysterious ways’. Often such faiths hold out the possibility of divine retribution as well, where the divinity will unexpectedly bring evil-doers to justice through the conventional workings of the world; from the subtle redressing of minor personal wrongs, to such large-scale havoc as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah or the biblical Great Flood.
Other faiths are even more subtle: the doctrine of karma shared by Buddhism and Hinduism is a divine law similar to divine retribution but without the connotation of punishment: our acts, good or bad, intentional or unintentional, reflect back on us as part of the natural working of the universe. Philosophical Taoism also proposes a transcendent operant principle — transliterated in English as tao or dao, meaning ‘the way’ — which is neither an entity or a being per se, but reflects the natural ongoing process of the world. Modern western mysticism and new age philosophy often use the term ‘the Divine’ as a noun in this latter sense: a non-specific principle and/or being that gives rise to the world, and acts as the source or wellspring of life. In these latter cases the faiths do not promote deference, as happens in monotheisms; rather each suggests a path of action that will bring the practitioner into conformance with the divine law: ahimsa — ‘no harm’ — for Buddhist and Hindu faiths; de or te — ‘virtuous action’ — in Taoism; and any of numerous practices of peace and love in new age thinking.
Main article: apotheosis
In the third usage, extensions of divinity and divine power are credited to living, mortal individuals. Political leaders are known to have claimed actual divinity in certain early societies — the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs being the premier case — taking a role as objects of worship and being credited with superhuman status and powers.
More commonly, and more pertinent to recent history, leaders merely claim some form of divine mandate, suggesting that their rule is in accordance with the will of God. The doctrine of the divine right of kings was introduced as late as the 17th century, proposing that kings rule by divine decree; Japanese Emperors ruled by divine mandate until the inception of the Japanese constitution after World War II
Less politically, most faiths have any number of people that are believed to have been touched by divine forces: saints, prophets, heroes, oracles, martyrs, and enlightened beings, among others. Saint Francis of Assisi, in Catholicism, is said to have received instruction directly from God and it is believed that he grants plenary indulgence to all who confess their sins and visit his chapel on the appropriate day.
In Greek mythology, Achilles’ mother bathed him in the river Styx to give him immortality, and Hercules — as the son of Zeus — inherited near-godlike powers.
In religious Taoism, Lao Tsu is venerated as a saint with his own powers. Various individuals in the Buddhist faith, beginning with Siddhartha, are considered to be enlightened, and in religious forms of Buddhism they are credited with divine powers. Muhammad and Christ, in their respective traditions, are each said to have performed divine miracles.
In general, mortals with divine qualities are carefully distinguished from the deity or deities in their religion’s main pantheon. Even the Christian faith, which generally holds Christ to be identical to God, distinguishes between God the Father and Christ the begotten Son.
There are, however, certain esoteric and mystical schools of thought, present in many faiths — Sufis in Islam, Gnostics in Christianity, Advaitan Hindus, Zen Buddhists, as well as several non-specific perspectives developed in new age philosophy — which hold that all humans are in essence divine, or unified with the Divine in a non-trivial way. Such divinity, in these faiths, would express itself naturally if it were not obscured by the social and physical worlds we live in; it needs to be brought to the fore through appropriate spiritual practices.
Main article: God in Mormonism
According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), such spiritual practices are inspired by promptings from the light of Christ or the Holy Spirit that are communications with an individual’s divine essence or spirit that is linked directly to God through pre-existence as his offspring.
Belief in a divine potential of humankind is taught by the LDS Church. The LDS teaches that there is a pre-mortal stage of human existence, known as pre-existence, during which pre-mortal human spirits, called spirit children, are able to make choices that influence their upcoming fully mortal existence as a direct result of the individual spirit’s choices regarding truth, love and faith. Spirit children come into existence out of “intelligences”. “Intelligences” are eternal forms of energy or matter existing in a less progressed form than God. (See Joseph Smith’s King Follett discourse.)
According to the LDS church, Christ’s unwavering ability to obey truth, perceive light, and act in perfect love and faith, distinguishes his pre-mortal existence from the pre-mortal existence of the other spirit beings who were in the presence of the “Eternal Father”. Christ’s behaviour during his “spirit child” phase serves to explain why he is considered to be God-like. The God-like quality ascribed to Jesus explains why he had a greater capacity to suffer more than mortal man could suffer; thus he could endure the anguish and incomprehensible pain of the atonement.
The LDS belief is that Christ’s divinity qualified him to return to the presence of God after his death and resurrection. By means of the atonement and his offering of divine grace to humankind, Christ provided access to divinity for humankind. A divine being is filled with perfect love, and desires to share these qualities because of the joy they bring to each individual soul.
Christianity and New Testament references
In traditional Christian theology, the concept and nature of divinity always has its source ultimately from God himself. It’s the state or quality of being divine, in Hebrew, the terms would usually be “el”, “elohim”, and in Greek usually “theos”, or “theias”. The divinity in the Bible is considered the Godhead itself, or God in general. Or it may have reference to a deity. Even angels in the Psalms are considered divine or elohim, as spirit beings, in God’s form. Redeemed Christians, when taken to heaven as immortalized born-again believers, according to Biblical verses, are said to partake of the “divine nature”. (Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:9; 2 Peter 1:4) And the term can denote Godlike nature or character.
In the Christian Greek Scriptures of the Bible, the Greek word θεῖον (theion) in the Douay Version, is translated as “divinity”. Examples are below:
• Acts 17:29
“Being therefore the offspring of God, we must not suppose the divinity to be like unto gold, or silver, or stone, the graving of art, and device of man.”
• Romans 1:20
“For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.”
• Revelation 5:12
“Saying with a loud voice: The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and benediction.”
The word translated as either “deity”, “Godhead”, or “divinity” in the Greek New Testament is also the Greek word θεότητος (theotētos), and the one Verse that contains it is this: Colossians 2:9
“Quia in ipso inhabitat omnis plenitudo divinitatis [divinity] corporaliter.” (Vulgate)
“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (KJV)
“Because it is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily.” (NWT)
“For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form.” (NET)
“For the full content of divine nature lives in Christ.” (TEV)
The word “divine” in the New Testament is the Greek word θείας (theias), and is the adjective form of “divinity”. Biblical examples from the King James Bible are below:
• 2 Peter 1:3
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.”
• 2 Peter 1:4
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
• Catholic Concept of the Divine
• Ho’oponopono (Morrnah section)
• List of deities
Notes and references
1. ^ Jump up to: a b c Wiktionary: “divine (comparative more divine, superlative most divine) 1) of or pertaining to a god 2) eternal, holy, or otherwise supernatural 3) of superhuman or surpassing excellence 4) beautiful, heavenly
2. Jump up ^ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/divine
3. Jump up ^ Merriam Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/divine
4. Jump up ^ See, for example “The Great Stag: A Sumerian Divinity” by Bobula Ida (Yearbook of Ancient and Medieval History 1953)
5. Jump up ^ note Augustine’s argument that divinity is not a quality of God, but that “God is […] Divinity itself” (Nature and Grace, part I, question 3, article 3) “Whether God is the Same as His Essence or Nature”
6. Jump up ^ This is sometimes a controversial issue, however; see , for example, for a discussion of the status of the Japanese emperor.
7. Jump up ^ See, for example, “The Divinity of Alpha’s Jesus” by Peterson & McDonald (Media Spotlight 25:4, 2002)
8. Jump up ^ See, for example, “Twelve Signs of Your Awakening Divinity” by Geoffrey Hoppe and Tobias
9. Jump up ^ divinity – The Free Dictionary.
The Oppositive of Divine Living in Diversity is Demonic Living in
Demons and Demonic Living as opposed to Divine and Livine for others in Diversity!
The opposite of Divine is Demonic
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Demon (disambiguation).
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St. Anthony plagued by demons, engraved by Martin Schongauer in the 1480s.
A demon, daemon or fiend, is a supernatural, often malevolent being prevalent in religion, occultism, literature, fiction, mythology and folklore. The original Greek word daimon does not carry the negative connotation initially understood by implementation of the Koine δαιμόνιον (daimonion), and later ascribed to any cognate words sharing the root.
In Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an unclean spirit, a fallen angel, or a spirit of unknown type which may cause demonic possession, calling for an exorcism. In Western occultism and Renaissance magic, which grew out of an amalgamation of Greco-Roman magic, Jewish demonology and Christian tradition, a demon is a spiritual entity that may be conjured and controlled.
• 1 Etymology
• 2 Psychological archetype
• 3 Ancient Near East
o 3.1 Mesopotamia
o 3.2 Ancient Arabia
o 3.3 Hebrew Bible
• 4 Judaism
o 4.1 Second Temple-period texts
• 4.1.1 Biblical interpretation
• 4.1.2 Apotropaic prayers
• 4.1.3 Rituals against evil
• 4.1.4 Demons under divine authority
• 4.1.5 Watchers/Nephilim
• 4.1.6 Belial
o 4.2 Kabbalah
• 5 Christian demonology
• 6 Ceremonial magic
• 7 Wicca
• 8 Islam
• 9 Hinduism
o 9.1 Asuras
o 9.2 Evil spirits
• 10 Bahá’í Faith
• 11 See also
• 12 References
• 13 Citations
• 14 Further reading
• 15 External links
Further information: Daemon (classical mythology), Agathodaemon, Cacodemon, Daimonic and Eudaimonia
Buer, the 10th spirit, who teaches “Moral and Natural Philosophy” (from a 1995 Mathers edition. Illustration by Louis Breton from Dictionnaire Infernal).
The Ancient Greek word δαίμων daimōn denotes a spirit or divine power, much like the Latin genius or numen. Daimōn most likely came from the Greek verb daiesthai (to divide, distribute). The Greek conception of a daimōns notably appears in the works of Plato, where it describes the divine inspiration of Socrates. To distinguish the classical Greek concept from its later Christian interpretation, the former is anglicized as either daemon or daimon rather than demon.
The Greek terms do not have any connotations of evil or malevolence. In fact, εὐδαιμονία eudaimonia, (literally good-spiritedness) means happiness. By the early Roman Empire, cult statues were seen, by pagans and their Christian neighbors alike, as inhabited by the numinous presence of the gods: “Like pagans, Christians still sensed and saw the gods and their power, and as something, they had to assume, lay behind it, by an easy traditional shift of opinion they turned these pagan daimones into malevolent ‘demons’, the troupe of Satan….. Far into the Byzantine period Christians eyed their cities’ old pagan statuary as a seat of the demons’ presence. It was no longer beautiful, it was infested.” The term had first acquired its negative connotations in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which drew on the mythology of ancient Semitic religions. This was then inherited by the Koine text of the New Testament. The Western medieval and neo-medieval conception of a demon derives seamlessly from the ambient popular culture of Late (Roman) Antiquity. The Hellenistic “daemon” eventually came to include many Semitic and Near Eastern gods as evaluated by Christianity.
The supposed existence of demons remains an important concept in many modern religions and occultist traditions. Demons are still feared as a popular superstition, largely due to their alleged power to possess living creatures. In the contemporary Western occultist tradition (perhaps epitomized by the work of Aleister Crowley), a demon (such as Choronzon, the Demon of the Abyss) is a useful metaphor for certain inner psychological processes (inner demons), though some may also regard it as an objectively real phenomenon. Some scholars believe that large portions of the demonology (see Asmodai) of Judaism, a key influence on Christianity and Islam, originated from a later form of Zoroastrianism, and were transferred to Judaism during the Persian era.
The classic Japanese demon, an ogre-like creature which often has horns.
Psychologist Wilhelm Wundt remarked that “among the activities attributed by myths all over the world to demons, the harmful predominate, so that in popular belief bad demons are clearly older than good ones.” Sigmund Freud developed this idea and claimed that the concept of demons was derived from the important relation of the living to the dead: “The fact that demons are always regarded as the spirits of those who have died recently shows better than anything the influence of mourning on the origin of the belief in demons.”
M. Scott Peck, an American psychiatrist, wrote two books on the subject, People of the Lie: The Hope For Healing Human Evil and Glimpses of the Devil: A Psychiatrist’s Personal Accounts of Possession, Exorcism, and Redemption. Peck describes in some detail several cases involving his patients. In People of the Lie he provides identifying characteristics of an evil person, whom he classified as having a character disorder. In Glimpses of the Devil Peck goes into significant detail describing how he became interested in exorcism in order to debunk the myth of possession by evil spirits – only to be convinced otherwise after encountering two cases which did not fit into any category known to psychology or psychiatry. Peck came to the conclusion that possession was a rare phenomenon related to evil, and that possessed people are not actually evil; rather, they are doing battle with the forces of evil.
Although Peck’s earlier work was met with widespread popular acceptance, his work on the topics of evil and possession has generated significant debate and derision. Much was made of his association with (and admiration for) the controversial Malachi Martin, a Roman Catholic priest and a former Jesuit, despite the fact that Peck consistently called Martin a liar and manipulator. Richard Woods, a Roman Catholic priest and theologian, has claimed that Dr. Peck misdiagnosed patients based upon a lack of knowledge regarding dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder), and had apparently transgressed the boundaries of professional ethics by attempting to persuade his patients into accepting Christianity. Father Woods admitted that he has never witnessed a genuine case of demonic possession in all his years.
Ancient Near East
Human-headed winged bull, otherwise known as a Lamassu
According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, “In Chaldean mythology the seven evil deities were known as shedu, storm-demons, represented in ox-like form.” They were represented as winged bulls, derived from the colossal bulls used as protective jinn of royal palaces.
From Chaldea, the term shedu traveled to the Israelites. The writers of the Tanach applied the word as a dialogism to Canaanite deities.
There are indications that demons in popular Hebrew mythology were believed to come from the nether world. Various diseases and ailments were ascribed to them, particularly those affecting the brain and those of internal nature. Examples include the catalepsy, headache, epilepsy and nightmares. There also existed a demon of blindness, “Shabriri” (lit. “dazzling glare”) who rested on uncovered water at night and blinded those who drank from it.
Demons supposedly entered the body and caused the disease while overwhelming or “seizing” the victim. To cure such diseases, it was necessary to draw out the evil demons by certain incantations and talismanic performances, which the Essenes excelled at. Josephus, who spoke of demons as “spirits of the wicked which enter into men that are alive and kill them”, but which could be driven out by a certain root, witnessed such a performance in the presence of the Emperor Vespasian and ascribed its origin to King Solomon. In mythology, there were few defences against Babylonian demons. The mythical mace Sharur had the power to slay demons such as Asag, a legendary gallu or edimmu of hideous strength.
Pre-Islamic mythology did not differentiate between gods and demons. Jinn were considered divinities of inferior rank and had many human abilities, such as eating, drinking and procreating. While most jinn were considered peaceful and well-disposed towards humans, there also existed evil jinn who contrived to injure people.
Look at the Beautiful Eve and the Serpeant she adores! Biodiversity in Diversity at its best! The question we should ask is, Is this Divine Living in Diversity or Demonic Co-existence for eventual destruction of life/
Lilith, by John Collier, 1892
Demons in the Hebrew Bible are of two classes: the se’irim (“hairy beings”)  and the shedim. The se’irim, to which some Israelites offered sacrifices in the open fields, were satyr-like creatures, described as dancing in the wilderness (Isaiah 13:21, 34:14). “The Israelites also offered sacrifices to the shedim (Deut. xxxii. 17; Ps. cvi. 37)”.
According to some rabbinic sources, demons were believed to be under the dominion of a king or chief, either Asmodai or, in the older Haggadah, Samael (“the angel of death”, also called the “chief of the devils”), who killed via poison. Occasionally a demon was called satan: “Stand not in the way of an ox when coming from the pasture, for Satan dances between his horns”.
Demonology never became an essential feature of Jewish theology. However, the existence of demons was never questioned by the Talmudists and late rabbis, nor did most of the medieval thinkers question their reality. Only rationalists like Maimonides and Abraham ibn Ezra explicitly denied their existence. Their point of view eventually became mainstream Jewish understanding.
Rabbinical demonology has three classes of demons, though they are scarcely separable one from another. There were the shedim, the mazziḳim (“harmers”), and the ruḥin (“spirits”). There were also lilin (“night spirits”), ṭelane (“shade”, or “evening spirits”), ṭiharire (“midday spirits”), and ẓafrire (“morning spirits”), as well as the “demons that bring famine” and “such as cause storm and earthquake”.
Second Temple-period texts
Demons are sometimes included into biblical interpretation. In the story of Passover, the Bible tells the story as “the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt” (Exodus 12:21–29). In Jubilees, which is considered canonical only by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as well as Bete Israel (Ethiopian Jews), this same event is told slightly differently: “All the powers of [the demon] Mastema had been let loose to slay all the first-born in the land of Egypt…And the powers of the Lord did everything according as the Lord commanded them” (Jubilees 49:2–4).
In Genesis in the story of the flood, the author explains how God was noticing “how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways” (Genesis 6:12). In Jubilees the sins of man is attributed to “the unclean demons [who] began to lead astray the children of the sons of Noah, and to make to err and destroy them” (Jubilees 10:1). In Jubilees Mastema questions the loyalty of Abraham and tells God to “bid him offer him as a burnt offering on the altar, and Thou wilt see if he will do this command” (Jubilees 17:16). The discrepancy between the story in Jubilees and the story in Genesis 22 exists with the presence of Mastema. In Genesis, God tests the will of Abraham merely to determine whether he is a true follower, however; in Jubilees Mastema has an agenda behind promoting the sacrifice of Abraham’s son, “an even more demonic act than that of the Satan in Job.”
See also: Apotropaic magic
Throughout history, many cultures and religions have utilized apotropaic prayers and incantations to “defend the sons of light from the forces of darkness within the cosmic conflict in which they were locked”. The Jewish community in the Second Temple Period is a perfect example of using these religious and magical tools for the purpose of protection from demons.
Many choose to talk about His powers over wickedness as a tool for scaring away potential demons, because they believed that a “solemn proclamation of God’s power will protect the community and its members from attacks by demons”. The Qumran community during the Second Temple Period wrote this apotropaic prayer stating: “And, I the Sage, declare the grandeur of his radiance in order to frighten and terri[fy] all the spirits of the ravaging angels and the bastard spirits, demons, Liliths, owls” (Dead Sea Scrolls, “Songs of the Sage,” Lines 4–5).
Rituals against evil
Some sacred rituals would be used for healing. One example of incantations used for healing can be seen in Tobit: “Then the angel said to him: Take out the entrails of the fish, and lay up his heart, and his gall, and his liver for thee: for these are necessary for useful medicines. And when he had done so, he roasted the flesh thereof, and they took it with them in the way: the rest they salted as much as might serve them, till they came to Rages the city of the Medes. Then Tobias asked the angel, and said to him: I beseech thee, brother Azarias, tell me what remedies are these things good for, which thou hast bid me keep of the fish? And the angel, answering, said to him: If thou put a little piece of its heart upon coals, the smoke thereof driveth away all kind of devils, either from man or from woman, so that they come no more to them” (Tobit 6:5–8). These practices, as opposed to other medical practices, were used because “resorting to doctors would be considered unacceptable, as this could be thought to encroach upon a divine prerogative”.
Other incantations were used to ward off other kinds of evil spirits: “For they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from themselves, and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil hath power. But thou when thou shalt take her, go into the chamber, and for three days keep thyself continent from her, and give thyself to nothing else but to prayers with her” (Tobit 17–18). Also this way, if misfortune was not averted, people would be able to validate the horrors in the world with the knowledge that “sickness and other misfortunes experienced by people are ultimately the result of human wrongdoing and transgression”.
Demons under divine authority
Demons, despite being typically associated with evil, are often shown to be under divine control, and not acting of their own devices. In the War Scrolls, Belial controls scores of demons, which are specifically allotted to him by God for the purpose of performing evil. Belial, despite his malevolent disposition, is considered an angel, and therefore is of divine origin.
A similar circumstance appears in Jubilees, where Mastema, an angel tasked with the tempting of mortals into sin and iniquity, requests that God give him a tenth of the spirits of the children of the watchers, demons, in order to aid the process. These demons are passed into Mastema’s authority, where once again, an angel is in charge of demonic spirits.
God is shown sending a demon against Saul in 1 Samuel 16 and 18 in order to punish him for the failure to follow God’s instructions, showing God as having the power to use demons for his own purposes, putting the demon under divine authority.
The sources of demonic influence were thought to originate from the Watchers or Nephilim, who are first mentioned in Genesis 6 and are the focus of 1 Enoch Chapters 1–16, and also in Jubilees 10. The Nephilim were seen as the source of the sin and evil on earth because they are referenced in Genesis 6:4 before the story of the Flood. In Genesis 6:5, God sees evil in the hearts of men. The passage states, “the wickedness of humankind on earth was great”, and that “Every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only continually evil” (Genesis 5). The mention of the Nephilim in the preceding sentence connects the spread of evil to the Nephilim.
Enoch is a very similar story to Genesis 6:4–5, and provides further description of the story connecting the Nephilim to the corruption of humans. In Enoch, sin originates when angels descend from heaven and fornicate women, birthing giants as tall as 300 cubits. The giants and the angels’ departure of Heaven and mating with human women are also seen as the source of sorrow and sadness on Earth.
The book of Enoch shows that these fallen angels can lead humans to sin through direct interaction or through providing forbidden knowledge. In Enoch, Semyaz leads the angels to mate with women. Angels mating with humans is against God’s commands and is a cursed action, resulting in the wrath of God coming upon Earth. Azazel indirectly influences humans to sin by teaching them divine knowledge not meant for humans. Asael brings down the “stolen mysteries” (Enoch 16:3).
Asael gives the humans weapons, which they use to kill each other. Humans are also taught other sinful actions such as beautification techniques, alchemy, astrology and how to make medicine (considered forbidden knowledge at the time). Demons originate from the evil spirits of the giants that are cursed by God to wander the earth. These spirits are stated in Enoch to “corrupt, fall, be excited, and fall upon the earth, and cause sorrow” (Enoch 15:11). The Book of Jubilees conveys that sin occurs when Cainan accidentally transcribes astrological knowledge used by the Watchers (Jubilees 8). This differs from Enoch in that it does not place blame on the Angels. However in Jubilees 10:4 the evil spirits of the Watchers are discussed as evil and still remain on earth to corrupt the humans.
God binds only 90 percent of the Watchers and destroys them, leaving 10 percent to be ruled by Mastema. Because the evil in humans is great, only 10 percent would be needed to corrupt and lead humans astray. These spirits of the giants also referred to as “the bastards” in the Apotropaic prayer Songs of the Sage, which lists the names of demons the narrator hopes to expel.
Curses of Belial (Dead Sea Scrolls, 394, 4Q286(4Q287, fr. 6)=4QBerakhot) In the Dead Sea Scrolls, there exists a fragment entitled “Curses of Belial” (4Q286(4Q287, fr. 6)=4QBerakhot). This fragment holds much rich language that reflects the sentiment shared between the Qumran towards Belial. In many ways this text shows how these people thought Belial influenced sin through the way they address him and speak of him. By addressing “Belial and all his guilty lot,” (4Q286:2) they make it clear that he is not only impious, but also guilty of sins. Informing this state of uncleanliness are both his “hostile” and “wicked design” (4Q286:3,4).
Through this design, Belial poisons the thoughts of those who are not necessarily sinners. Thus a dualism is born from those inclined to be wicked and those who aren’t. It is clear that Belial directly influences sin by the mention of “abominable plots” and “guilty inclination” (4Q286:8,9).
These are both mechanisms by which Belial advances his evil agenda that the Qumran have exposed and are calling upon God to protect them from. There is a deep sense of fear that Belial will “establish in their heart their evil devices” (4Q286:11,12). This sense of fear is the stimulus for this prayer in the first place. Without the worry and potential of falling victim to Belial’s demonic sway, the Qumran people would never feel impelled to craft a curse. This very fact illuminates the power Belial was believed to hold over mortals, and the fact that sin proved to be a temptation that must stem from an impure origin.
In Jubilees 1:20, Belial’s appearance continues to support the notion that sin is a direct product of his influence. Moreover, Belial’s presence acts as a placeholder for all negative influences or those that would potentially interfere with God’s will and a pious existence. Similarly to the “gentiles…[who] cause them to sin against you” (Jubilees 1:19), Belial is associated with a force that drives one away from God. Coupled in this plea for protection against foreign rule, in this case the Egyptians, is a plea for protection from “the spirit of Belial” (Jubilees 1:19).
Belial’s tendency is to “ensnare [you] from every path of righteousness” (Jubilees 1:19). This phrase is intentionally vague, allowing room for interpretation. Everyone, in one way or another, finds themselves straying from the path of righteousness and by pawning this transgression off on Belial, he becomes a scapegoat for all misguidance, no matter what the cause. By associating Belial with all sorts of misfortune and negative external influence, the Qumran people are henceforth allowed to be let off for the sins they commit.
Belial’s presence is found throughout the War Scrolls, located in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and is established as the force occupying the opposite end of the spectrum of God. In Col. I, verse 1, the very first line of the document, it is stated that “the first attack of the Sons of Light shall be undertaken against the forces of the Sons of Darkness, the army of Belial” (1Q33;1:1).
This dichotomy sheds light on the negative connotations that Belial held at the time. Where God and his Sons of Light are forces that protect and promote piety, Belial and his Sons of Darkness cater to the opposite, instilling the desire to sin and encouraging destruction. This opposition is only reinforced later in the document; it continues to read that the “holy ones” will “strike a blow at wickedness,” ultimately resulting in the “annihilation of the Sons of Darkness” (1Q33:1:13). This epic battle between good and evil described in such abstract terms, however it is also applicable to everyday life and serves as a lens through which the Qumran see the world. Every day is the Sons of Light battle evil and call upon God to help them overcome evil in ways small and large.
Belial’s influence is not taken lightly. In Col. XI, verse 8, the text depicts God conquering the “hordes of Belial” (1Q33;11:8). This defeat is indicative of God’s power over Belial and his forces of temptation. However the fact that Belial is the leader of hordes is a testament to how persuasive he can be. If Belial was obviously an arbiter of wrongdoing and was blatantly in the wrong, he wouldn’t be able to amass an army. This fact serves as a warning message, reasserting God’s strength, while also making it extremely clear the breadth of Belial’s prowess. Belial’s “council is to condemn and convict,” so the Qumran feel strongly that their people are not only aware of his purpose, but also equipped to combat his influence (1Q33;13:11).
In the Damascus Document, Belial also makes a prominent appearance, being established as a source of evil and an origin of several types of sin. In Column 4, the first mention of Belial reads: “Belial shall be unleashed against Israel” (4Q266). This phrase is able to be interpreted myriad different ways.
Belial is characterized in a wild and uncontrollable fashion, making him seem more dangerous and unpredictable. The notion of being unleashed is such that once he is free to roam; he is unstoppable and able to carry out his agenda uninhibited. The passage then goes to enumerate the “three nets” (4Q266;4:16) by which Belial captures his prey and forces them to sin. “Fornication…, riches…, [and] the profanation of the temple” (4Q266;4:17,18) make up the three nets.
These three temptations were three agents by which people were driven to sin, so subsequently, the Qumran people crafted the nets of Belial to rationalize why these specific temptations were so toxic. Later in Column 5, Belial is mentioned again as one of “the removers of bound who led Israel astray” (4Q266;5:20). This statement is a clear display of Belial’s influence over man regarding sin. The passage goes on to state: “they preached rebellion against…God” (4Q266;5:21,22). Belial’s purpose is to undermine the teachings of God, and he achieves this by imparting his nets on humans, or the incentive to sin.
See also: Kabbalah
Some benevolent shedim were used in kabbalistic ceremonies (as with the golem of Rabbi Yehuda Loevy) and malevolent shedim (mazikin, from the root meaning “to damage”) were often credited with possession. Similarly, a shed might inhabit an otherwise inanimate statue.
Main article: Christian demonology
Death and the Miser (detail), a Hieronymus Bosch painting, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
In the Gospels, particularly the Gospel of Mark, Jesus cast out many demons or evil angels from those afflicted with various ailments. He also lent this power to some of his disciples (Luke 10:17). The demons were cast out by the utterance of a name, according to Matthew 7:22, with some groups insisting the original pronunciation of the name “Jesus” be used. The demons or unclean spirits themselves were said to often recognize Jesus as the Messiah. In Matthew 12:43, Jesus taught that when demons were driven from a human, they went through dry places as disembodied spirits seeking respite, although on some occasion he would send them into a herd of swine. Through all accounts, Jesus had never failed in his exorcism of a demon.
By way of contrast, in Acts, a group of Judaistic exorcists known as the sons of Sceva attempted to cast out a powerful spirit without belief in Jesus, but failed with disastrous consequences.
Revelation 12:7–17 describes a battle between God’s army and Satan’s followers and the latter’s subsequent expulsion from Heaven to Earth in order to persecute humans.[clarification needed] Luke 10:18 mentions a power granted by Jesus to cast out demons made Satan “fall like lightning from heaven”.
Apuleius, by Augustine of Hippo, is ambiguous as to whether daemons had become ‘demonized’ by the early 5th century:
He [Apulieus] also states that the blessed are called in Greek eudaimones, because they are good souls, that is to say, good demons, confirming his opinion that the souls of men are demons.
The contemporary Roman Catholic Church unequivocally teaches that angels and demons are real beings rather than just symbolic devices. The Catholic Church has a cadre of officially sanctioned exorcists which perform many exorcisms each year. The exorcists of the Catholic Church teach that demons attack humans continually but that afflicted persons can be effectively healed and protected either by the formal rite of exorcism, authorized to be performed only by bishops and those they designate, or by prayers of deliverance, which any Christian can offer for themselves or others.
Building upon the few references to daemons in the New Testament, especially the poetry of the Book of Revelation, Christian writers of apocrypha from the 2nd century onwards created a more complicated tapestry of beliefs about “demons” that was largely independent of Christian scripture.
At various times in Christian history, attempts have been made to classify demons according to various proposed demonic hierarchies.
According to Christian demonology, demons will be eternally punished and never will reconcile with God. Other theories postulate a universal reconciliation, in which Satan, the fallen angels, and the souls of the dead that were condemned to Hell reconcile with God. This doctrine is today often associated with the Unification Church. Origen, Jerome, and Gregory of Nyssa also mentioned this possibility.
While some people fear demons, or attempt to exorcise them, others willfully attempt to summon them for knowledge, assistance, or power. The ceremonial magician usually consults a grimoire, which gives the names and abilities of demons as well as detailed instructions for conjuring and controlling them. Grimoires aren’t limited to demons – some give the names of angels or spirits which can be called, a process called theurgy. The use of ceremonial magic to call demons is also known as goetia, the name taken from a section within the famous grimoire “The Lesser Key of Solomon”.
According to Rosemary Ellen Guiley, “Demons are not courted or worshipped in contemporary Wicca and Paganism. The existence of negative energies is acknowledged.”
Islam: The Jinn-Demon Connection
The Majlis al Jinn cave in Oman, literally “Meeting place of the Jinn”.
See also: Devil (Islam) and Jinn § Jinn in Islam
Islam recognizes the existence of jinn, which are sentient beings with free will that can co-exist with humans (though not the genies of modern lore). In Islam, evil jinn are referred to as the shayātīn or demons/devils, with Iblis (Satan) as their chief.
Iblis was one of the first jinn; he disobeyed Allah and did not bow down before Adam refusing to acknowledge a creature made of “clay”. Thus, Iblis was condemned to jahannam (hell). He asked for respite until the Last Day (Judgement Day), when he vowed to make mankind fall and deny the existence of their creator, to which Allah replied that Iblis would only be able to mislead those who were not righteous believers, warning that Iblis and all who followed him in evil would be punished in Hell.
Hinduism includes numerous varieties of spirits that might be classified as demons, including Vetalas, Bhutas and Pishachas. Rakshasas and Asuras are often also taken as demons.
The Army of Super Creatures – from The Sougandhika Parinaya Manuscript (1821 CE)
Originally, Asura, in the earliest hymns of the Rig Veda, meant any supernatural spirit, either good or bad. Since the /s/ of the Indic linguistic branch is cognate with the /h/ of the Early Iranian languages, the word Asura, representing a category of celestial beings, became the word Ahura (Mazda), the Supreme God of the monotheistic Zoroastrians. Ancient Hinduism tells that Devas (also called suras) and Asuras are half-brothers, sons of the same father Kasyapa; although some of the Devas, such as Varuna, are also called Asuras. Later, during Puranic age, Asura and Rakshasa came to exclusively mean any of a race of anthropomorphic, powerful, possibly evil beings. Daitya (lit. sons of the mother “Diti”), Rakshasa (lit. from “harm to be guarded against”), and Asura are incorrectly translated into English as “demon”.
In Hindu mythology, pious, highly enlightened Asuras, such as Prahlada and Vibheeshana, are not uncommon. The Asura are not fundamentally against the gods, nor do they tempt humans to fall. This is markedly different from the traditional Western notions of demons as a rival army of God but comparable with the concept of the jinns in Islam.[contradiction] Many people metaphorically interpret the Asura as manifestations of the ignoble passions in the human mind and as a symbolic devices. There were also cases of power-hungry Asuras challenging various aspects of the Gods, but only to be defeated eventually and seek forgiveness—see Surapadman and Narakasura.
Hinduism advocates the reincarnation and transmigration of souls according to one’s karma. Souls (Atman) of the dead are adjudged by the Yama and are accorded various purging punishments before being reborn. Humans that have committed extraordinary wrongs are condemned to roam as lonely, often evil, spirits for a length of time before being reborn. Many kinds of such spirits (Vetalas, Pishachas, Bhūta) are recognized in the later Hindu texts. These beings, in a limited sense, can be called demons.
In the Bahá’í Faith, demons are not regarded as independent evil spirits as they are in some faiths. Rather, evil spirits described in various faiths’ traditions, such as Satan, fallen angels, demons and jinns, are metaphors for the base character traits a human being may acquire and manifest when he turns away from God and follows his lower nature. Belief in the existence of ghosts and earthbound spirits is rejected and considered to be the product of superstition.
• Classification of demons
• Demonic possession
• Folk devil
• List of theological demons
• List of fictional demons
• Pre-Vatican II Holy water
• Saint Michael
• Spiritual warfare
1. Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott. “δαιμόνιον”. Greek-English Lexicon. Perseus.
2. See, for example, the course synopsis and bibliography for “”Magic, Science, Religion: The Development of the Western Esoteric Traditions”, at Central European University, Budapest
3. “Demon”. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
4. Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians 1989, p.137.
5. See the Medieval grimoire called the Ars Goetia.
6. Boyce, 1987; Black and Rowley, 1987; Duchesne-Guillemin, 1988.
7. Freud (1950, 65), quoting Wundt (1906, 129).
8. Freud, S. (1950). Totem and Taboo. London:Routledge
9. Peck, M.S. (1983). People of the Lie: The Hope For Healing Human Evil
10. Peck, M.S. (2005). Glimpses of the Devil: A Psychiatrist’s Personal Accounts of Possession, Exorcism, and Redemption.
11. The exorcist, an interview with M. Scott Peck by Rebecca Traister published in Salon
12. The devil you know, National Catholic Reporter, April 29, 2005, a commentary on Glimpses of the Devil by Richard Woods
13. The Patient Is the Exorcist, an interview with M. Scott Peck by Laura Sheahen
14. Dominican Newsroom[dead link]
15. “RichardWoodsOP.net”. RichardWoodsOP.net. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
16. Haarman, Susan (2005-10-25). “BustedHalo.com”. BustedHalo.com. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
17. Jewish Encyclopedia. 1906.
18. See Delitzsch, Assyrisches Handwörterbuch. pp. 60, 253, 261, 646; Jensen, Assyr.-Babyl. Mythen und Epen, 1900, p. 453; Archibald Sayce, l.c. pp. 441, 450, 463; Lenormant, l.c. pp. 48–51.
19. compare Isaiah 38:11 with Job 14:13; Psalms 16:10, 49:16, and 139:8
20. Bellum Judaeorum vii. 6, § 3
21. “Antiquities” viii. 2, § 5
22. “Hebrew Concordance: ū·śə·‘î·rîm – 1 Occurrence”. Biblesuite.com. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
23. “The Jewish Encyclopedia”. The Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
24. Targ. to Eccl. i. 13; Pes. 110a; Yer. Shek. 49b
25. Pes. 112b; compare B. Ḳ. 21a
26. (Targ. Yer. to Deuteronomy xxxii. 24 and Numbers vi. 24; Targ. to Cant. iii. 8, iv. 6; Eccl. ii. 5; Ps. xci. 5, 6.)
27. “Jewish Encyclopedia Demonology”. Retrieved 2007-05-03.
28. Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. It is considered one of the pseudepigrapha by Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Churches
29. Moshe Berstein, Angels at the Aqedah: A Study in the Development of a Midrashic Motif, (Dead Sea Discoveries, 7, 2000), 267.
30. García, Martínez Florentino. The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994. Print.
31. Florentino Martinez Garcia, Magic in the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Metamorphosis of Magic: From Late Antiquity to the Early Modern Period, compliers Jan Bremmer and Jan R. Veenstra (Leuven: Peeters, 2003), 13–23.
32. Loren Stuckenbruck, The Book of Tobit and the Problem of ‘Magic’ (Jüdische Schriften in ihrem Antik-jüdischen und Urchristlichen Kontext. 2002), 258–269.
33. Loren Stuckenbruck, The Book of Tobit and the Problem of ‘Magic’ (Jdische Schriften In Ihrem Antik-jdischen Und Urchristlichen Kontext. 2002), 258–269.
34. “Demon” in Britannica Concise Encyclopedia,
35. Dead Sea Scrolls 1QS III 20–25
36. Dale Basil Martin, “When did Angels Become Demons?” Journal of Biblical Literature (2010): 657–677.
37. Jubilees 10:7–9
38. SN Chiu, “Historical, Religious, and Medical Perspective of Possession Phonomenon” in Hong Kong Journal of Psychiatry, (East Asian Archives of Psychiatry, 2000).
39. Hanneken Henoch,, T. R. (2006). ANGELS AND DEMONS IN THE BOOK OF JUBILEES AND CONTEMPORARY APOCALYPSES. pp. 11–25.
40. VanderKam, James C. (1999). THE ANGEL STORY IN THE BOOK OF JUBILEES IN: Pseudepigraphic Perspectives : The Apocrypha And Pseudepigrapha In Light Of The Dead Sea Scrolls. pp. 151–170.
41. Vermes, Geza (2011). The complete Dead Sea scrolls in English. London: Penguin. p. 375.
42. Author=Frey, J. Title=DIFFERENT PATTERNS OF DUALISTIC THOUGHT IN THE QUMRAN LIBRARY IN: Legal Texts And Legal Issues, Year=1984, p. 287
43. Author=Nickelsburg, George. Title=”Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishna.” N.d. Digital file.
44. Author=Frey, J. Title=DIFFERENT PATTERNS OF DUALISTIC THOUGHT IN THE QUMRAN LIBRARY IN: Legal Texts And Legal Issues, Year=1984, p. 278
45. Author=Nickelsburg, George. Title=”Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishna.” N.d. Digital file, p. 147.
46. Augustine of Hippo. “Of the Opinion of the Platonists, that the Souls of Men Become Demons When Disembodied”. City of God, ch. 11.
47. “Angels and Demons – Facts not Fiction”. fathercorapi.com. Archived from the original on 2004-04-05.
48. A.E. Waite, The Book of Black Magic, (Weiser Books, 2004).
49. The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca – page 95, Rosemary Guiley – 2008
50. Smith, Peter (2008). An Introduction to the Baha’i Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-521-86251-6.
• Freud, Sigmund (1950). Totem and Taboo:Some Points of Agreement between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics. trans. Strachey. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-00143-3.
• Wundt, W. (1906). Mythus und Religion, Teil II (Völkerpsychologie, Band II). Leipzig.
• Castaneda, Carlos (1998). The Active Side of Infinity. HarperCollins NY ISBN 978-0-06-019220-4
• Oppenheimer, Paul (1996). Evil and the Demonic: A New Theory of Monstrous Behavior. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-6193-9.
• Baglio, Matt (2009). The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist. Doubleday Religion. ISBN 0385522703.
• Amorth, Fr. Gabriele (1999). An Exorcist Tells His Story. Ignatius Press. ISBN 0898707102.
Look up δαίμων in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Look up demon in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
• Catechism of the Catholic Church: Hyperlinked references to demons in the online Catechism of the Catholic Church
• Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Demonology
• Profile of William Bradshaw, American demonologist Riverfront Times, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. August 2008.
• Supernatural legends
• Abrahamic mythology
• Christian mythology
• Religious terminology
• Deities, spirits, and mythic beings
1 Science and technology
• 2 Communications
• 3 Business
• 4 Sociology, politics and law
• 5 Other uses
• 6 See also
Science and technology
• Biodiversity, degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem
o Species diversity, the effective number of species represented in a data set
o Genetic diversity, the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a
• Nucleotide diversity, the measure the degree o polymorphism within a population
o Phylogenetic diversity, a measure of biodiversity which incorporates phylogenetic difference between species
o Ecosystem diversity, the diversity of a place at the level of ecosystems
o Crop diversity, the variance in genetic and phenotypic characteristics of plants used in agriculture
o Functional diversity (ecology), the elements of biodiversity that influence how ecosystems function; see diversity-function debate
• Diversity index, a statistic to assess the diversity of a population
• Diversity University, a virtual reality system for educational
• Diversity factor, a concept in electrical engineering
• Functional diversity (geography), a term in geography
• Diversity scheme, a method for improving reliability of a message signal by using multiple communications channels
o Antenna diversity or space diversity, a method of wireless communication that use two or more antennas to improve reliability
o Transmit diversity, wireless communication using signals originating from two or more independent sources
o Cooperative diversity, a multiple antenna technique for improving or maximising total network channel capacities
o Diversity combining, the combining of multiple received signals into a single improved signal
o Diversity gain, the increase in signal-to-interference ratio due to a diversity scheme
• Time diversity, a technique used in digital communication systems
• Site diversity, multiple receivers for satellite communication
• Diversity (business), a business tactic which encourages diversity to better serve diverse customers
• Diversity marketing, marketing communication targeting diverse customers
• Supplier diversity, the use of diverse suppliers
Sociology, politics and law
• Multiculturalism, or ethnic diversity, the promotion of multiple ethnic cultures
• Cultural diversity, the respect of different cultures and interculturality
• Evaluative diversity, or moral diversity, the interchange of contrasting approaches to decision-making
• Functional diversity (disability), an alternative term for “special needs,” “disability,” “impairment” or “handicap”
• Neurodiversity, a movement in support of civil rights of people with atypical neurological characteristics
• Diversity training, the process of educating people to function in a diverse environment
• Diversity (politics), the political and social policy of encouraging tolerance for people of different backgrounds
• Diversity jurisdiction, a concept under which U.S. federal courts can hear suits between parties from different states
• Diversity Immigrant Visa or Green Card Lottery, a United States immigration program
• Diversity (dance troupe), a London, English dance troupe
• Diversity (album), a 2010 reggae album by Gentleman
• Diversity FM, a radio station in Lancaster, England
• Diversify BPO, a Filipino business process outsourcing company
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Prayers)
For other uses, see Prayer (disambiguation).
Mary Magdalene by Ary Scheffer (1795–1858).
Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with a deity, an object of worship, or a spiritual entity through deliberate communication. Prayer can be a form of religious practice, may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of a hymn, incantation, formal creed, or a spontaneous utterance in the praying person. There are different forms of prayer such as petitionary prayer, prayers of supplication, thanksgiving, and worship/praise. Prayer may be directed towards a deity, spirit, deceased person, or lofty idea, for the purpose of worshipping, requesting guidance, requesting assistance, confessing sins or to express one’s thoughts and emotions. Thus, people pray for many reasons such as personal benefit or for the sake of others.
Most major religions involve prayer in one way or another. Some ritualize the act of prayer, requiring a strict sequence of actions or placing a restriction on who is permitted to pray, while others teach that prayer may be practiced spontaneously by anyone at any time.
Scientific studies regarding the use of prayer have mostly concentrated on its effect on the healing of sick or injured people. Meta-studies of the studies in this field have been performed showing evidence only for no effect or a potentially small effect. For instance, a 2006 meta analysis on 14 studies concluded that there is “no discernable effect” while a 2007 systemic review of intercessory prayer reported inconclusive results, noting that 7 of 17 studies had “small, but significant, effect sizes” but the review noted that the most methodologically rigorous studies failed to produce significant findings. Some studies have indicated increased medical complications in groups receiving prayer over those without. The efficacy of petition in prayer for physical healing to a deity has been evaluated in numerous other studies, with contradictory results. There has been some criticism of the way the studies were conducted.
• 1 Forms of prayer
• 2 The act of worship
• 3 Criticism
• 4 Pre-Christian Europe
o 4.1 Etruscan, Greek, and Roman paganism
o 4.2 Germanic paganism
• 5 Abrahamic religions
o 5.1 Bible
o 5.2 Judaism
• 5.2.1 Rationalist approach to prayer
• 5.2.2 Educational approach to prayer
• 5.2.3 Kabbalistic approach to prayer
o 5.3 Christianity
• 5.3.1 Mormonism
• 5.3.2 Pentecostalism
• 5.3.3 Christian Science
• 5.3.4 Prevalence of prayer for health
o 5.4 Islam
o 5.5 Bahá’í
• 6 Eastern religions
o 6.1 Buddhism
o 6.2 Hinduism
o 6.3 Jainism
o 6.4 Shinto
o 6.5 Sikhism
o 6.6 Taoism
• 7 Other religions
o 7.1 Wicca
o 7.2 Raelism
o 7.3 Eckankar
• 8 Animism
o 8.1 Americas
o 8.2 Australia
• 9 Neopaganism
• 10 Theurgy and Western esotericism
o 10.1 Thelema
• 11 Approaches to prayer
o 11.1 Direct petitions to God
o 11.2 Educational approach
o 11.3 Rationalist approach
o 11.4 Experiential approach
• 11.4.1 Origins of an idea of Prayer as “Experiential”
• 11.4.2 General Criticism arising from the concept of “Experiential Prayer”
o 11.5 Transformative approach
• 12 Prayer groups
• 13 Prayer requests
• 14 Prayer healing
o 14.1 Efficacy of prayer healing
• 15 See also
• 16 Notes
• 17 References and footnotes
• 18 External links
Forms of prayer
Christians at prayer
Muslim men prostrating during prayer in a mosque.
The act of prayer is attested in written sources as early as 5000 years ago. Some anthropologists, such as Sir Edward Burnett Tylor and Sir James George Frazer, believed that the earliest intelligent modern humans practiced something that we would recognize today as prayer.
Various spiritual traditions offer a wide variety of devotional acts. There are morning and evening prayers, graces said over meals, and reverent physical gestures. Some Christians bow their heads and fold their hands. Some Native Americans regard dancing as a form of prayer. Some Sufis whirl. Hindus chant mantras. Jewish prayer may involve swaying back and forth and bowing. Muslims practice salat (kneeling and prostration) in their prayers. Quakers keep silent. Some pray according to standardized rituals and liturgies, while others prefer extemporaneous prayers. Still others combine the two.
Friedrich Heiler is often cited in Christian circles for his systematic Typology of Prayer which lists six types of prayer: primitive, ritual, Greek cultural, philosophical, mystical, and prophetic.
The act of worship
See also: Worship
Prayer has many different forms. Prayer may be done privately and individually, or it may be done corporately in the presence of fellow believers. Prayer can be incorporated into a daily “thought life”, in which one is in constant communication with a god. Some people pray throughout all that is happening during the day and seek guidance as the day progresses. This is actually regarded as a requirement in several Christian denominations, although enforcement is not possible nor desirable. There can be many different answers to prayer, just as there are many ways to interpret an answer to a question, if there in fact comes an answer. Some may experience audible, physical, or mental epiphanies. If indeed an answer comes, the time and place it comes is considered random. Some outward acts that sometimes accompany prayer are: anointing with oil; ringing a bell; burning incense or paper; lighting a candle or candles; facing a specific direction (i.e. towards Mecca or the East); making the sign of the cross. One less noticeable act related to prayer is fasting.
A variety of body postures may be assumed, often with specific meaning (mainly respect or adoration) associated with them: standing; sitting; kneeling; prostrate on the floor; eyes opened; eyes closed; hands folded or clasped; hands upraised; holding hands with others; a laying on of hands and others. Prayers may be recited from memory, read from a book of prayers, or composed spontaneously as they are prayed. They may be said, chanted, or sung. They may be with musical accompaniment or not. There may be a time of outward silence while prayers are offered mentally. Often, there are prayers to fit specific occasions, such as the blessing of a meal, the birth or death of a loved one, other significant events in the life of a believer, or days of the year that have special religious significance. Details corresponding to specific traditions are outlined below.
One criticism of prayer is that if the petitioner is praying to a god which is omnipotent and all-knowing, it would be presumptuous for him or her to believe they understand the grand scheme of things sufficiently to pray for what is best. For example, Christopher Hitchens interprets Ambrose Bierce’s definition of prayer by stating that “the man who prays is the one who thinks that god has arranged matters all wrong, but who also thinks that he can instruct god how to put them right.”
Another criticism is that prayer may relieve a person of the need to take active measures to address issues around them. Daniel Dennett states:
Surely it does the world no harm if those who can honestly do so pray for me! No, I’m not at all sure about that. For one thing, if they really wanted to do something useful, they could devote their prayer time and energy to some pressing project that they can do something about.
This potential drawback manifests in extreme forms in such cases as Christian Scientists who rely on prayers instead of seeking medical treatment for family members for easily curable conditions which later result in death.
Another challenge is that the intent for prayer may be inconsistent between petitioners: for example, one might be striving for an actual intervention while another might use prayer to feel better. In this light, Hitchens questions religious leaders who accept monies along with a prayer: “The leaders of the church know perfectly well that prayer is not intended to gratify the devout. So that, every time they accept a donation in return for some petition, they are accepting a gross negation of their faith: a faith that depends on the passive acceptance of the devout and not on their making demands for betterment.”
Etruscan, Greek, and Roman paganism
In the pre-Christian religions of Greeks and Romans (Ancient Greek religion, Roman religion), ceremonial prayer was highly formulaic and ritualized. The Iguvine Tables contain a supplication that can be translated, “If anything was said improperly, if anything was done improperly, let it be as if it were done correctly.”
The formalism and formulaic nature of these prayers led them to be written down in language that may have only been partially understood by the writer, and our texts of these prayers may in fact be garbled. Prayers in Etruscan were used in the Roman world by augurs and other oracles long after Etruscan became a dead language. The Carmen Arvale and the Carmen Saliare are two specimens of partially preserved prayers that seem to have been unintelligible to their scribes, and whose language is full of archaisms and difficult passages.
Roman prayers and sacrifices were often envisioned as legal bargains between deity and worshipper. The Roman principle was expressed as do ut des: “I give, so that you may give.” Cato the Elder’s treatise on agriculture contains many examples of preserved traditional prayers; in one, a farmer addresses the unknown deity of a possibly sacred grove, and sacrifices a pig in order to placate the god or goddess of the place and beseech his or her permission to cut down some trees from the grove.
The valkyrie Sigrdrífa says a pagan Norse prayer in Sigrdrífumál. Illustration by Arthur Rackham.
An amount of accounts of prayers to the gods in Germanic paganism survived the process of Christianization, though only a single prayer has survived without the interjection of Christian references. This prayer is recorded in stanzas 2 and 3 of the poem Sigrdrífumál, compiled in the 13th century Poetic Edda from earlier traditional sources, where the valkyrie Sigrdrífa prays to the gods and the earth after being woken by the hero Sigurd.
A prayer to the bigger god Odin is mentioned in chapter 2 of the Völsunga saga where King Rerir prays for a child. His prayer is answered by Frigg, wife of Odin, who sends him an apple, which is dropped on his lap by Frigg’s servant in the form of a crow while Rerir is sitting on a mound. Rerir’s wife eats the apple and is then pregnant with the hero Völsung. In stanza 9 of the poem Oddrúnargrátr, a prayer is made to “kind wights, Frigg and Freyja, and many gods,” although since the poem is often considered one of the youngest poems in the Poetic Edda, the passage has been the matter of some debate.
In chapter 21 of Jómsvíkinga saga, wishing to turn the tide of the Battle of Hjörungavágr, Haakon Sigurdsson eventually finds his prayers answered by the goddesses Þorgerðr Hölgabrúðr and Irpa (the first of the two described as Haakon’s patron goddess) who appear in the battle, kill many of the opposing fleet, and cause the remnants of their forces to flee. However, this depiction of a pagan prayer has been criticized as inaccurate due to the description of Haakon dropping to his knees.
The 11th-century manuscript for the Anglo-Saxon charm Æcerbot presents what is thought to be an originally pagan prayer for the fertility of the speaker’s crops and land, though Christianization is apparent throughout the charm. The 8th-century Wessobrunn Prayer has been proposed as a Christianized pagan prayer and compared to the pagan Völuspá and the Merseburg Incantations, the latter recorded in the 9th or 10th century but of much older traditional origins.
In the common Bible of the Abrahamic religions, various forms of prayer appear; the most common forms being petition, thanksgiving, and worship. The longest book in the Bible is the Book of Psalms, 150 religious songs which are often regarded as prayers. Other well-known Biblical prayers include the Song of Moses (Exodus 15:1–18), the Song of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1–10), and the Magnificat (Luke 1:46–55). The most recognized prayers in the Christian Bible are the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13; Luke 11:2–4) and Hail Mary (Luke 1:28; Luke 1:42).
See also: Tanakh, New Testament, Prayer in the Hebrew Bible and Prayer in the New Testament
Main article: Jewish prayer
Captain Samuel Cass, a rabbi, conducting the first prayer service celebrated on German territory by Jewish personnel of the 1st Canadian Army near Cleve, Germany, 18 March 1945.
Observant Jews pray three times a day, Shacharit, Mincha, and Arvit with lengthier prayers on special days, such as the Shabbat and Jewish holidays including Musaf and the reading of the Torah. The siddur is the prayerbook used by Jews all over the world, containing a set order of daily prayers. Jewish prayer is usually described as having two aspects: kavanah (intention) and keva (the ritualistic, structured elements).
The most important Jewish prayers are the Shema Yisrael (“Hear O Israel”) and the Amidah (“the standing prayer”).
Communal prayer is preferred over solitary prayer, and a quorum of 10 adult males (a minyan) is considered by Orthodox Judaism a prerequisite for several communal prayers.
Orthodox Jewish women praying in Jerusalem’s Western Wall tunnel
There are also many other ritualistic prayers a Jew performs during their day, such as washing before eating bread, washing after one wakes up in the morning, and doing grace after meals.
Rationalist approach to prayer
In this view, ultimate goal of prayer is to help train a person to focus on divinity through philosophy and intellectual contemplation. This approach was taken by Maimonides and the other medieval rationalists. One example of this approach to prayer is noted by Rabbi Steven Weil, who was appointed the Orthodox Union’s Executive-Vice President in 2009. He notes that the word “prayer” is a derivative of the Latin “precari”, which means “to beg”. The Hebrew equivalent “tefilah”, however, along with its root “pelel” or its reflexive “l’hitpallel”, means the act of self-analysis or self-evaluation. This approach is sometimes described as the person praying having a dialogue or conversation with God.
Educational approach to prayer
In this view, prayer is not a conversation. Rather, it is meant to inculcate certain attitudes in the one who prays, but not to influence. This has been the approach of Rabbenu Bachya, Yehuda Halevy, Joseph Albo, Samson Raphael Hirsch, and Joseph Dov Soloveitchik. This view is expressed by Rabbi Nosson Scherman in the overview to the Artscroll Siddur (p. XIII); note that Scherman goes on to also affirm the Kabbalistic view (see below).
Kabbalistic approach to prayer
Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) uses a series of kavanot, directions of intent, to specify the path the prayer ascends in the dialog with God, to increase its chances of being answered favorably. Kabbalists ascribe a higher meaning to the purpose of prayer, which is no less than affecting the very fabric of reality itself, restructuring and repairing the universe in a real fashion. In this view, every word of every prayer, and indeed, even every letter of every word, has a precise meaning and a precise effect. Prayers thus literally affect the mystical forces of the universe, and repair the fabric of creation.
Among Jews, this approach has been taken by the Chassidei Ashkenaz (German pietists of the Middle-Ages), the Arizal’s Kabbalist tradition, Ramchal, most of Hassidism, the Vilna Gaon, and Jacob Emden.
Main articles: Prayer in Christianity and Christian worship
Orthodox pilgrim praying in front of icon of Saint Mary in Kiev Pechersk Lavra, Ukraine.
18th-century Byzantine-style bronze panagia from Jerusalem, showing the Virgin Mary in the orans prayer posture.
Christian prayers are quite varied. They can be completely spontaneous, or read entirely from a text, like the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. The most common prayer among Christians is the Lord’s Prayer, which according to the gospel accounts (e.g. Matthew 6:9–13) is how Jesus taught his disciples to pray. The Lord’s prayer is a model for prayers of adoration, confession and petition in Christianity.
Christians generally pray to God or to the Father. Some Christians (e.g., Catholics, Orthodox) will also ask the righteous in heaven and “in Christ,” such as Virgin Mary or other saints to intercede by praying on their behalf (intercession of saints). Formulaic closures include “through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, through all the ages of ages,” and “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
It is customary among Protestants to end prayers with “In Jesus’ name, Amen” or “In the name of Christ, Amen.” However, the most commonly used closure in Christianity is simply “Amen” (from a Hebrew adverb used as a statement of affirmation or agreement, usually translated as so be it).
In the Western or Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, probably the most common is the Rosary; In the Eastern Church (the Eastern rites of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church), the Jesus Prayer. The Jesus Prayer is also often repeated as part of the meditative hesychasm practice in Eastern Christianity.
Roman Catholic tradition includes specific prayers and devotions as acts of reparation which do not involve a petition for a living or deceased beneficiary, but aim to repair the sins of others, e.g. for the repair of the sin of blasphemy performed by others.
Other forms of prayer among Catholics would be meditative prayer, contemplative prayer and infused prayer discussed at length by Catholic Saints St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Jesus.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that each human is a child of God and that God loves and knows all needs, However, Mormons believe that God wants all to communicate with Him through prayer and that God will answer their prayers by using direct revelation to them. Members of the Church do not commonly recite prayers that have been composed and written, except the blessing on the sacrament.
In Pentecostal congregations, prayer is often done by speaking in a foreign tongue, a practice now known as glossolalia. Practitioners of Pentecostal glossolalia may claim that the languages they speak in prayer are real foreign languages, and that the ability to speak those languages spontaneously is a gift of the Holy Spirit; however, many people outside the movement have offered alternative views. George Barton Cutten suggested that glossolalia was a sign of mental illness. Felicitas Goodman suggested that tongue speakers were under a form of hypnosis. Others suggest that it is a learned behaviour. Some of these views have allegedly been refuted.
Christian Science teaches that prayer is a spiritualization of thought or an understanding of God and of the nature of the underlying spiritual creation. Adherents believe that this can result in healing, by bringing spiritual reality (the “Kingdom of Heaven” in Biblical terms) into clearer focus in the human scene. The world as it appears to the senses is regarded as a distorted version of the world of spiritual ideas. Prayer can heal the distortion. Christian Scientists believe that prayer does not change the spiritual creation but gives a clearer view of it, and the result appears in the human scene as healing: the human picture adjusts to coincide more nearly with the divine reality.
Christian Scientists do not practice intercessory prayer as it is commonly understood, and they generally avoid combining prayer with medical treatment in the belief that the two practices tend to work against each other. (However, the choice of healing method is regarded as a matter for the individual, and the Christian Science Church exerts no pressure on members to avoid medical treatment if they wish to avail of it as an alternative to Christian Science healing.) Prayer works through love: the recognition of God’s creation as spiritual, intact, and inherently lovable.
Prevalence of prayer for health
Some modalities of alternative medicine employ prayer. A survey released in May 2004 by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health in the United States, found that in 2002, 43% of Americans pray for their own health, 24% pray for others’ health, and 10% participate in a prayer group for their own health.
Main article: Salat and Dua
Muslim men praying in Afghanistan.
Prayer hall of the Great Mosque of Kairouan (also called Mosque of Uqba) which is situated in the city of Kairouan in Tunisia. At the bottom of the central nave of the prayer hall there is a niche (the mihrab) which indicates the direction of the prayer.
Muslims pray a ritualistic prayer called salat in Arabic, facing the Kaaba in Mecca, five times a day. The command to ritual prayer is in the Quran in several chapters. The prophet Muhammed showed each Muslim the true method of offering ritual prayers thus the same method is observed till date. There is the “call for prayer” (adhan), where the muezzin calls for all the followers to stand together for the ritual prayer. The prayer consists of standing, by mentioning ‘Allāhu akbar’ (Allāh is Great) followed by recitation of the first chapter of the Quran. Afterwards the person bends and praises God, then prostrates themself and again praises God. The prayer ends with the following words: “Peace be with you and God’s mercy”. During the prayer, a Muslim cannot talk or do anything else besides praying. Certain Shia sects combine the 5 prayers into 3 times a day, providing several hadith as supporting evidence.
Once the ritual prayer (salat) is complete, one can offer personal prayers or supplications to God for their needs. These are called dua. There are many standard invocations in Arabic to be recited at various times, e.g. for one’s parents, after salat, before eating. Muslims may also say dua in their own words and languages for any issue they wish to communicate with God in the hope that God will answer their prayers.
Main article: Prayer in the Bahá’í Faith
Bahá’u’lláh, the Báb, and `Abdu’l-Bahá have revealed many prayers for general use, and some for specific occasions, including for unity, detachment, spiritual upliftment, and healing among others. Bahá’ís are also required to recite each day one of three obligatory prayers revealed by Bahá’u’lláh. The believers have been enjoined to face in the direction of the Qiblih when reciting their Obligatory Prayer. The longest obligatory prayer may be recited at any time during the day; another, of medium length, is recited once in the morning, once at midday, and once in the evening; and the shortest can be recited anytime between noon and sunset. Bahá’ís also read from and meditate on the scriptures every morning and evening.
In contrast with Western religion, Eastern religion for the most part discards worship and places devotional emphasis on the practice of meditation alongside scriptural study. Consequently, prayer is seen as a form of meditation or an adjunct practice to meditation.
Buddhists praying at Wat Phra Kaew, Thailand.
In certain Buddhist sects, prayer accompanies meditation. Buddhism for the most part sees prayer as a secondary, supportive practice to meditation and scriptural study. Gautama Buddha claimed that human beings possess the capacity and potential to become liberated, or enlightened, through contemplation (Sanskrit: bhāvana and dhyāna), leading to insight. Prayer is seen mainly as a powerful psycho-physical practice that can enhance meditation.
In the earliest Buddhist tradition, the Theravada, and in the later Mahayana tradition of Zen (or Chán), prayer plays only an ancillary role. It is largely a ritual expression of wishes for success in the practice and in helping all beings.
The skillful means (Sanskrit: upāya) of the transfer of merit (Sanskrit: pariṇāmanā) is an evocation and prayer. Moreover, indeterminate buddhas are available for intercession as they reside in awoken-fields (Sanskrit: buddha-kshetra).
The nirmānakāya of an awoken-field is what is generally known and understood as a mandala. The opening and closing of the ring (Sanskrit: maṇḍala) is an active prayer. An active prayer is a mindful activity, an activity in which mindfulness is not just cultivated but is. A common prayer is “May the merit of my practice, adorn Buddhas’ Pure Lands, requite the fourfold kindness from above, and relieve the suffering of the three life-journeys below. Universally wishing sentient beings, Friends, foes, and karmic creditors, all to activate the bodhi mind, and all to be reborn in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.” (願以此功德 莊嚴佛淨土 上報四重恩 下濟三途苦 普願諸眾生 冤親諸債主 悉發菩提心 同生極樂國)
The Generation Stage (Sanskrit: utpatti-krama) of Vajrayana involves prayer elements.
The Tibetan Buddhism tradition emphasizes an instructive and devotional relationship to a guru; this may involve devotional practices known as guru yoga which are congruent with prayer. It also appears that Tibetan Buddhism posits the existence of various deities, but the peak view of the tradition is that the deities or yidam are no more existent or real than the continuity (Sanskrit: santana; refer mindstream) of the practitioner, environment and activity. But how practitioners engage yidam or tutelary deities will depend upon the level or more appropriately yana at which they are practicing. At one level, one may pray to a deity for protection or assistance, taking a more subordinate role. At another level, one may invoke the deity, on a more equal footing. And at a higher level one may deliberately cultivate the idea that one has become the deity, whilst remaining aware that its ultimate nature is śūnyatā. The views of the more esoteric yana are impenetrable for those without direct experience and empowerment.
Pure Land Buddhism emphasizes the recitation by devotees of prayer-like mantras, a practice often called Nembutsu.:190 On one level it is said that reciting these mantras can ensure rebirth into a Sambhogakāya land (Sanskrit: buddha-kshetra) after bodily dissolution, a sheer ball spontaneously co-emergent to a buddha’s enlightened intention. According to Shinran, the founder of the Pure Land Buddhism tradition that is most prevalent in the US,:193 “for the long haul nothing is as efficacious as the Nembutsu.”:197 On another, the practice is a form of meditation aimed at achieving realization.
But beyond all these practices the Buddha emphasized the primacy of individual practice and experience. He said that supplication to gods or deities was not necessary. Nevertheless, today many lay people in East Asian countries pray to the Buddha in ways that resemble Western prayer—asking for intervention and offering devotion.
Main article: Prayer in Hinduism
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Shakta Hindus in Dhaka, Bangladesh, pray to the goddess during Durga Puja, October 2003.
Hinduism has incorporated many kinds of prayer (Sanskrit: prārthanā), from fire-based rituals to philosophical musings. While chanting involves ‘by dictum’ recitation of timeless verses or verses with timings and notations, dhyanam involves deep meditation (however short or long) on the preferred deity/God. Again the object to which prayers are offered could be a persons referred as devtas, trinity or incarnation of either devtas or trinity or simply plain formless meditation as practiced by the ancient sages.
All of these are directed to fulfilling personal needs or deep spiritual enlightenment. Ritual invocation was part and parcel of the Vedic religion and as such permeated their sacred texts. Indeed, the highest sacred texts of the Hindus, the Vedas, are a large collection of mantras and prayer rituals. Classical Hinduism came to focus on extolling a single supreme force, Brahman, that is made manifest in several lower forms as the familiar gods of the Hindu pantheon[dubious – discuss]. Hindus in India have numerous devotional movements.
Hindus may pray to the highest absolute God Brahman, or more commonly to Its three manifestations namely creator god called Brahma, preserver god called Vishnu and destroyer god (so that the creation cycle can start afresh) Shiva, and at the next level to Vishnu’s avatars (earthly appearances) Rama and Krishna or to many other male or female deities. Typically, Hindus pray with their hands (the palms) joined together in pranam. The hand gesture is similar to the popular Indian greeting namaste.
Although Jainism believes that no spirit or divine being can assist them on their path, these figures do hold some influence on believers, and on special occasions, Jains will pray for right knowledge to the twenty-four Tirthankaras or sometimes to deities such as Ganesha or protectors such as the Yakshas and Yakshinis.
Main articles: Shinto and Ema (Shintō)
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A man praying at a Japanese Shinto shrine.
The practices involved in Shinto prayer are heavily influenced by Buddhism; Japanese Buddhism has also been strongly influenced by Shinto in turn. The most common and basic form of devotion involves throwing a coin, or several, into a collection box, ringing a bell, clapping one’s hands, and contemplating one’s wish or prayer silently. The bell and hand clapping are meant to wake up or attract the attention of the kami of the shrine, so that one’s prayer may be heard.
Shinto prayers quite frequently consist of wishes or favors asked of the kami, rather than lengthy praises or devotions. Unlike in certain other faiths, it is not considered irregular or inappropriate to ask favors of the kami in this way, and indeed many shrines are associated with particular favors, such as success on exams.
In addition, one may write one’s wish on a small wooden tablet, called an ema, and leave it hanging at the shrine, where the kami can read it. If the wish is granted, one may return to the shrine to leave another ema as an act of thanksgiving.
A Sikh holy man, doing Sikh Prayer (Ardās)
The Ardās (Punjabi: ਅਰਦਾਸ) is a Sikh prayer that is done before performing or after undertaking any significant task; after reciting the daily Banis (prayers); or completion of a service like the Paath (scripture reading/recitation), kirtan (hymn-singing) program or any other religious program. In Sikhism, these prayers are also said before and after eating. The prayer is a plea to God to support and help the devotee with whatever he or she is about to undertake or has done.
The Ardas is usually always done standing up with folded hands. The beginning of the Ardas is strictly set by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. When it comes to conclusion of this prayer, the devotee uses words like “Waheguru please bless me in the task that I am about to undertake” when starting a new task or “Akal Purakh, having completed the hymn-singing, we ask for your continued blessings so that we can continue with your memory and remember you at all times”, etc. The word “Ardās” is derived from Persian word ‘Arazdashat’, meaning a request, supplication, prayer, petition or an address to a superior authority.
Ardās is a unique prayer based on the fact that it is one of the few well-known prayers in the Sikh religion that was not written in its entirety by the Gurus. The Ardās cannot be found within the pages of the Guru Granth Sahib because it is a continually changing devotional text that has evolved over time in order for it to encompass the feats, accomplishments, and feelings of all generations of Sikhs within its lines. Taking the various derivation of the word Ardās into account, the basic purpose of this prayer is an appeal to Waheguru for his protection and care, as well as being a plea for the welfare and prosperity of all mankind, and a means for the Sikhs to thank Waheguru for all that he has done.
Taoism in its earliest form, before being influenced by the arrival of Buddhism in China, was a philosophy rather than a religion. In Taoism there is no deity to pray to, there is only the Tao. In practice Taoists seek to connect with, become one with and embody the Tao in everyday life. This often involves meditative practices including martial, healing and other arts such as Fulu, which is the drawing and writing of supernatural talismans.
Taoism is often blended with other practices such as ancestor worship, which can give rise to prayer directed at the ancestors or other deceased historical figures.
Wiccan prayers can include meditation, rituals and incantations. Prayers are seen as a form of communication with the God and Goddess. This may include prayers for esbat and sabbat celebrations, for dinner, for pre-dawn times or for your own or others safety, for healing or for the dead.
In Raelism rites and practises vary from initiation ceremonies, to sensual meditation. An initiation ceremony usually involves a Raelian putting water on the forehead of a new member. Such ceremonies are performed on certain special days on the Raelian calendar. Sensual meditation techniques include breathing exercises and various forms of erotic meditation.
In Eckankar, one of the basic forms of prayer includes singing the word “HU” which is pronounced as “hue”, a holy name of God. This can be done with eyes closed or open, aloud or silently. Practitioners may experience the divine ECK or Holy Spirit.
Main articles: Animism and Shamanism
Although prayer in its literal sense is not used in animism, communication with the spirit world is vital to the animist way of life. This is usually accomplished through a shaman who, through a trance, gains access to the spirit world and then shows the spirits’ thoughts to the people. Other ways to receive messages from the spirits include using astrology or contemplating fortune tellers and healers. The native religions in some parts of North, East and South Asia, America, Africa, and Oceania are often animistic.
Main article: Aztec religion
The Aztec religion was not strictly animist. It had an ever increasing pantheon of deities, and the shamans performed ritual prayer to these deities in their respective temples. These shamans made petitions to the proper deities in exchange for a sacrifice offering: food, flowers, effigies, and animals, usually quail. But the larger the thing required from the God the larger the sacrifice had to be, and for the most important rites one would offer one’s own blood; by cutting his ears, arms, tongue, thighs, chest or genitals, and often a human life; either warrior, slave, or even self-sacrifice.
The Pueblo Indians are known to have used prayer sticks, that is, sticks with feathers attached as supplicatory offerings. The Hopi Indians used prayer sticks as well, but they attached to it a small bag of sacred meal.
Main articles: Australian Aboriginal mythology and Dreamtime
In Australia, prayers to the “Great Wit” are performed by the “clever wapmen” and “clever women”, or kadji. These Aboriginal shamans use maban or mabain, the material that is believed to give them their purported magical powers.
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Adherents to forms of modern Neopaganism pray to various gods. The most commonly worshiped and prayed to gods are those of Pre-Christian Europe, such as Celtic, Norse, or Graeco-Roman gods. Prayer can vary from sect to sect, and with some (such as Wicca) prayer may also be associated with ritual magick.
Theurgy and Western esotericism
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Practitioners of theurgy and western esotericism may practice a form of ritual which utilizes both pre-sanctioned prayers and names of God, and prayers “from the heart” that, when combined, allows the participant to ascend spiritually, and in some instances, induce a trance in which God or other spiritual beings may be realized. Very similar to hermetic qabala, and orthodox qabala, it is believed that prayer can influence both the physical and non-physical worlds. The use of ritualistic signs and names are believed to be archetypes in which the subconscious may take form as the Inner God, or another spiritual being, and the “prayer from the heart” to be that spiritual force speaking through the participant.
Many Thelemites recite “Resh” (Liber Resh vel Helios, or “Liber CC”) facing the direction of the ever present sun as it rises in the East, triumphs in the South, sets in the West, and “hides” in the North. Photo shows a close-up of the Stele of Revealing .
In Thelema (a religion or system of philosophy that includes both theist as well as atheist practitioners) adherents share a number of practices that are forms of individual prayer, including basic yoga; (asana and pranayama); various forms of ritual magick; rituals of one’s own devising (often based upon a syncretism of religions, or Western Esotericism, such as the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and Star Ruby); and performance of Liber Resh vel Helios (aka Liber 200), which consists of four daily adorations to the sun (often consisting of 4 hand/body positions and recitation of a memorized song, normally spoken, addressing different godforms identified with the sun). While there is no dogma within Thelema that expresses the purpose behind any individual aspirant who chooses to perform “Resh”, it may be noted that the practice of “Resh” is not a simple petition toward the sun, nor a form of “worshiping” the celestial body that we call the Sun, but instead uses the positioning of that source of light, which enables life on our planet, as well as uses mythological images of that solar force, so that the individual can perform the prayer, possibly furthering a self-identification with the sun, so “that repeated application of the Liber Resh adorations expands the consciousness of the individual by compelling him to take a different perspective, by inducing him to ‘look at things from the point of view of the Sun'
Approaches to prayer
Praying Hands by Albrecht Dürer showing the hand position of a medieval commendation ceremony.
Direct petitions to God
From Biblical times to today, the most common form of prayer is to directly appeal to God to grant one’s requests. This in many ways is the simplest form of prayer. Some have termed this the social approach to prayer. In this view, a person directly enters into God’s rest, and asks for their needs to be fulfilled. God listens to the prayer, and may so or not choose to answer in the way one asks of him. This is the primary approach to prayer found in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, most of the Church writings, and in rabbinic literature such as the Talmud.
In this view, prayer is not a conversation. Rather, it is meant to inculcate certain attitudes in the one who prays, but not to influence. Among Jews, this has been the approach of Rabbenu Bachya, Rabbi Yehuda Halevi, Joseph Albo, Samson Raphael Hirsch, and Joseph B. Soloveitchik. This view is expressed by Rabbi Nosson Scherman in the overview to the Artscroll Siddur (p. XIII).
Among Christian theologians, E.M. Bounds stated the educational purpose of prayer in every chapter of his book, The Necessity of Prayer. Prayer books such as the Book of Common Prayer are both a result of this approach and an exhortation to keep it.
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In this view, the ultimate goal of prayer is to help train a person to focus on divinity through philosophy and intellectual contemplation. This approach was taken by the Jewish scholar and philosopher Maimonides and the other medieval rationalists; it became popular in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic intellectual circles, but never became the most popular understanding of prayer among the laity in any of these faiths. In all three of these faiths today, a significant minority of people still hold to this approach.
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In this approach, the purpose of prayer is to enable the person praying to gain a direct experience of the recipient of the prayer (or as close to direct as a specific theology permits). This approach is very significant in Christianity and widespread in Judaism (although less popular theologically). In Eastern Orthodoxy, this approach is known as hesychasm. It is also widespread in Sufi Islam, and in some forms of mysticism.
It has some similarities with the rationalist approach, since it can also involve contemplation, although the contemplation is not generally viewed as being as rational or intellectual. Christian and Roman Catholic traditions also include an experiential approach to prayer within the practice of Lectio Divina, historically a Benedictine practice in which scripture is read aloud; actively meditated upon using the intellect (but not analysis) possibly using the mind to place the listener within a relationship or dialogue with the text that was read; a prayer spoken; and finally concludes with contemplation, a more passive experiential approach than the previous meditation, which is characterized by the Catechism of the Catholic Church as an experience of consciously being attentive, and having a silent love toward God, which the individual experiences without demanding to receive an experience.
The experience of God within Christian mysticism has been contrasted with the concept of experiential religion or mystical experience because of a long history or authors living and writing about experience with the divine in a manner that identifies God as unknowable and ineffable, the language of such ideas could be characterized paradoxically as “experiential”, as well as without the phenomena of experience.
Origins of an idea of Prayer as “Experiential”
The notion of “religious experience” can be traced back to William James, who used a term called “religious experience” in his book, The Varieties of Religious Experience. The origins of the use of this term can be dated further back.
In the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, several historical figures put forth very influential views that religion and its beliefs can be grounded in experience itself. While Kant held that moral experience justified religious beliefs, John Wesley in addition to stressing individual moral exertion thought that the religious experiences in the Methodist movement (paralleling the Romantic Movement) were foundational to religious commitment as a way of life.
Wayne Proudfoot traces the roots of the notion of “religious experience” to the German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1834), who argued that religion is based on a feeling of the infinite. The notion of “religious experience” was used by Schleiermacher and Albert Ritschl to defend religion against the growing scientific and secular critique, and defend the view that human (moral and religious) experience justifies religious beliefs.
Such religious empiricism would be later seen as highly problematic and was — during the period in-between world wars — famously rejected by Karl Barth. In the 20th century, religious as well as moral experience as justification for religious beliefs still holds sway. Some influential modern scholars holding this liberal theological view are Charles Raven and the Oxford physicist/theologian Charles Coulson.
The notion of “religious experience” was adopted by many scholars of religion, of which William James was the most influential.[note 1]
General Criticism arising from the concept of “Experiential Prayer”
The notion of “experience” has been criticised. Robert Sharf points out that “experience” is a typical Western term, which has found its way into Asian religiosity via western influences.[note 2] The notion of “experience” introduces a false notion of duality between “experiencer” and “experienced”, whereas the essence of kensho is the realisation of the “non-duality” of observer and observed. “Pure experience” does not exist; all experience is mediated by intellectual and cognitive activity. The specific teachings and practices of a specific tradition may even determine what “experience” someone has, which means that this “experience” is not the proof of the teaching, but a result of the teaching. A pure consciousness without concepts, reached by “cleaning the doors of perception”,[note 3] would be an overwhelming chaos of sensory input without coherence.
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In this approach, prayer enables an existential transformation in the person praying. The act of praying elicits a new kind of understanding which wasn’t apparent before praying. The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wrote that “the function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
A prayer group is a group of people that meet to pray together. These groups, formed mostly within Christian congregations but occasionally among Muslim groups as well, gather outside of the congregation’s regular worship service to pray for perceived needs, sometimes within the congregation, sometimes within their religious group at large. However, these groups often pray also for the world around them, including people who do not share their beliefs.
Many prayer group meetings are held according to a regular schedule, usually once a week. However, extraordinary events, such as the September 11 attacks or major disasters spawned a number of improvised prayer group meetings. Prayer groups do not need to meet in person, and there are a vast array of single-purpose prayer groups in the world.
A prayer request is a religious practice in which personal requests for others, including organized prayer groups, to pray on behalf of the requester for any specific reasons. Requests are often collected in order to act upon them either as an organized prayer gathering or as individuals.
Main article: Faith healing
Prayer is often used as a means of faith healing in an attempt to use religious or spiritual means to prevent illness, cure disease, or improve health. Some attempt to heal by prayer, mental practices, spiritual insights, or other techniques, claiming they can summon divine or supernatural intervention on behalf of the ill. Others advocate that ill people may achieve healing through prayer performed by themselves. According to the varied beliefs of those who practice it, faith healing may be said to afford gradual relief from pain or sickness or to bring about a sudden “miracle cure”, and it may be used in place of, or in tandem with, conventional medical techniques for alleviating or curing diseases. Faith healing has been criticized on the grounds that those who use it may delay seeking potentially curative conventional medical care. This is particularly problematic when parents use faith healing techniques on children.
Efficacy of prayer healing
Main article: Efficacy of prayer
A praying man by Vittore Carpaccio
In 1872, Francis Galton conducted a famous statistical experiment to determine whether prayer had a physical effect on the external environment. Galton hypothesized that if prayer was effective, members of the British Royal family would live longer, given that thousands prayed for their wellbeing every Sunday. He therefore compared longevity in the British Royal family with that of the general population, and found no difference. While the experiment was probably intended to satirize, and suffered from a number of confounders, it set the precedent for a number of different studies, the results of which are contradictory.
Two studies claimed that patients who are being prayed for recover more quickly or more frequently although critics have claimed that the methodology of such studies are flawed, and the perceived effect disappears when controls are tightened. One such study, with a double-blind design and about 500 subjects per group, was published in 1988; it suggested that intercessory prayer by born again Christians had a statistically significant positive effect on a coronary care unit population. Critics contend that there were severe methodological problems with this study. Another such study was reported by Harris et al. Critics also claim that the 1988 study was not fully double-blinded, and that in the Harris study, patients actually had a longer hospital stay in the prayer group, if one discounts the patients in both groups who left before prayers began, although the Harris study did demonstrate the prayed for patients on average received lower course scores (indicating better recovery).
One of the largest randomized, blind clinical trials was a remote retroactive intercessory prayer study conducted in Israel by Leibovici. This study used 3393 patient records from 1990–96, and blindly assigned some of these to an intercessory prayer group. The prayer group had shorter hospital stays and duration of fever.
Several studies of prayer effectiveness have yielded null results. A 2001 double-blind study of the Mayo Clinic found no significant difference in the recovery rates between people who were (unbeknownst to them) assigned to a group that prayed for them and those who were not. Similarly, the MANTRA study conducted by Duke University found no differences in outcome of cardiac procedures as a result of prayer. In another similar study published in the American Heart Journal in 2006, Christian intercessory prayer when reading a scripted prayer was found to have no effect on the recovery of heart surgery patients; however, the study found patients who had knowledge of receiving prayer had slightly higher instances of complications than those who did not know if they were being prayed for or those who did not receive prayer. Another 2006 study suggested that prayer actually had a significant negative effect on the recovery of cardiac bypass patients, resulting in more frequent deaths and slower recovery time for those patient who received prayers.
Many believe that prayer can aid in recovery, not due to divine influence but due to psychological and physical benefits. It has also been suggested that if a person knows that he or she is being prayed for it can be uplifting and increase morale, thus aiding recovery. (See Subject-expectancy effect.) Many studies have suggested that prayer can reduce physical stress, regardless of the god or gods a person prays to, and this may be true for many worldly reasons. According to a study by Centra State Hospital, “the psychological benefits of prayer may help reduce stress and anxiety, promote a more positive outlook, and strengthen the will to live.” Other practices such as yoga, t’ai chi, and meditation may also have a positive impact on physical and psychological health.
Others feel that the concept of conducting prayer experiments reflects a misunderstanding of the purpose of prayer. The previously mentioned American Heart Journal study published in the American Heart Journal indicated that some of the intercessors who took part in it complained about the scripted nature of the prayers that were imposed to them, saying that this is not the way they usually conduct prayer:
Prior to the start of this study, intercessors reported that they usually receive information about the patient’s age, gender and progress reports on their medical condition; converse with family members or the patient (not by fax from a third party); use individualized prayers of their own choosing; and pray for a variable time period based on patient or family request.
One scientific movement attempts to track the physical effects of prayer through neuroscience. Leaders in this movement include Andrew Newberg, an Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. In Newberg’s brain scans, monks, priests, nuns and gurus alike have exceptionally focused attention and compassion sites. This is a result of the frontal lobe of the brain’s engagement (Newberg, 2009).
Newburg believes that anybody can connect to the supernatural with practice. Those without religious affiliations benefit from the connection to the metaphysical as well. Newberg also states that further evidence towards humans’ need for metaphysical relationships is that as science had increased spirituality has not decreased. Newburg believes that at the end of the 18th century, when the scientific method began to consume[page needed] the human mind, religion could have vanished. However, two hundred years later, the perception of spirituality, in many instances, appears to be gaining in strength (2009). Newberg’s research also provides the connection between prayer and meditation and health.
By understanding how the brain works during religious experiences and practices Newberg’s research shows that the brain changes during these practices allowing an understanding of how religion affects psychological and physical health (2009). For example, brain activity during meditation indicates that people who frequently practice prayer or meditation experience lower blood-pressure, lower heart rates, decreased anxiety, and decreased depression.
• 24-7 Prayer Movement
• Affirmative prayer
• Affirmations (New Age)
• Catholic prayers
• Daily Prayer for Peace
• Devotional literature
• Glossolalia (“speaking in tongues”)
• Interior Life
• Jewish services and List of Jewish prayers and blessings
• List of prayers
• Mani stone
• Moment of silence
• Mystic prayer
• National Day of Prayer (US)
• Prayer beads
• Prayer in LDS theology and practice
• Prayer in school
• Prayer wheel
• Tibetan prayer flag
1. James also gives descriptions of conversion experiences. The Christian model of dramatic conversions, based on the role-model of Paul’s conversion, may also have served as a model for Western interpretations and expectations regarding “enlightenment”, similar to Protestant influences on Theravada Buddhism, as described by Carrithers: “It rests upon the notion of the primacy of religious experiences, preferably spectacular ones, as the origin and legitimation of religious action. But this presupposition has a natural home, not in Buddhism, but in Christian and especially Protestant Christian movements which prescribe a radical conversion.” See Sekida for an example of this influence of William James and Christian conversion stories, mentioning Luther and St. Paul. See also McMahan for the influence of Christian thought on Buddhism.
2. Robert Sharf: “[T]he role of experience in the history of Buddhism has been greatly exaggerated in contemporary scholarship. Both historical and ethnographic evidence suggests that the privileging of experience may well be traced to certain twentieth-century reform movements, notably those that urge a return to zazen or vipassana meditation, and these reforms were profoundly influenced by religious developments in the west […] While some adepts may indeed experience “altered states” in the course of their training, critical analysis shows that such states do not constitute the reference point for the elaborate Buddhist discourse pertaining to the “path”.
3. William Blake: “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thru’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”
References and footnotes
1. K. Masters, G. Spielmans, J. Goodson “Are there demonstrable effects of distant intercessory prayer? A meta-analytic review.” Annals of Behavioral Medicine 2006 Aug;32(1):21-6. 
2. David R. Hodge, “A Systematic Review of the Empirical Literature on Intercessory Prayer” in Research on Social Work Practice March 2007 vol. 17 no. 2 174-187 doi:10.1177/1049731506296170 Article abstract Full length article
3. Benson H, Dusek JA et al. “Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: a multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer.” American Heart Journal. 2006 April; 151(4): pp. 762–74.
4. The Deity in the DataWhat the latest prayer study tells us about God
5. Herbert Benson et al., “Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: A multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer”, American Heart Journal, Volume 151, No 4, 934-42 (2006)
6. Galton F. Statistical inquiries into the efficacy of prayer. Fortnightly Review 1872;68:125-35. Online version.
7. Byrd R. C., Positive therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer in a coronary care unit population. South Med J 1988;81:826-9. PMID 3393937.
8. Harris W. S., Gowda M., Kolb J. W., Strychacz C. P., Vacek J. L., Jones P. G., Forker A., O’Keefe J. H., McCallister B. D. A randomized, controlled trial of the effects of remote, intercessory prayer on outcomes in patients admitted to the coronary care unit. Arch Intern Med 1999;159:2273-8. PMID 10547166.
9. O’Laoire S. An experimental study of the effects of distant, intercessory prayer on self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Altern Ther Health Med 1997;3:38-53. PMID 9375429.
10. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/gary_posner/godccu.html A critique of the San Francisco hospital study on intercessory prayer and healing – Gary P. Posner, M.D.
11. Stephens, Ferris J. (1950). Ancient Near Eastern Texts. Princeton. pp. 391–92.
12. Zaleski, Carol; Zaleski, Philip (2006). Prayer: A History. Boston: Mariner Books. pp. 24–25. ISBN 0-618-77360-6.
13. Littlebird, Sarracina (2008). “Sacred Movement: Dance as Prayer in the Pueblo Cultures of the American Southwest”. Barnard College Department of Dance. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
14. “The Whirling Dervishes of Rumi”. Retrieved 12-4-2008.
15. Omkarananda, Swami (11-12-2008). “How to pray”. Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas. Retrieved 12-4-2008.
16. “Jewish Worship and Prayer”. Religion Facts. Retrieved 12-4-2008. This practice is known, in Yiddish, as shuckling.
17. Avery, Chel. “Quaker Worship”. Quaker Information Center. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
18. Erickson, Millard J. (1998). Christian theology. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House. ISBN 0-8010-2182-0.
19. Knight, Kevin. “Prayer”. New Advent. Retrieved 2008-10-06.
20. See, for example, James 5:14
21. Scheckel, Roger J. (January 2004). “The Angelus”. The Marian Catechists. Archived from the original on 2008-06-23. Retrieved 2008-10-06.
22. “Buddhist Art”. Pacific Asia Museum. 2003. Retrieved 2008-10-06.
23. See, for example, McCarty, Julie (2008). “Faith – Grandma’s prayer candle”. Bayard Inc. Retrieved 2008-10-06.[dead link]
24. Emerick, Yahiya (2002). The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Islam. Indianapolis IN: Alpha Books. pp. 127–28. ISBN 0-02-864233-3.
25. Hitchens, Christopher (2012). Mortality. Twelve. p. n.p. ASIN B007HGPBRC..
26. Daniel C. Dennett, “Thank Goodness,” in The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever (editor-last = Hitchens ed.). Da Capo Press. 2007. pp. n.p. ASIN B003KVKYAC.
27. David Margolick (6 August 1990). “In Child Deaths, a Test for Christian Science”. New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
28. Rayor, Diane. “The Homeric Hymns”. University of California Press. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
29. “Religio Romana”. Nova Roma. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
30. Frederic de Forest Allen, Remnants of Early Latin (Boston: Ginn & Heath 1880 and Ginn & Co 1907).
31. Cato’s Mars Prayer, found in De Agri Cultura, translated at 
32. Translation by Bellows.
33. Grundy, Stephan (1998). “Freyja and Frigg” as collected in Billington, Sandra. The Concept of the Goddess, p. 60. Routledge ISBN 0-415-19789-9
34. Hollander, Lee (trans.) (1955). The saga of the Jómsvíkings, p. 100. University of Texas Press ISBN 0-292-77623-3
35. Gordon, R.K. (1962). Anglo-Saxon Poetry. Everyman’s Library #794. M. Dent & Sons, LTD.
36. Lambdin, Laura C and Robert T. (2000). Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature, p. 227. Greenwood Publishing Group ISBN 0-313-30054-2
37. Wells, C. J.” (1985). German, a Linguistic History to 1945: A Linguistic History to 1945, p 51. Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-815795-9
39. Jewish Prayer from Chabad.org
40. The Kabbalah of Prayer on Chabad.org
41. Examining Religions: Christianity Foundation Edition by Anne Geldart 1999 ISBN 0-435-30324-4 page 108
42. See John 16:23, 26; John 14:13; John 15:16
43. Parry, Ken; David Melling (editors) (1999). The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity ISBN 0-631-23203-6 page 230
44. Catholic Encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12775a.htm
45. Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed, 1989
46. “Christianity – Pentecostalism”. Australian Broadcasting Company. Retrieved 12-5-2008.
47. Acts 2:1-13
48. George Barton Cutten, Speaking with Tongues Historically and Psychologically Considered, Yale University Press, 1927.
49. Goodman, Felicitas D., Speaking in Tongues: A Cross-Cultural Study in Glossolalia. University of Chicago Press, 1972.
50. Hine, Virginia H.: ‘Pentecostal Glossolalia toward a Functional Interpretation.’ Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 8, 2: (1969) 211–26: quote on p. 211
51. Samarin, William J., Tongues of Men and Angels: The Religious Language of Pentecostalism. Macmillan, New York, 1972, quote on p. 73
52. Hine, Virginia H.: ‘Pentecostal Glossolalia toward a Functional Interpretation.’ Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 8, 2: (1969) 211–26: quote on p. 213
53. Spanos, Nicholas P.; Hewitt, Erin C.: Glossolalia: ‘A test of the ‘trance’ and psychopathology hypotheses.’ Journal of Abnormal Psychology: 1979 Aug Vol 88(4) 427–34.
54. Mary Baker Eddy, “Prayer,” in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Boston, Trustees Under the Will of Mary Baker Eddy, 1934 [etc.]pp. 1-17
55. “Is there no intercessory prayer?”. Retrieved 2007-10-13.
56. Muslim cultures today: a reference guide By Kathryn M. Coughlin, p. 91
57. Smith, P. (1999). A Concise Encyclopedia of the Bahá’í Faith. Oxford, UK: Oneworld Publications. pp. 274–75. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
58. See for example http://www.centreguephel.org/prieres.html (French)
62. Collins, Steven (1982). Selfless Persons. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 6. ISBN 0-521-39726-X.
63. Sangharakshita, Bhikshu (1993). A Survey of Buddhism. Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom: Windhorse Publications. pp. 449–60. ISBN 0-904766-65-9.
64. Buddhist Prayers
65. Keown, Damien (ed.) with Hodge, Stephen; Jones, Charles; Tinti, Paola (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Great Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. P.100. ISBN 0-19-860560-9
66. “The Flowering of Faith: Buddhism’s Pure Land Tradition” (pp. 185–98) in Smith, Huston; Philip Novak (2003). Buddhism: A concise introduction. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco. ISBN 0-06-050696-2.
67. Smith and Novak (2003) state that “Pure Land Buddhism has entered America almost exclusively from Japan, and the church Shinran founded is the largest Pure Land presence on this continent” (p. 193).
68. This quotation is Smith and Novak’s paraphrase of Shinran’s teaching.
69. Stephen Jacobs (2010), Hinduism Today : An Introduction, Continuum International Publishing Group, p. 44
71. Chapter IV: Category of fierce types of spells for explanation
73. The Wiccan Prayer Book: Daily, Mark Ventimiglia – 2006
74. Palmer, Susan J., Aliens Adored. Rutgers University Press, 2004
75. Raël, Sensual Meditation. Tagman Press, 2002.
76. Eckankar: Ancient Wisdom for Today – Page 20, 1995
77. “Animism Profile in Cambodia”. OMF. Retrieved 2008-04-09.
78. Hassig, Ross (2003). “El sacrificio y las guerras floridas”. Arqueología mexicana XI: 47.
79. “Prayer stick”. Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition.
80. Elkin, Adolphus P. (1973). Aboriginal Men of High Degree: Initiation and Sorcery in the World’s Oldest Tradition. Inner Traditions – Bear & Company. ISBN 0-89281-421-7.
81. Thelema is seen by some neutral parties as a philosophy, and not a religion. See Crowley, Aleister. Little Essays Toward Truth,p. 61-62 New Falcon Publications; 2 Rev Sub edition (May 1, 1996) ISBN 1-56184-000-9 (“These and similar considerations lead to certain types of philosophical skepticism. Neschamic conceptions are nowise exempt from this criticism, for, even supposing them identical in any number of persons, their expression, being intellectual, will suffer the same stress as normal perceptions. […] But none of this shakes, or even threatens, the Philosophy of Thelema. On the contrary, it may be called the Rock of its foundation.”); See also Thelemapedia, “Arguments against Thelema being a religion” available at: http://www.thelemapedia.org/index.php/Arguments_against_Thelema_being_a_religion
82. DuQuette, Lon Milo. The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema, p. 12. Weiser, 2003. ISBN 1-57863-299-4.
84. Greenberg, Moshe. Biblical Prose Prayer: As a Window to the Popular Religion of Ancient Israel. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1983 
85. Bounds, Edward McKendree (1907). The Necessity of Prayer. AGES Software. ISBN 0-8010-0659-7.
86. Vatican website Catechism items 2716-2717
87. The Darkness of God: Negativity in Christian Mysticism by Denys Turner 1998 Cambridge University Press ISBN 0521645611
88. Hori 1999, p. 47.
89. Issues in Science and Religion, Ian Barbour, Prentice-Hall, 1966, page 68, 79
90. Issues in Science and Religion, Ian Barbour, Prentice-Hall, 1966, page 114, 116-119
91. Issues in Science and Religion, Ian Barbour, Prentice-Hall, 1966, p. 126-127
92. Sharf 2000, p. 271.
93. Carrithers 1983, p. 18.
94. Sekida 1985, p. 196-197.
95. Sekida 1985, p. 251.
96. McMahan 2008.
97. Sharf 1995-B.
98. Mohr 2000, p. 282-286.
99. Low 2006, p. 12.
100. Sharf 1995-C, p. 1.
101. Hori 1994, p. 30.
102. Samy 1998, p. 82.
103. Mohr 2000, p. 282.
104. Samy 1998, p. 80-82.
105. Samy 1998, p. 80.
106. Quote DB
107. Mohr 2000, p. 284.
108. “Islamicprayergroup.com”. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-30.
109. “World Wide Prayer Group”. Retrieved 2008-10-30.
110. “Pell adamant prayer cures cancer”. The Age (Melbourne). 2009-12-21.
111. http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/07/prayer_still_us.html Prayer still useless
112. Tessman I and Tessman J “Efficacy of Prayer: A Critical Examination of Claims,” Skeptical Inquirer, March/April 2000,
113. Leibovici L. Effects of remote, retroactive intercessory prayer on outcomes in patients with bloodstream infection: randomized controlled trial. BMJ 2001;323:1450-1. doi:10.1136/bmj.323.7327.1450 PMID 11751349.
114. Aviles JM, Whelan SE, Hernke DA, Williams BA, Kenny KE, O’Fallon WM, Kopecky SL. Intercessory prayer and cardiovascular disease progression in a coronary care unit population: a randomized controlled trial. Mayo Clin Proc 2001;76:1192-8. PMID 11761499.
115. Krucoff MW, Crater SW, Gallup D, Blankenship JC, Cuffe M, Guarneri M, Krieger RA, Kshettry VR, Morris K, Oz M, Pichard A, Sketch MH Jr, Koenig HG, Mark D, Lee KL. Music, imagery, touch, and prayer as adjuncts to interventional cardiac care: the Monitoring and Actualisation of Noetic Trainings (MANTRA) II randomised study. Lancet 2005;366:211-7. PMID 16023511.
116. Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: A multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer 
117. Mind and Spirit. from the Health Library section of CentraState Healthcare System. Accessed May 18, 2006.
Newberg, Andrew. Interviewed by Barbra Bradley Hagerty. “Prayer May Re-Shape Your Brain”. http://www.npr.org slamic State of Iraq and the Levant
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
الدولة الإسلامية (Arabic)
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: باقية وتتمدد (Arabic)
“Bāqiyah wa-Tatamaddad” (transliteration)
“Remaining and Expanding”
As of 24 August 2014
Areas controlled by the Islamic State Areas claimed by the Islamic State Rest of Iraq and Syria
Note: map includes uninhabited areas.
Capital Ar-Raqqah, Syria
– Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant declared 3 January 2014
– Caliphate declared 29 June 2014
Time zone Arabia Standard Time (UTC+3)
Calling code +963 (Syria)
الدولة الإسلامية (Arabic)
Participant in the Iraq War, the Global War on Terrorism, the Iraqi insurgency, and the Syrian Civil War
Flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Active 2004–present (under various names)
Ideology Sunni Islamism
Leaders • Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Caliph)
• Abu Omar al-Shishani (Field Commander)
• Abu Mohammad al-Adnani (Spokesman)
Headquarters Ar-Raqqah, Syria
operations Iraq Syria
Strength 80,000–100,000 (up to 50,000 in Syria and 30,000 in Iraq)
Part of al-Qaeda (2004–2014)
Originated as Jama’at al-Tawhid wa-al-Jihad
(The Organization of Monotheism and Jihad)
Al-Qaeda in Iraq
Mujahideen Shura Council
Islamic State of Iraq
Allies • Naqshbandi Army (until June 2014) 
• Boko Haram
• Jemaah Islamiya
• al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
• al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
• Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters
• al-Nusra Front
• Ansar al-Islam
Ba’ath Party Loyalists
• Naqshbandi Army (since June 2014) 
• Supreme Command for Jihad and Liberation
• General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries
• Islamic Army in Iraq
• Islamic Revolutionary Guard
o Quds Force
• Iraqi Armed Forces
• Iraqi Shia militias
• Iraqi Turkmen Front
• Awakening Councils
• People’s Protection Units
• Syriac Military Council
• Assyrian Patriotic Party
• Assyrian Democratic Movement
• Qaraqosh Protection Committee
• Syrian Armed Forces
• Free Syrian Army
• Syria Revolutionaries Front
• Islamic Front
• Army of Mujahedeen
United States (aerial operations)
• United States Navy
• Lebanese Armed Forces
• Turkish Armed Forces (border clashes)
• Saudi Armed Forces (border protection)
• Indonesian National Police
and wars • Iraq War
o Al Anbar campaign
o Second Battle of Fallujah
o Civil war in Iraq (2006–07)[irrelevant citation]
• Iraqi Insurgency
o Operation al-Shabah
o Anbar campaign (2013–14)
o Northern Iraq offensive (June 2014)
• Northern Iraq offensive (August 2014)
o 2014 American intervention in Iraq
o Sinjar massacre
• Syrian Civil War
o 2013 Latakia offensive
o Syrian Kurdish–Islamist conflict
o Battle of Qalamoun
o Inter-rebel conflict in Syria
o Battle of Aleppo
o Deir ez-Zor clashes
o Battle of Arsal
The Islamic State (IS) (Arabic: الدولة الإسلامية ad-Dawlah l-ʾIslāmiyyah), formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (داعش) (ISIL /ˈaɪsəl/) or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS /ˈaɪsɪs/),[a] is a Sunni jihadist group in the Middle East. In its self-proclaimed status as a caliphate, it claims religious authority over all Muslims across the world and aspires to bring much of the Muslim-inhabited regions of the world under its political control, beginning with Iraq, Syria and other territory in the Levant region, which includes Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus and part of southern Turkey.
It has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, and has been described by the United Nations and Western and Middle Eastern media as a terrorist group. The United Nations has accused the Islamic State of committing “mass atrocities” and war crimes.
ISIS is the successor to Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn—more commonly known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)—formed by Abu Musab Al Zarqawi in 1999, which took part in the Iraqi insurgency against American-led forces and their Iraqi allies following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. During the 2003–2011 Iraq War, it combined with other Sunni insurgent groups to form the Mujahideen Shura Council and consolidated further into the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI /ˈaɪsɪ/).
At its height it enjoyed a significant presence in the Iraqi governorates of Al Anbar, Nineveh, Kirkuk, most of Salah ad Din, parts of Babil, Diyala and Baghdad, and claimed Baqubah as a capital city. However, the Islamic State of Iraq’s violent attempts to govern its territory led to a backlash from Sunni Iraqis and other insurgent groups, which helped to propel the Awakening movement and a decline in the group.
ISIS had close links to al-Qaeda until February 2014, when after an eight-month power struggle, al-Qaeda cut all ties with the group, reportedly for its brutality and “notorious intractability”.
Under its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS has grown significantly, gaining support in Iraq due to alleged economic and political discrimination against Arab Iraqi Sunnis, and establishing a large presence in the Syrian governorates of Ar-Raqqah, Idlib, Deir ez-Zor and Aleppo after entering the Syrian Civil War.
In June 2014, ISIS had at least 4,000 fighters in its ranks in Iraq who, in addition to attacks on government and military targets, have claimed responsibility for attacks that have killed thousands of civilians. In August 2014, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that the group had increased its strength to 50,000 fighters in Syria and 30,000 in Iraq.
ISIS’s original aim was to establish a caliphate in the Sunni-majority regions of Iraq. Following its involvement in the Syrian Civil War, this expanded to include controlling Sunni-majority areas of Syria. A caliphate was proclaimed on 29 June 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—now known as Amir al-Mu’minin Caliph Ibrahim—was named as its caliph, and the group was renamed the Islamic State.
• 1 Name and name changes
• 2 Ideology and beliefs
• 3 Goals
• 4 Territorial claims
• 5 Analysis
• 6 Propaganda and social media
• 7 Finances
• 8 Equipment
• 9 History
o 9.1 As Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (1999–2004)
• 9.1.1 Origins
• 9.1.2 Goals and tactics
• 9.1.3 Activities
o 9.2 As Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (2004–2006)
• 9.2.1 Involvement in Iraqi Insurgency
• 9.2.2 Inciting sectarian violence
• 9.2.3 Operations outside Iraq and other activities
• 9.2.4 Goals and umbrella organizations
o 9.3 As Islamic State of Iraq (2006–2013)
• 9.3.1 Strength and activity
• 9.3.2 Decline
• 9.3.3 Conflicts with other groups
• 9.3.4 Transformation and resurgence
o 9.4 As Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (2013–2014)
• 9.4.1 Declaration and dispute with al-Nusra Front
• 9.4.2 Conflicts with other groups
• 9.4.3 Suggested ties with the Syrian government
o 9.5 As Islamic State (2014–present)
• 10 Human rights abuses
o 10.1 War crimes accusations
o 10.2 Treatment of civilians
o 10.3 Sexual violence allegations
o 10.4 Guidelines for civilians
• 11 Timeline of events
o 11.1 2003–06 events
o 11.2 2007 events
o 11.3 2009–12 events
o 11.4 2013 events
o 11.5 2014 events
• 12 Notable members
• 13 Designation as a terrorist organization
• 14 See also
• 15 Notes
• 16 References
• 17 Bibliography
• 18 External links
Name and name changes
The group has had a number of different names since its formation in early 1999 as Jamāʻat al-Tawḥīd wa-al-Jihād, “The Organization of Monotheism and Jihad” (JTJ).
In October 2004, the group leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi swore loyalty to Osama bin Laden and changed the name of the group to Tanẓīm Qāʻidat al-Jihād fī Bilād al-Rāfidayn, “The Organization of Jihad’s Base in the Country of the Two Rivers,” more commonly known as “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” (AQI). Although the group has never called itself “Al-Qaeda in Iraq”, this name has frequently been used to describe it through its various incarnations.
In January 2006, AQI merged with several smaller Iraqi insurgent groups under an umbrella organization called the “Mujahideen Shura Council.” This was little more than a media exercise and an attempt to give the group a more Iraqi flavour and perhaps to distance al-Qaeda from some of al-Zarqawi’s tactical errors, notably the 2005 bombings by AQI of three hotels in Amman. Al-Zarqawi was killed in June 2006, after which the group’s direction shifted again.
On 12 October 2006, the Mujahideen Shura Council joined four more insurgent factions and the representatives of a number of Iraqi Arab tribes, and together they swore the traditional Arab oath of allegiance known as Ḥilf al-Muṭayyabīn (“Oath of the Scented Ones”).[b] During the ceremony, the participants swore to free Iraq’s Sunnis from what they described as Shia and foreign oppression, and to further the name of Allah and restore Islam to glory.[c]
On 13 October 2006, the establishment of the Dawlat al-ʻIraq al-Islāmīyah, “Islamic State of Iraq” (ISI) was announced. A cabinet was formed and Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi became ISI’s figurehead emir, with the real power residing with the Egyptian Abu Ayyub al-Masri. The declaration was met with hostile criticism, not only from ISI’s jihadist rivals in Iraq, but from leading jihadist ideologues outside the country. Al-Baghdadi and al-Masri were both killed in a US–Iraqi operation in April 2010. The next leader of the ISI was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the current leader of ISIS.
On 9 April 2013, having expanded into Syria, the group adopted the name “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”, also known as “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.” The name is abbreviated as ISIS or alternately ISIL. The final “S” in the acronym ISIS stems from the Arabic word Shām (or Shaam), which in the context of global jihad (e.g. Jund al-Sham) refers to the Levant or Greater Syria. ISIS was also known as al-Dawlah (“the State”), or al-Dawlat al-Islāmīyah (“the Islamic State”). These are short-forms of the name “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham” in Arabic; it is similar to calling the United States of America “the States”.
ISIS’s detractors, particularly in Syria, refer to the group as “Da’ish” or “Daesh”, (داعش), a term that is based on an acronym formed from the letters of the name in Arabic, al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Iraq wa al-Sham. The group considers the term derogatory and reportedly uses flogging as a punishment for people who use the acronym in ISIS-controlled areas.
On 14 May 2014, the United States Department of State announced its decision to use “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) as the group’s primary name. The debate over which acronym should be used to designate the group, ISIL or ISIS, has been discussed by several commentators.
On 29 June 2014, the establishment of a new caliphate was announced, and the group formally changed its name to the “Islamic State”.[d]
In late August 2014, a leading Islamic authority Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah advised Muslims to stop calling the group “Islamic State” and instead refer to it as “Al-Qaeda Separatists in Iraq and Syria” or “QSIS”, due to the militant group’s un-Islamic character.
Ideology and beliefs
ISIS is a Sunni extremist group that follows al-Qaeda’s hard-line ideology and adheres to global jihadist principles. Like al-Qaeda and many other modern-day jihadist groups, ISIS emerged from the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s first Islamist group dating back to the late 1920s in Egypt. ISIS follows an extreme anti-Western interpretation of Islam, promotes religious violence and regards those who do not agree with its interpretations as infidels and apostates. Concurrently, ISIS—now IS—aims to establish a Salafist-orientated Islamist state in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the Levant.
ISIS’s ideology originates in the branch of modern Islam that aims to return to the early days of Islam, rejecting later “innovations” in the religion which it believes corrupt its original spirit. It condemns later caliphates and the Ottoman empire for deviating from what it calls pure Islam and hence has been attempting to establish its own caliphate. However, there are some Sunni commentators, Zaid Hamid, for example, and even Salafi and jihadi muftis such as Adnan al-Aroor and Abu Basir al-Tartusi, who say that ISIS and related terrorist groups are not Sunnis at all, but Kharijite heretics serving an imperial anti-Islamic agenda.
Salafists such as ISIS believe that only a legitimate authority can undertake the leadership of jihad, and that the first priority over other areas of combat, such as fighting against non-Muslim countries, is the purification of Islamic society. For example, when it comes to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, since ISIS regards the Palestinian Sunni group Hamas as apostates who have no legitimate authority to lead jihad, it regards fighting Hamas as the first step toward confrontation with Israel.
From its beginnings the establishment of a pure Islamic state has been one of the group’s main goals. According to journalist Sarah Birke, one of the “significant differences” between al-Nusra Front and ISIS is that ISIS “tends to be more focused on establishing its own rule on conquered territory”. While both groups share the ambition to build an Islamic state, ISIS is “far more ruthless … carrying out sectarian attacks and imposing sharia law immediately”. ISIS finally achieved its goal on 29 June 2014, when it removed “Iraq and the Levant” from its name, began to refer to itself as the Islamic State, and declared the territory which it occupied in Iraq and Syria a new caliphate. By declaring a caliphate, Baghdadi is demanding allegiance of all devout Muslims “according to traditional fiqh”.
In mid-2014, the group released a video entitled “The End of Sykes–Picot” featuring an English-speaking Chilean national named Abu Safiyya. The video announced the group’s intention to eliminate all modern borders between Islamic Middle Eastern countries; this was a reference to the borders set by the Sykes–Picot Agreement during World War I. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a July 2014 speech at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul vowed that “this blessed advance will not stop until we hit the last nail in the coffin of the Sykes–Picot conspiracy”.[unreliable source?]
On 13 October 2006, the group announced the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq, which claimed authority over the Iraqi governorates of Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Salah al-Din, Nineveh, and parts of Babil. Following the 2013 expansion of the group into Syria and the announcement of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the number of wilayah—provinces—which it claimed increased to 16. In addition to the seven Iraqi wilayah, the Syrian divisions, largely lying along existing provincial boundaries, are Al Barakah, Al Kheir, Ar-Raqqah, Al Badiya, Halab, Idlib, Hama, Damascus and the Coast. In Syria, ISIS’s seat of power is in Ar-Raqqah Governorate. Top ISIS leaders, including Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, are known to have visited its provincial capital, Ar-Raqqah.
During the Iraq conflict in 2014 the group expanded the areas under its control even further, and concerns have now been expressed about the capability of the IS to govern the territories it has conquered.
After significant setbacks for the group during the latter stages of the coalition forces’ presence in Iraq, by late 2012 it was thought to have renewed its strength and more than doubled the number of its members to about 2,500, and since its formation in April 2013, ISIS has grown rapidly in strength and influence in Iraq and Syria. Analysts have underlined the deliberate inflammation of sectarian conflict between Iraqi Shias and Sunnis during the Iraq War by various Sunni and Shia players as the root cause of ISIS’s rise.
The post-invasion policies of the international coalition forces have also been cited as a factor, with Fanar Haddad, a research fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute, blaming the coalition forces during the Iraq War for “enshrining identity politics as the key marker of Iraqi politics”. ISIS’s violence is directed particularly against Shia Muslims and indigenous Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac Christians and Armenian Christians. In June 2014, The Economist reported that “ISIS may have up to 6,000 fighters in Iraq and 3,000–5,000 in Syria, including perhaps 3,000 foreigners; nearly a thousand are reported to hail from Chechnya and perhaps 500 or so more from France, Britain and elsewhere in Europe”. Chechen fighter Abu Omar al-Shishani, for example, was made commander of the northern sector of ISIS in Syria in 2013.
By 2014, ISIS was increasingly being viewed as a militia rather than a terrorist group by some organizations. As major Iraqi cities fell to al-Baghdadi’s cohorts in June, Jessica Lewis, a former US army intelligence officer at the Institute for the Study of War, described ISIS as “not a terrorism problem anymore”, but rather “an army on the move in Iraq and Syria, and they are taking terrain. They have shadow governments in and around Baghdad, and they have an aspirational goal to govern.
I don’t know whether they want to control Baghdad, or if they want to destroy the functions of the Iraqi state, but either way the outcome will be disastrous for Iraq.” Lewis has called ISIS “an advanced military leadership”. She said, “They have incredible command and control and they have a sophisticated reporting mechanism from the field that can relay tactics and directives up and down the line. They are well-financed, and they have big sources of manpower, not just the foreign fighters, but also prisoner escapees.”
According to the Institute for the Study of War, ISIS’s annual reports reveal a metrics-driven military command, which is “a strong indication of a unified, coherent leadership structure that commands from the top down”. Middle East Forum’s Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi said, “They are highly skilled in urban guerrilla warfare while the new Iraqi Army simply lacks tactical competence.” Seasoned observers point to systemic corruption within the Iraq Army, it being little more than a system of patronage, and have attributed to this its spectacular collapse as ISIS and its allies took over large swaths of Iraq in June 2014. On 21 August 2014, in response to a question asking whether ISIS posed a similar threat to al-Qaeda prior to the September 11th attacks United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stated: “(ISIS) is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen. They’re beyond just a terrorist group”.
Hillary Clinton stated: “The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.”
ISIS runs a soft-power program in the areas under its control in Iraq and Syria, which includes social services, religious lectures and da’wah—proselytizing—to local populations. It also performs civil tasks such as repairing roads and maintaining the electricity supply.
Propaganda and social media
The group is also known for its effective use of propaganda. In November 2006, shortly after the creation of the Islamic State of Iraq, the group established the al-Furqan Institute for Media Production, which produced CDs, DVDs, posters, pamphlets, and web-related propaganda products. ISIS’s main media outlet is the I’tisaam Media Foundation, which was formed in March 2013 and distributes through the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF). In 2014, ISIS established the Al Hayat Media Center, which targets a Western audience and produces material in English, German, Russian and French. In 2014 it also launched the Ajnad Media Foundation, which releases jihadist audio chants.
In July 2014, ISIS began publishing a digital magazine called Dabiq in multiple languages, including English. According to the magazine, its name is taken from the town in northern Syria, which is mentioned in a hadith about Armageddon. Harleen K. Gambhir, of the Institute for the Study of War, found that while al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire magazine focused on encouraging its readers to carry out lone-wolf attacks on the West, Dabiq is more concerned with establishing the religious legitimacy of ISIS and its self-proclaimed caliphate, and encouraging Muslims to emigrate there.
ISIS’s use of social media has been described by one expert as “probably more sophisticated than [that of] most US companies”. It regularly takes advantage of social media, particularly Twitter, to distribute its message by organizing hashtag campaigns, encouraging Tweets on popular hashtags, and utilizing software applications that enable ISIS propaganda to be distributed to its supporters’ accounts. Another comment is that “ISIS puts more emphasis on social media than other jihadi groups. … They have a very coordinated social media presence.” Although ISIS’s social media feeds on Twitter are regularly shut down, it frequently recreates them, maintaining a strong online presence. The group has attempted to branch out into alternate social media sites, such as Quitter, Friendica and Diaspora; Quitter and Friendica, however, almost immediately removed ISIS’s presence from their sites.
Egyptian and Lebanese media and politicians, as well as Facebook users, have spread the false claim that in her book Hard Choices Hillary Clinton stated that she created ISIS. Fake quotes supposedly from Hard Choices have been used to support this false claim.
A pivotal moment occurred on 19 August 2014, when militants posted a propaganda video of the beheading of US photojournalist James Foley on the Internet; it claimed that the killing had been carried out in revenge for the US bombing of ISIS targets. The video promised that a second captured US journalist Steven Sotloff would be killed next if the airstrikes continued.
A study of 200 documents—personal letters, expense reports and membership rosters—captured from Al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic State of Iraq was carried out by the RAND Corporation in 2014. It found that from 2005 until 2010, outside donations amounted to only 5% of the group’s operating budgets, with the rest being raised within Iraq. In the time-period studied, cells were required to send up to 20% of the income generated from kidnapping, extortion rackets and other activities to the next level of the group’s leadership. Higher-ranking commanders would then redistribute the funds to provincial or local cells that were in difficulties or needed money to conduct attacks. The records show that the Islamic State of Iraq was dependent on members from Mosul for cash, which the leadership used to provide additional funds to struggling militants in Diyala, Salahuddin and Baghdad.
In mid-2014, Iraqi intelligence extracted information from an ISIS operative which revealed that the organization had assets worth US$2 billion, making it the richest jihadist group in the world. About three quarters of this sum is said to be represented by assets seized after the group captured Mosul in June 2014; this includes possibly up to US$429 million looted from Mosul’s central bank, along with additional millions and a large quantity of gold bullion stolen from a number of other banks in Mosul. However, doubt was later cast on whether ISIS was able to retrieve anywhere near that sum from the central bank, and even on whether the bank robberies had actually occurred.
ISIS has routinely practised extortion, by demanding money from truck drivers and threatening to blow up businesses, for example. Robbing banks and gold shops has been another source of income. The group is widely reported as receiving funding from private donors in the Gulf states, and both Iran and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of funding ISIS, although there is reportedly no evidence that this is the case.
The group is also believed to receive considerable funds from its operations in Eastern Syria, where it has commandeered oilfields and engages in smuggling out raw materials and archaeological artifacts. ISIS also generates revenue from producing crude oil and selling electric power in northern Syria. Some of this electricity is reportedly sold back to the Syrian government.
Since 2012, ISIS 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.
The most common weapons used against US and other Coalition forces during the Iraq insurgency were those taken from Saddam Hussein’s weapon stockpiles around the country, these included AKM variant assault rifles, PK machine guns and RPG-7s. ISIS has been able to strengthen its military capability by capturing large quantities and varieties of weaponry during the Syrian Civil War and Post-US Iraq insurgency. These weapons seizures have improved the group’s capacity to carry out successful subsequent operations and obtain more equipment. Weaponry that ISIS has reportedly captured and employed include SA-7 and Stinger surface-to-air missiles, M79 Osa, HJ-8 and AT-4 Spigot anti-tank weapons, Type 59 field guns and M198 howitzers, Humvees, T-54/55 (30 est.) and T-72 (5–10 est.) main battle tanks, M1117 armoured cars, truck mounted DShK guns, ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns, BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launchers and at least one Scud missile.
When ISIS captured Mosul Airport in June 2014, it seized a number of UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and cargo planes that were stationed there. However, according to Peter Beaumont of The Guardian, it seemed unlikely that ISIS would be able to deploy them.
ISIS captured nuclear materials from Mosul University in July 2014. In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Iraq’s UN Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said that the materials had been kept at the university and “can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction”. Nuclear experts regarded the threat as insignificant. International Atomic Energy Agency spokeswoman Gill Tudor said that the seized materials were “low grade and would not present a significant safety, security or nuclear proliferation risk”.
In August 2014, the ISIS reportedly used a captured Iraqi Army M1A1M Abrams main battle tank in the Battle for Mosul Dam.
It has been suggested that this section be split into a new article titled Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad. (Discuss) Proposed since August 2014.
As Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (1999–2004)
Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (abrreviated JTJ or shortened to Tawhid and Jihad, Tawhid wal-Jihad, sometimes Tawhid al-Jihad, Al Tawhid or Tawhid) was started in 1999 by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and a combination of foreigners and local Islamist sympathizers. Al-Zarqawi was a Jordanian Salafi Jihadist who had traveled to Afghanistan to fight in the Soviet-Afghan War, but he arrived after the departure of the Soviet troops and soon returned to his homeland. He eventually returned to Afghanistan, running an Islamic militant training camp near Herat.
Al-Zarqawi started the network with the intention of overthrowing the Kingdom of Jordan, which he considered to be un-Islamic according to the four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence. For this purpose he developed numerous contacts and affiliates in several countries. Although it has not been verified, his network may have been involved in the late 1999 plot to bomb the Millennium celebrations in the United States and Jordan. However, al-Zarqawi’s operatives were responsible for the assassination of US diplomat Laurence Foley in Jordan in 2002.
Following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, al-Zarqawi moved westward into Iraq, where he reportedly received medical treatment in Baghdad for an injured leg. It is believed that he developed extensive ties in Iraq with Ansar al-Islam (“Partisans of Islam”), a Kurdish Islamic militant group based in the extreme northeast of the country. Ansar allegedly had ties to Iraqi Intelligence; Saddam Hussein’s motivation would have been to use Ansar as a surrogate force to repress secular Kurds fighting for the independence of Kurdistan. In January 2003, Ansar’s founder Mullah Krekar denied any connection with Saddam’s government.
A pair of armed anti-American insurgents in Iraq in 2006
The consensus of intelligence officials has since been that there were no links whatsoever between al-Zarqawi and Saddam, and that Saddam viewed Ansar al-Islam “as a threat to the regime” and his intelligence officials were spying on the group. The 2006 Senate Report on Pre-war Intelligence on Iraq concluded: “Postwar information indicates that Saddam Hussein attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate and capture al-Zarqawi and that the regime did not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward al-Zarqawi.” According to Michael Weiss, Ansar entered Iraqi Kurdistan through Iran as part of Iran’s covert attempts to destabilize Saddam’s government.
Following the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, JTJ developed into an expanding militant network for the purpose of resisting the coalition occupation forces and their Iraqi allies. It included some of the remnants of Ansar al-Islam and a growing number of foreign fighters. Many foreign fighters arriving in Iraq were initially not associated with the group, but once they were in the country they became dependent on al-Zarqawi’s local contacts.
Goals and tactics
The stated goals of JTJ were: (i) to force a withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq; (ii) to topple the Iraqi interim government; (iii) to assassinate collaborators with the occupation regime; (iv) to remove the Shia population and defeat its militias because of its death-squad activities; and (v) to establish subsequently a pure Islamic state.
JTJ differed considerably from the other early Iraqi insurgent groups in its tactics. Rather than using only conventional weapons and guerrilla tactics in ambushes against the US and coalition forces, it relied heavily on suicide bombings, often using car bombs. It targeted a wide variety of groups, especially the Iraqi Security Forces and those facilitating the occupation. Groups of workers who have been targeted by JTJ include Iraqi interim officials, Iraqi Shia and Kurdish political and religious figures, the country’s Shia Muslim civilians, foreign civilian contractors, and United Nations and humanitarian workers. Al-Zarqawi’s militants are also known to have used a wide variety of other tactics, including targeted kidnappings, the planting of improvised explosive devices, and mortar attacks. Beginning in late June 2004, JTJ implemented urban guerrilla-style attacks using rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. They also gained worldwide notoriety for beheading Iraqi and foreign hostages and distributing video recordings of these acts on the Internet.
The UN headquarters building in Baghdad after the Canal Hotel bombing, on 22 August 2003
JTJ claimed credit for a number of attacks that targeted Iraqi forces and infrastructure, such as the October 2004 ambush and killing of 49 armed Iraqi National Guard recruits, and for a series of attacks on humanitarian aid agencies such as the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It conducted numerous attacks against US military personnel throughout 2004, and audacious suicide attacks inside the high-security Green Zone perimeter in Baghdad. Al-Zarqawi’s men reputedly succeeded in assassinating several leading Iraqi politicians of the early post-Saddam era, and their bomb attack on the United Nations Mission’s headquarters in Iraq led the UN country team to relocate to Jordan and continue their work remotely.
The group took either direct responsibility or the blame for many of the early Iraqi insurgent attacks, including the series of high-profile bombings in August 2003, which killed 17 people at the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad, 23 people, including the chief of the United Nations Mission to Iraq Sérgio Vieira de Mello, at the UN headquarters in Baghdad, and at least 86 people, including Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, in the Imam Ali Mosque bombing in Najaf. Included here is the November truck bombing, which killed 27 people, mostly Italian paramilitary policemen, at the Italian base in Nasiriyah.
The attacks connected with the group in 2004 include the series of bombings in Baghdad and Karbala which killed 178 people during the holy Day of Ashura in March; the failed plot in April to explode chemical bombs in Amman, Jordan, which was said to have been financed by al-Zarqawi’s network; a series of suicide boat bombings of the oil pumping stations in the Persian Gulf in April, for which al-Zarqawi took responsibility in a statement published by the Muntada al-Ansar Islamist website; the May car bomb assassination of Iraqi Governing Council president Ezzedine Salim at the entrance to the Green Zone in Baghdad; the June suicide car bombing in Baghdad which killed 35 civilians; and the September car bomb which killed 47 police recruits and civilians on Haifa Street in Baghdad.
A screenshot from the 2004 hostage video, where Nick Berg was beheaded by JTJ fighters.
Foreign civilian hostages abducted by the group in 2004 included: Americans Nick Berg, Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley; Turks Durmus Kumdereli, Aytullah Gezmen and Murat Yuce; South Korean Kim Sun-il; Bulgarians Georgi Lazov and Ivaylo Kepov; and Briton Kenneth Bigley. Most of them were beheaded using knives. Al-Zarqawi personally beheaded Berg and Armstrong, but Yuce was shot dead by al-Masri, and Gezmen was released after “repenting.”
As Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (2004–2006)
It has been suggested that this section be split into a new article titled Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn. (Discuss) Proposed since August 2014.
Involvement in Iraqi Insurgency
US Navy Seabees in Fallujah, November 2004.
The group officially pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network in a letter in October 2004 and changed its official name to Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (تنظيم قاعدة الجهاد في بلاد الرافدين, “Organization of Jihad’s Base in Mesopotamia”). That same month, the group, now popularly referred to as Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), kidnapped and killed Japanese citizen Shosei Koda. In November, al-Zarqawi’s network was the main target of the US Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, but its leadership managed to escape the American siege and subsequent storming of the city. In December, in two of its many sectarian attacks, AQI bombed a Shia funeral procession in Najaf and the main bus station in nearby Karbala, killing at least 60 people in those two holy cities of Shia Islam. The group also reportedly took responsibility for the 30 September 2004 Baghdad bombing which killed 41 people, mostly children.
In 2005, AQI largely focused on executing high-profile and coordinated suicide attacks, claiming responsibility for numerous attacks which were primarily aimed at Iraqi administrators. The group launched attacks on voters during the Iraqi legislative election in January, a combined suicide and conventional attack on the Abu Ghraib prison in April, and coordinated suicide attacks outside the Sheraton Ishtar and Palestine Hotel in Baghdad in October. In July, AQI claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and execution of Ihab Al-Sherif, Egypt’s envoy to Iraq. Also in July, a three-day series of suicide attacks, including the Musayyib marketplace bombing, left at least 150 people dead. Al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for a single-day series of more than a dozen bombings in Baghdad in September, including a bomb attack on 14 September which killed about 160 people, most of whom were unemployed Shia workers. They claimed responsibility for a series of mosque bombings in the same month in the city of Khanaqin, which killed at least 74 people.
The attacks blamed on or claimed by AQI continued to increase in 2006 (see also the list of major resistance attacks in Iraq). In one of the incidents, two US soldiers—Thomas Lowell Tucker and Kristian Menchaca—were captured, tortured and beheaded by the ISI. In another, four Russian embassy officials were abducted and subsequently killed. Iraq’s al-Qaeda and its umbrella groups were blamed for multiple attacks targeting the country’s Shia population, some of which AQI claimed responsibility for. The US claimed without verification that the group was at least one of the forces behind the wave of chlorine bombings in Iraq, which affected hundreds of people, albeit with few fatalities, after a series of crude chemical warfare attacks between late 2006 and mid-2007. During 2006, several key members of AQI were killed or captured by American and allied forces. This included al-Zarqawi himself, killed on 7 June 2006, his spiritual adviser Sheik Abd-Al-Rahman, and the alleged “number two” deputy leader, Hamid Juma Faris Jouri al-Saeedi. The group’s leadership was then assumed by a man called Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, who in reality was the Egyptian militant Abu Ayyub al-Masri.
Car bombings were a common form of attack in Iraq during the Coalition occupation
Inciting sectarian violence
Attacks against militiamen often targeted the Iraqi Shia majority in an attempt to incite sectarian violence. Al-Zarqawi purportedly declared an all-out war on Shias while claiming responsibility for the Shia mosque bombings. The same month, a letter allegedly written by al-Zawahiri—later rejected as a “fake” by the AQI—appeared to question the insurgents’ tactic of indiscriminately attacking Shias in Iraq. In a video that appeared in December 2007, al-Zawahiri defended the AQI, but distanced himself from the crimes against civilians committed by “hypocrites and traitors” that he said existed among its ranks.
US and Iraqi officials accused the AQI of trying to slide Iraq into a full-scale civil war between Iraq’s majority Shia and minority Sunni Arabs via an orchestrated campaign of militiamen massacres and a number of provocative attacks against high-profile religious targets. With attacks purportedly mounted by the AQI such as the Imam Ali Mosque bombing in 2003, the Day of Ashura bombings and Karbala and Najaf bombings in 2004, the first al-Askari Mosque bombing in Samarra in 2006, the deadly single-day series of bombings in November 2006 in which at least 215 people were killed in Baghdad’s Shia district of Sadr City, and the second al-Askari bombing in 2007, the AQI provoked Shia militias to unleash a wave of retaliatory attacks. The result was a plague of death squad-style killings and a spiral into further sectarian violence, which escalated in 2006 and brought Iraq to the brink of violent anarchy in 2007. In 2008, sectarian bombings blamed on al-Qaeda killed at least 42 people at the Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala in March and at least 51 people at a bus stop in Baghdad in June.
Operations outside Iraq and other activities
On 3 December 2004, AQI attempted to blow up an Iraqi–Jordanian border crossing, but failed to do so. In 2006, a Jordanian court sentenced to death al-Zarqawi in absentia and two of his associates for their involvement in the plot. AQI increased its presence outside Iraq by claiming credit for three attacks in 2005. In the most deadly of these attacks, suicide bombs killed 60 people in Amman, Jordan on 9 November 2005. They claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks that narrowly missed the USS Kearsarge and USS Ashland in Jordan, which also targeted the city of Eilat in Israel, and for the firing of several rockets into Israel from Lebanon in December 2005.
The Lebanese-Palestinian militant group Fatah al-Islam, which was defeated by Lebanese government forces during the 2007 Lebanon conflict, was linked to AQI and led by al-Zarqawi’s former companion who had fought alongside him in Iraq. The group may have been linked to the little-known group called “Tawhid and Jihad in Syria”, and may have influenced the Palestinian resistance group in Gaza called “Tawhid and Jihad Brigades”, better known as the Army of Islam.
American officials believed that Al-Qaeda in Iraq had conducted bomb attacks against Syrian government forces. Al-Nusra Front, another al-Qaeda-inspired group, claimed responsibility for attacks inside Syria, and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said that Al-Qaeda in Iraq members were going to Syria, where the militants had previously received support and weapons.
Goals and umbrella organizations
See also: Mujahideen Shura Council (Iraq)
In a letter to Ayman al-Zawahiri in July 2005, al-Zarqawi outlined a four-stage plan to expand the Iraq War, which included expelling US forces from Iraq, establishing an Islamic authority—a caliphate—spreading the conflict to Iraq’s secular neighbors, and engaging in the Arab–Israeli conflict. The affiliated groups were linked to regional attacks outside Iraq which were consistent with their stated plan, one example being the 2005 Sharm al-Sheikh bombings in Egypt, which killed 88 people, many of them foreign tourists.
In January 2006, Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)—the name by which Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn was more commonly known—created an umbrella organization called the Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC), in an attempt to unify Sunni insurgents in Iraq. Its efforts to recruit Iraqi Sunni nationalists and secular groups were undermined by the violent tactics it used against civilians and its extreme Islamic fundamentalist doctrine. Because of these impediments, the attempt was largely unsuccessful.
AQI attributed its attacks to the MSC until mid-October 2006, when Abu Ayyub al-Masri declared the formation of the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). This was another front which included the Shura Council factions. AQI then began attributing its attacks to the ISI. According to a study compiled by US intelligence agencies, the ISI had plans to seize power and turn the country into a Sunni Islamic state.
As Islamic State of Iraq (2006–2013)
Strength and activity
US Marines in Ramadi, May 2006. The Islamic State of Iraq had declared the city to be its capital.
In 2006, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research estimated that Al-Qaeda in Iraq’s core membership was “more than 1,000”. These figures do not include the other six[irrelevant citation] AQI-led Salafi groups in the Islamic State of Iraq. In 2007 estimates of the group’s strength ranged from just 850 to several thousand full-time fighters. The group was said to be suffering high manpower losses, including those from its many “martyrdom” operations, but for a long time this appeared to have little effect on its strength and capabilities, implying a constant flow of volunteers from Iraq and abroad. However, Al-Qaeda in Iraq more than doubled in strength, from 1,000 to 2,500 fighters, after the US withdrawal from Iraq in late 2011.
In 2007, some observers and scholars suggested that the threat posed by AQI was being exaggerated and that a “heavy focus on al-Qaeda obscures a much more complicated situation on the ground”. According to the July 2007 National Intelligence Estimate and the Defense Intelligence Agency reports, AQI accounted for 15% percent of attacks in Iraq. However, the Congressional Research Service noted in its September 2007 report that attacks from al-Qaeda were less than 2% of the violence in Iraq. It criticized the Bush administration’s statistics, noting that its false reporting of insurgency attacks as AQI attacks had increased since the surge operations began in 2007. In March 2007, the US-sponsored Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty analyzed AQI attacks for that month and concluded that the group had taken credit for 43 out of 439 attacks on Iraqi security forces and Shia militias, and 17 out of 357 attacks on US troops.
According to the 2006 US Government report, this group was most clearly associated with foreign jihadist cells operating in Iraq and had specifically targeted international forces and Iraqi citizens; most of Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)’s operatives were not Iraqi, but were coming through a series of safe houses, the largest of which was on the Iraq-Syrian border. AQI’s operations were predominately Iraq-based, but the United States Department of State alleged that the group maintained an extensive logistical network throughout the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Europe. In a June 2008 CNN special report, Al-Qaeda in Iraq was called “a well-oiled … organization … almost as pedantically bureaucratic as was Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party”, collecting new execution videos long after they stopped publicising them, and having a network of spies even in the US military bases. According to the report, Iraqis—many of them former members of Hussein’s secret services—were now effectively running Al-Qaeda in Iraq, with “foreign fighters’ roles” seeming to be “mostly relegated to the cannon fodder of suicide attacks”, although the organization’s top leadership was still dominated by non-Iraqis.
The Islamic State of Iraq captured and subsequently killed three US soldiers in May 2007
The high-profile attacks linked to the group continued through early 2007, as AQI claimed responsibility for attacks such as the March assassination attempt on Sunni Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq Salam al-Zaubai, the April Iraqi Parliament bombing, and the May capture and subsequent execution of three American soldiers. Also in May, ISI leader al-Baghdadi was declared to have been killed in Baghdad, but his death was later denied by the insurgents; later, al-Baghdadi was even declared by the US to be non-existent. There were conflicting reports regarding the fate of al-Masri. From March to August, coalition forces fought the Battle of Baqubah as part of the largely successful attempts to wrest the Diyala Governorate from AQI-aligned forces. Through 2007, the majority of suicide bombings targeting civilians in Iraq were routinely identified by military and government sources as being the responsibility of al-Qaeda and its associated groups, even when there was no claim of responsibility, as was the case in the 2007 Yazidi communities bombings, which killed some 800 people in the deadliest terrorist attack in Iraq to date.
By late 2007, violent and indiscriminate attacks directed by rogue AQI elements against Iraqi civilians had severely damaged their image and caused loss of support among the population, thus isolating the group. In a major blow to AQI, many former Sunni militants who had previously fought alongside the group started to work with the American forces (see also below). The US troops surge supplied the military with more manpower for operations targeting the group, resulting in dozens of high-level AQI members being captured or killed. Al-Qaeda seemed to have lost its foothold in Iraq and appeared to be severely crippled. Accordingly, the bounty issued for al-Masri was eventually cut from $5 million to $100,000 in April 2008.
As of 2008, a series of US and Iraqi offensives managed to drive out the AQI-aligned insurgents from their former safe havens, such as the Diyala and Al Anbar governorates and the embattled capital of Baghdad, to the area of the northern city of Mosul, the latest of the Iraq War’s major battlegrounds. The struggle for control of Ninawa Governorate—the Ninawa campaign—was launched in January 2008 by US and Iraqi forces as part of the large-scale Operation Phantom Phoenix, which was aimed at combating al-Qaeda activity in and around Mosul, and finishing off the network’s remnants in central Iraq that had escaped Operation Phantom Thunder in 2007. In Baghdad a pet market was bombed in February 2008 and a shopping centre was bombed in March 2008, killing at least 98 and 68 people respectively; AQI were the suspected perpetrators.
US soldiers and Sunni Arab tribesmen scan for enemy activity in a farm field in southern Arab Jibor, January 2008
AQI has long raised money, running into tens of millions of dollars, from kidnappings for ransom, car theft—sometimes killing drivers in the process—hijacking fuel trucks and other activities. According to an April 2007 statement by their Islamic Army in Iraq rivals, AQI was demanding jizya tax and killing members of wealthy families when it was not paid. According to both US and Iraqi sources, in May 2008 AQI was stepping up its fundraising campaigns as its strictly militant capabilities were on the wane, with especially lucrative activity said to be oil operations centered on the industrial city of Bayji. According to US military intelligence sources, in 2008 the group resembled a “Mafia-esque criminal gang”.
Conflicts with other groups
See also: Awakening movements in Iraq and Islamic Army-al-Qaeda conflict
The first reports of a split and even armed clashes between Al-Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni groups date back to 2005. In the summer of 2006, local Sunni tribes and insurgent groups, including the prominent Islamist-nationalist group Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI), began to speak of their dissatisfaction with al-Qaeda and its tactics, openly criticizing the foreign fighters for their deliberate targeting of Iraqi civilians. In September 2006, 30 Anbar tribes formed their own local alliance called the Anbar Salvation Council (ASC), which was directed specifically at countering al-Qaeda-allied terrorist forces in the province, and they openly sided with the government and the US troops.
By the beginning of 2007, Sunni tribes and nationalist insurgents had begun battling with their former allies in AQI in order to retake control of their communities. In early 2007, forces allied to Al-Qaeda in Iraq committed a series of attacks on Sunnis critical of the group, including the February 2007 attack in which scores of people were killed when a truck bomb exploded near a Sunni mosque in Fallujah.
Al-Qaeda supposedly played a role in the assassination of the leader of the Anbar-based insurgent group 1920 Revolution Brigade, the military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement. In April 2007, the IAI spokesman accused the ISI of killing at least 30 members of the IAI, as well as members of the Jamaat Ansar al-Sunna and Mujahideen Army insurgent groups, and called on Osama bin Laden to intervene personally to rein in Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The following month, the government announced that AQI leader al-Masri had been killed by ASC fighters. Four days later, AQI released an audio tape in which a man claiming to be al-Masri warned Sunnis not to take part in the political process; he also said that reports of internal fighting between Sunni militia groups were “lies and fabrications”. Later in May, the US forces announced the release of dozens of Iraqis who were tortured by AQI as a part of the group’s intimidation campaign.
By June 2007, the growing hostility between foreign-influenced jihadists and Sunni nationalists had led to open gun battles between the groups in Baghdad. The Islamic Army soon reached a ceasefire agreement with AQI, but refused to sign on to the ISI. There were reports that Hamas of Iraq insurgents were involved in assisting US troops in their Diyala Governorate operations against Al-Qaeda in August 2007. In September 2007, AQI claimed responsibility for the assassination of three people including the prominent Sunni sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, leader of the Anbar “Awakening council”. That same month, a suicide attack on a mosque in the city of Baqubah killed 28 people, including members of Hamas of Iraq and the 1920 Revolution Brigade, during a meeting at the mosque between tribal and guerilla leaders and the police. Meanwhile, the US military began arming moderate insurgent factions when they promised to fight Al-Qaeda in Iraq instead of the Americans.
By December 2007, the strength of the “Awakening” movement irregulars—also called “Concerned Local Citizens” and “Sons of Iraq”—was estimated at 65,000–80,000 fighters. Many of them were former insurgents, including alienated former AQI supporters, and they were now being armed and paid by the Americans specifically to combat al-Qaeda’s presence in Iraq. As of July 2007, this highly controversial strategy proved to be effective in helping to secure the Sunni districts of Baghdad and the other hotspots of central Iraq, and to root out the al-Qaeda-aligned militants.
By 2008, the ISI was describing itself as being in a state of “extraordinary crisis”, which was attributable to a number of factors, notably the Anbar Awakening.
Transformation and resurgence
In early 2009, US forces began pulling out of cities across the country, turning over the task of maintaining security to the Iraqi Army, the Iraqi Police Service and their paramilitary allies. Experts and many Iraqis were worried that in the absence of US soldiers the ISI might resurface and attempt mass-casualty attacks to destabilize the country. There was indeed a spike in the number of suicide attacks, and through mid- and late 2009, the ISI rebounded in strength and appeared to be launching a concerted effort to cripple the Iraqi government. During August and October 2009, the ISI claimed responsibility for four bombings targeting five government buildings in Baghdad, including attacks that killed 101 at the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Finance in August and 155 at the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works in September; these were the deadliest attacks directed at the new government in more than six years of war. These attacks represented a shift away from the group’s previous efforts to incite sectarian violence, although a series of suicide attacks in April targeted mainly Iranian Shia pilgrims, killing 76, and in June, a mosque bombing in Taza killed at least 73 Shias from the Turkmen ethnic minority.
In late 2009, the commander of the US forces in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, stated that the ISI “has transformed significantly in the last two years. What once was dominated by foreign individuals has now become more and more dominated by Iraqi citizens”. Odierno’s comments reinforced accusations by the government of Nouri al-Maliki that al-Qaeda and ex-Ba’athists were working together to undermine improved security and sabotage the planned Iraqi parliamentary elections in 2010. On 18 April 2010, the ISI’s two top leaders, Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, were killed in a joint US-Iraqi raid near Tikrit. In a press conference in June 2010, General Odierno reported that 80% of the ISI’s top 42 leaders, including recruiters and financiers, had been killed or captured, with only eight remaining at large. He said that they had been cut off from Al Qaeda’s leadership in Pakistan, and that improved intelligence had enabled the successful mission in April that led to the killing of al-Masri and al-Baghdadi; in addition, the number of attacks and casualty figures in Iraq for the first five months of 2010 were the lowest since 2003. In May 2011, the Islamic State of Iraq’s “emir of Baghdad” Huthaifa al-Batawi, captured during the crackdown after the 2010 Baghdad church attack in which 68 people died, was killed during an attempted prison break, during which an Iraqi general and several others were also killed.
On 16 May 2010, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was appointed the new leader of the Islamic State of Iraq; he had previously been the general supervisor of the group’s provincial sharia committees and a member of its senior consultative council. Al-Baghdadi replenished the group’s leadership, many of whom had been killed or captured, by appointing former Ba’athist military and intelligence officers who had served during the Saddam Hussein regime. These men, nearly all of whom had spent time imprisoned by American forces, came to make up about one-third of Baghdadi’s top 25 commanders. One of them was a former Colonel, Samir al-Khlifawi, also known as Haji Bakr, who became the overall military commander in charge of overseeing the group’s operations.
In July 2012, al-Baghdadi’s first audio statement was released online. In this he announced that the group was returning to the former strongholds that US troops and their Sunni allies had driven them from prior to the withdrawal of US troops. He also declared the start of a new offensive in Iraq called Breaking the Walls which would focus on freeing members of the group held in Iraqi prisons. Violence in Iraq began to escalate that month, and in the following year the group carried out 24 waves of VBIED attacks and eight prison breaks. By July 2013, monthly fatalities had exceeded 1,000 for the first time since April 2008. The Breaking the Walls campaign culminated in July 2013, with the group carrying out simultaneous raids on Taji and Abu Ghraib prison, freeing more than 500 prisoners, many of them veterans of the Iraqi insurgency.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was declared a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on 4 October 2011 by the US State Department, with an announced reward of US$10 million for information leading to his capture or death.
As Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (2013–2014)
Declaration and dispute with al-Nusra Front
In March 2011, protests began in Syria against the government of Bashar al-Assad. In the following month violence between demonstrators and security forces led to a gradual militarisation of the conflict. In August 2011, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi began sending Syrian and Iraqi ISI members, experienced in guerilla warfare, across the border into Syria to establish an organization inside the country. Led by a Syrian known as Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani, the group began to recruit fighters and establish cells throughout the country. On 23 January 2012, the group announced its formation as Jabhat al-Nusra l’Ahl as-Sham—Jabhat al-Nusra—more commonly known as al-Nusra Front. Al-Nusra rapidly expanded into a capable fighting force with a level of popular support among opposition supporters in Syria.
In April 2013, al-Baghdadi released an audio statement in which he announced that al-Nusra Front had been established, financed and supported by the Islamic State of Iraq and that the two groups were merging under the name “Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham”. Al-Jawlani issued a statement denying the merger and complaining that neither he nor anyone else in al-Nusra’s leadership had been consulted about it. In June 2013, Al Jazeera reported that it had obtained a letter written by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, addressed to both leaders, in which he ruled against the merger and appointed an emissary to oversee relations between them and put an end to tensions. In the same month, al-Baghdadi released an audio message rejecting al-Zawahiri’s ruling and declaring that the merger was going ahead. In October 2013, al-Zawahiri ordered the disbanding of ISIS, putting al-Nusra Front in charge of jihadist efforts in Syria, but al-Baghdadi contested al-Zawahiri’s ruling on the basis of Islamic jurisprudence and the group continued to operate in Syria. In February 2014, after an eight-month power struggle, al-Qaeda disavowed any relations with ISIS.
According to journalist Sarah Birke, there are “significant differences” between al-Nusra Front and ISIS. While al-Nusra actively calls for the overthrow of the Assad government, ISIS “tends to be more focused on establishing its own rule on conquered territory”. ISIS is “far more ruthless” in building an Islamic state, “carrying out sectarian attacks and imposing sharia law immediately”, she said. While al-Nusra has a “large contingent of foreign fighters”, it is seen as a home-grown group by many Syrians; by contrast, ISIS fighters have been described as “foreign ‘occupiers'” by many Syrian refugees. It has a strong presence in mid- and northern Syria, where it has instituted sharia in a number of towns. The group reportedly controlled the four border towns of Atmeh, al-Bab, Azaz and Jarablus, allowing it to control the exit and entrance from Syria into Turkey. Foreign fighters in Syria include Russian-speaking jihadists who were part of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (JMA). In November 2013, the JMA’s ethnic Chechen leader Abu Omar al-Shishani swore an oath of allegiance to al-Baghdadi; the group then split between those who followed al-Shishani in joining ISIS and those who continued to operate independently in the JMA under a new leadership.
In May 2014, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri ordered al-Nusra Front to stop attacks on its rival ISIS. In June 2014, after continued fighting between the two groups, al-Nusra’s branch in the Syrian town of al-Bukamal pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Conflicts with other groups
See also: Inter-rebel conflict during the Syrian Civil War
In Syria, rebels affiliated with the Islamic Front and the Free Syrian Army launched an offensive against ISIS militants in and around Aleppo in January 2014.
Suggested ties with the Syrian government
In January 2014, The Daily Telegraph said that Western “intelligence sources” believed that the Syrian government made secret oil deals with ISIS and al-Nusra Front, alleging that the militants were funding their campaign by selling crude oil to the regime from the fields they have captured.
As Islamic State (2014–present)
On 29 June 2014, ISIS removed “Iraq and the Levant” from its name and began to refer to itself as the Islamic State, declaring the territory under its control a new caliphate and naming Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its caliph.
On the first night of Ramadan, Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani al-Shami, spokesperson for ISIS, described the establishment of the caliphate as “a dream that lives in the depths of every Muslim believer” and “the abandoned obligation of the era”. He said that the group’s ruling Shura Council had decided to establish the caliphate formally and that Muslims around the world should now pledge their allegiance to the new caliph.
The declaration of a caliphate has been criticized and ridiculed by Muslim scholars and rival Islamists inside and outside the occupied territory.
Analysts observed that dropping the reference to region reflected a widening of the group’s scope, and Laith Alkhouri, a terrorism analyst, thought that after capturing many areas in Syria and Iraq, ISIS felt this was a suitable opportunity to take control of the global jihadist movement. A week before its change of name to the Islamic State, ISIS had captured the Trabil crossing on the Jordan–Iraq border, the only border crossing between the two countries.
ISIS has received some public support in Jordan, albeit limited, partly owing to state repression there. Raghad Hussein, the daughter of Saddam Hussein now living in opulent asylum in Jordan, has publicly expressed support for the advance of ISIS in Iraq, reflecting the Ba’athist alliance of convenience with ISIS with the goal of return to power in Bagdad. ISIS undertook a recruitment drive in Saudi Arabia, where tribes in the north are linked to those in western Iraq and eastern Syria.
In June and July 2014, Jordan and Saudi Arabia moved troops to their borders with Iraq after Iraq lost control of, or withdrew from, strategic crossing points, which were thence under ISIS’s command. There was speculation that al-Maliki had ordered a withdrawal of troops from the Iraq–Saudi crossings in order “to increase pressure on Saudi Arabia and bring the threat of Isis over-running its borders as well”.
After the group captured Kurdish-controlled territory and massacred Yazidis, the US launched a humanitarian mission and aerial bombing campaign against ISIS.
In July 2014, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau declared support for the new Calpihate and Caliph Ibrahim. In August, Abubakar Shekau announced that Boko Haram had captured the Nigerian town of Gwoza in the name of the Caliphate. Shekau announced: “Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brothers in Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate”. This announcement appears to be unilateral.
The moderate rebels in the Free Syrian Army had been backed by the United States with weapons and training, but in August 2014, a high-level commander in the Islamic State stated: “In the East of Syria, there is no Free Syrian Army any longer. All Free Syrian Army people [there] have joined the Islamic State”. The Islamic State recruited more than 6,300 fighters in July 2014 alone, many of them coming from the Free Syrian Army.
Human rights abuses
ISIS compels people in the areas it controls, under the penalty of death, torture or mutilation, to declare Islamic creed, and live according to its interpretation of Sunni Islam and sharia law. It directs violence against Shia Muslims, indigenous Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac and Armenian Christians, Yazidis, Druze, Shabaks and Mandeans in particular.
War crimes accusations
The BBC reported the UN’s chief investigator as stating: “Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) may be added to a list of war crimes suspects in Syria.”
Treatment of civilians
During the Iraqi conflict in 2014, ISIS released dozens of videos showing its ill treatment of civilians, many of whom had apparently been targeted on the basis of their religion or ethnicity. Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned of war crimes occurring in the Iraqi war zone, and disclosed one UN report of ISIS militants murdering Iraqi Army soldiers and 17 civilians in a single street in Mosul. The United Nations reported that in the 17 days from 5 to 22 June, ISIS killed more than 1,000 Iraqi civilians and injured more than 1,000. After ISIS released photographs of its fighters shooting scores of young men, the United Nations declared that cold-blooded “executions” said to have been carried out by militants in northern Iraq almost certainly amounted to war crimes.
ISIS’s advance in Iraq in mid-2014 was accompanied by continuing violence in Syria. On 29 May, a village in Syria was raided by ISIS and at least 15 civilians were killed, including, according to Human Rights Watch, at least six children. A hospital in the area confirmed that it had received 15 bodies on the same day. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that on 1 June, a 102-year-old man was killed along with his whole family in a village in Hama.
ISIS has recruited to its ranks Iraqi children, who can be seen with masks on their faces and guns in their hands patrolling the streets of Mosul.
Sexual violence allegations
According to one report, ISIS’s capture of Iraqi cities in June 2014 was accompanied by an upsurge in crimes against women, including kidnap and rape. The Guardian reported that ISIS’s extremist agenda extended to women’s bodies and that women living under their control were being captured and raped. Hannaa Edwar, a leading women’s rights advocate in Baghdad who runs an NGO called al-Amal, said that none of her contacts in Mosul were able to confirm any cases of rape; however, another Baghdad-based women’s rights activist, Basma al-Khateeb, said that a culture of violence existed in Iraq against women generally and felt sure that sexual violence against women was happening in Mosul involving not only ISIS but all armed groups. During a meeting with Nouri al-Maliki, CyprusBritish Foreign Minister William Hague said with regard to ISIS: “Anyone glorifying, supporting or joining it should understand that they would be assisting a group responsible for kidnapping, torture, executions, rape and many other hideous crimes”. According to Martin Williams in The Citizen, some hard-line Salafists apparently regard extramarital sex with multiple partners as a legitimate form of holy war and it is “difficult to reconcile this with a religion where some adherents insist that women must be covered from head to toe, with only a narrow slit for the eyes”. Yezidi girls in Iraq were allegedly raped by ISIS fighters and subsequently committed suicide, as described in a witness statement recorded by Rudaw.
Guidelines for civilians
After the self-proclaimed Islamic State captured cities in Iraq, ISIS issued guidelines on how to wear clothes and veils. ISIS warned women in the city of Mosul to wear full-face veils or face severe punishment. A cleric told Reuters in Mosul that ISIS gunmen had ordered him to read out the warning in his mosque when worshippers gathered. ISIS also banned naked mannequins and ordered the faces of both male and female mannequins to be covered. ISIS released 16 notes labeled “Contract of the City”, a set of rules aimed at civilians in Nineveh. One rule stipulated that women should stay at home and not go outside unless necessary. Another rule said that stealing would be punished by amputation.
Christians living in areas under ISIS control who wanted to remain in the “caliphate” faced three options: converting to Islam, paying a religious levy—jizya—or death. “We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract – involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword”, ISIS said. ISIS had already set similar rules for Christians in Ar-Raqqah, Syria, once one of the nation’s most liberal cities.
Timeline of events
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The Al-Askari Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Shia Islam, after the first attack by Al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2006
• The group was founded in 2003 as a reaction to the American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. Its first leader was the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who declared allegiance to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network on 17 October 2004. Foreign fighters from outside Iraq were thought to play a key role in its network. The group became a primary target of the Iraqi government and its foreign supporters, and attacks between these groups resulted in more than 1,000 deaths every year between 2004 and 2010.
• The Islamic State of Iraq made clear its belief that targeting civilians was an acceptable strategy and it has been responsible for thousands of civilian deaths since 2004. In September 2005, al-Zarqawi declared war on Shia Muslims and the group used bombings—especially suicide bombings in public places—massacres and executions to carry out terrorist attacks on Shia-dominated and mixed sectarian neighbourhoods. Suicide attacks by the ISI also killed hundreds of Sunni civilians, which engendered widespread anger among Sunnis.
• Between late 2006 and May 2007, the ISI brought the Dora neighborhood of southern Baghdad under its control. Numerous Christian families left, unwilling to pay the jizya tax. US efforts to drive out the ISI presence stalled in late June 2007, despite streets being walled off and the use of biometric identification technology. By November 2007, the ISI had been removed from Dora, and Assyrian churches could be re-opened.[not in citation given] In 2007 alone the ISI killed around 2,000 civilians, making that year the most violent in its campaign against the civilian population of Iraq.
• 9 March: The Interior Ministry of Iraq said that Abu Omar al-Baghdadi had been captured in Baghdad, but it was later said that the person in question was not al-Baghdadi.
• 19 April: The organization announced that it had set up a provisional government termed “the first Islamic administration” of post-invasion Iraq. The “emirate” was stated to be headed by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and his “cabinet” of ten “ministers”.
Name (English transliteration) and notable pseudonyms
Arabic name Post Notes
Abu Omar al-Baghdadi
d. 18 April 2010
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Qurashi (aka Abu Du’a)
أبو عمر البغدادي، أبو بكر البغدادي Emir
Abu Du’a, also known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is the second leader of the group.
Abu Abdullah al-Husseini al-Qurashi al-Baghdadi
Abu Abdul Rahman al-Falahi
أبو عبد الرحمن الفلاحي
ʾAbū ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān al-Falāḥī “First Minister” (Prime Minister)
Abu Hamza al-Muhajir (aka Abu Ayyub al-Masri)
d. 18 April 2010
Al-Nasser Lideen Allah Abu Suleiman (aka Neaman Salman Mansour al Zaidi)
أبو حمزة المهاجر War
Identity of al-Muhajir with al-Masri suspected. ISI only used former name. Abu Suleiman is the second minister of war.
Abu Uthman al-Tamimi
أبو عثمان التميمي
ʾAbū ʿUṯmān at-Tamīmī Sharia affairs
Abu Bakr al-Jabouri
(aka Muharib Abdul-Latif al-Jabouri)
d. 1/2 May 2007 أبو بكر الجبوري
ʾAbū Bakr al-Ǧabūrī
(aka محارب عبد اللطيف الجبوري
Muḥārib ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Ǧabūrī) Public Relations Common spelling variants: al-Jubouri, al-Jiburi.
Abu Abdul Jabar al-Janabi
أبو عبد الجبار الجنابي Security
Abu Muhammad al-Mashadani
أبو محمد المشهداني
ʾAbū Muḥammad al-Mašhadānī Information
Abu Abdul Qadir al-Eissawi
أبو عبد القادر العيساوي
ʾAbū ʿAbd al-Qādir al-ʿĪsāwī Martyrs and Prisoners Affairs
Abu Ahmed al-Janabi
أبو أحمد الجنابي
ʾAbū ʾAḥmad al-Ǧanābī Oil
Muṣṭafā al-ʾAʿraǧī Agriculture and Fisheries
Abu Abdullah al-Zabadi
أبو عبد الله الزيدي Health
Mohammed Khalil al-Badria
محمد خليل البدرية
Muḥammad Ḫalīl al-Badriyyah Education Announced on 3 September 2007
The names listed above are all considered to be noms de guerre.
• 3 May: Iraqi sources claimed that Abu Omar al-Baghdadi had been killed a short time earlier. According to the The Long War Journal, no evidence was provided to support this and US sources remained skeptical. The Islamic State of Iraq released a statement later that day which denied his death.
• 12 May: In what was apparently the same incident, it was announced that “Minister of Public Relations” Abu Bakr al-Jabouri had been killed on 12 May 2007 near Taji.[verification needed] The exact circumstances of the incident remain unknown. The initial version of the events at Taji, as given by the Iraqi Interior Ministry, was that there had been a shoot-out between rival Sunni militias. Coalition and Iraqi government operations were apparently being conducted in the same area at about the same time and later sources implied that they were directly involved, with al-Jabouri being killed while resisting arrest. (See Abu Omar al-Baghdadi for details.)
• 12 May: The ISI issued a press release claiming responsibility for an ambush at Al Taqa, Babil on 12 May 2007, in which one Iraqi soldier and four US 10th Mountain Division soldiers were killed. Three soldiers of the US unit were captured and one was found dead in the Euphrates 11 days later. After a 4,000-man hunt by the US and allied forces ended without success, the ISI released a video in which it was claimed that the other two soldiers had been killed and buried, but no direct proof was given. Their bodies were found a year later.
• 18 June: The US launched Operation Arrowhead Ripper, as “a large-scale effort to eliminate Al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating in Baquba and its surrounding areas”. (See also Diyala province campaign.)
• 25 June: The suicide bombing of a meeting of Al Anbar tribal leaders and officials at Mansour Hotel, Baghdad killed 13 people, including six Sunni sheikhs and other prominent figures. This was proclaimed by the ISI to have been in retaliation for the rape of a Sunni woman by Iraqi police. Security at the hotel, which is 100 meters outside the Green Zone, was provided by a British contractor which had apparently hired guerrilla fighters to provide physical security.[not in citation given] There were allegations that an Egyptian Islamist group may have been responsible for the bombing, but this has never been proven.
• In July, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi released an audio tape in which he issued an ultimatum to Iran. He said: “We are giving the Persians, and especially the rulers of Iran, a two-month period to end all kinds of support for the Iraqi Shia government and to stop direct and indirect intervention … otherwise a severe war is waiting for you.” He also warned Arab states against doing business with Iran. Iran supports the Iraqi government which many see as anti-Sunni.
• Resistance to coalition operations in Baqubah turned out to be less than anticipated. In early July, US Army sources suggested that any ISI leadership in the area had largely relocated elsewhere in early June 2007, before the start of Operation Arrowhead Ripper.
• In the 25 October 2009 Baghdad bombings 155 people were killed and at least 721 were injured, and in the 8 December 2009 Baghdad bombings at least 127 people were killed and 448 were injured. The ISI claimed responsibility for both attacks.
• The ISI claimed responsibility for the 25 January 2010 Baghdad bombings that killed 41 people, and the 4 April 2010 Baghdad bombings that killed 42 people and injured 224. On 17 June 2010, the group claimed responsibility for an attack on the Central Bank of Iraq that killed 18 people and wounded 55. On 19 August 2010, in a statement posted on a website often used by Islamist radicals, the ISI claimed responsibility for the 17 August 2010 Baghdad bombings. It also claimed responsibility for the bombings in October 2010.[verification needed]
• According to the SITE Institute, the ISI claimed responsibility for the 2010 Baghdad church attack that took place during a Sunday Mass on 31 October 2010.
• 8 February 2011: According to the SITE Institute, a statement of support for Egyptian protesters—which appears to have been the first reaction of any group affiliated with al-Qaeda to the protests in Egypt during the 2011 Arab Spring Movement—was issued by the Islamic State of Iraq on jihadist forums. The message addressed to the protesters was that the “market of jihad” had opened in Egypt, that “the doors of martyrdom had opened”, and that every able-bodied man must participate. It urged Egyptians to ignore the “ignorant deceiving ways” of secularism, democracy and “rotten pagan nationalism”. “Your jihad”, it went on, is in support of Islam and the weak and oppressed in Egypt, for “your people” in Gaza and Iraq, and “for every Muslim” who has been “touched by the oppression of the tyrant of Egypt and his masters in Washington and Tel Aviv”.
• In a four-month process ending in October 2011, the Syrian government reportedly released imprisoned Islamic radicals and provided them with arms “in order to make itself the least bad choice for the international community.”
• 23 July 2012: About 32 attacks occurred across Iraq, killing 116 people and wounding 299. The ISI claimed responsibility for the attacks, which took the form of bombings and shootings.
• In August 2012, two Iraqi refugees who have resided in Kentucky were accused of assisting AQI by sending funds and weapons; one has pleaded guilty.
This section may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia’s quality standards. You can help. The discussion page may contain suggestions. (June 2014)
2012–14 Iraqi protests: Iraqi Sunni demonstrators protesting against the Shia-led government.
• Starting in April 2013, the group made rapid military gains in controlling large parts of Northern Syria, where the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights described them as “the strongest group”.
• 11 May: Two car bombs exploded in the town of Reyhanlı in Hatay Province, Turkey. At least 51 people were killed and 140 injured in the attack. The attack was the deadliest single act of terrorism ever to take place on Turkish soil. Along with the Syrian intelligence service, ISIS was suspected of carrying out the bombing attack.
• By 12 May, nine Turkish citizens, who were alleged to have links with Syria’s intelligence service, had been detained. On 21 May 2013, the Turkish authorities charged the prime suspect, according to the state-run Anatolia news agency. Four other suspects were also charged and 12 people had been charged in total.[clarification needed] All suspects were Turkish nationals whom Ankara believed were backed by the Syrian government.
• In July, Free Syrian Army battalion chief Kamal Hamami—better known by his nom de guerre Abu Bassir Al-Jeblawi—was killed by the group’s Coastal region emir after his convoy was stopped at an ISIS checkpoint in Latakia’s rural northern highlands. Al-Jeblawi was traveling to visit the Al-Izz Bin Abdulsalam Brigade operating in the region when ISIS members refused his passage, resulting in an exchange of fire in which Al-Jeblawi received a fatal gunshot wound.
• Also in July, ISIS organised a mass break-out of its members being held in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. British newspaper The Guardian reported that over 500 prisoners escaped, including senior commanders of the group. ISIS issued an online statement claiming responsibility for the prison break, describing the operation as involving 12 car bombs, numerous suicide bombers and mortar and rocket fire. It was described as the culmination of a one-year campaign called “destroying the walls”, which was launched on 21 July 2012 by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi; the aim was to replenish the group’s ranks with comrades released from the prison.
• In early August, ISIS led the final assault in the Siege of Menagh Air Base.
• In September, members of the group kidnapped and killed the Ahrar ash-Sham commander Abu Obeida Al-Binnishi, after he had intervened to protect members of a Malaysian Islamic charity; ISIS had mistaken their Malaysian flag for that of the United States.
• Also in September, ISIS overran the Syrian town of Azaz, taking it from an FSA-affiliated rebel brigade. ISIS members had attempted to kidnap a German doctor working in Azaz. In November 2013, Today’s Zaman, an English-language newspaper in Turkey, reported that Turkish authorities were on high alert, with the authorities saying that they had detailed information on ISIS’s plans to carry out suicide bombings in major cities in Turkey, using seven explosive-laden cars being constructed in Ar-Raqqah.
• From 30 September, several Turkish media websites reported that ISIS had accepted responsibility for the attack and had threatened further attacks on Turkey.
• In November, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated: “ISIS is the strongest group in Northern Syria—100%—and anyone who tells you anything else is lying.”
• In December, there were reports of fighting between ISIS and another Islamic rebel group, Ahrar ash-Sham, in the town of Maskana, Aleppo in Syria.
See also: Anbar clashes (2013–14), Northern Iraq offensive (June 2014), Northern Iraq offensive (August 2014) and 2014 American intervention in Iraq
Current military situation (August 2014):
Controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
Controlled by other Syrian rebels
Controlled by Syrian government
Controlled by Iraqi government
Controlled by Syrian Kurds
Controlled by Iraqi Kurds
• 3 January: ISIS is proclaimed an Islamic state in Fallujah. After prolonged tensions, the newly formed Army of Mujahedeen, the Free Syrian Army and the Islamic Front launched an offensive against ISIS-held territory in the Syrian provinces of Aleppo and Idlib. A spokesman for the rebels said that rebels had attacked ISIS in up to 80% of all ISIS-held villages in Idlib and 65% of those in Aleppo.
• 4 January: ISIS claimed responsibility for the car-bomb attack on 2 January that killed four people and wounded dozens in the southern Beirut suburb of Haret Hreik, a Hezbollah bastion.
• By 6 January, Syrian rebels had managed to expel ISIS forces from the city of Ar-Raqqah, ISIS’s largest stronghold and capital of Ar-Raqqah province. Several weeks later ISIS took the city back.
• 8 January: Syrian rebels expelled most ISIS forces from the city of Aleppo. However, ISIS reinforcements from Deir ez-Zor province managed to retake several neighborhoods of the city of Ar-Raqqah. By mid-January ISIS fighters had retaken the entire city of Ar-Raqqah, while rebels expelled ISIS fighters fully from Aleppo city and the villages west of it.
• 25 January: ISIS announced the creation of its new Lebanese arm, pledging to fight the Shia militant group Hezbollah and its supporters in Lebanon.
• 29 January: Turkish aircraft near the border fired on an ISIS convoy inside Aleppo province in Syria, killing 11 ISIS fighters and one ISIS emir.
• 30 January: ISIS fired on border patrol soldiers in Turkey. The Turkish Army retaliated with Panter howitzers and destroyed the ISIS convoy.
• In late January, it was confirmed that Syrian rebels had assassinated ISIS’s second-in-command, Haji Bakr, who was al-Qaeda’s military council head and a former military officer in Saddam Hussein’s army.
• 3 February: al-Qaeda’s general command broke off its links with ISIS, reportedly to concentrate the Islamist effort on unseating President Bashar al-Assad.
• By mid-February, the al-Nusra Front had joined the battle in support of rebel forces, and expelled ISIS forces from Deir ez-Zor province in Syria.
• By March, ISIS forces had fully retreated from Syria’s Idlib province after battles against the Syrian rebels.
• 4 March: ISIS retreated from the Aleppo province–Turkey border town of Azaz and nearby villages, choosing instead to consolidate around Ar-Raqqah, in anticipation of an escalation of fighting with al-Nusra.
• 8 March: During an interview with French television channel France 24, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of openly funding ISIS.
• 20 March: In Niğde city in Turkey, three ethnic Albanian members of ISIS—Benjamin Xu, Çendrim Ramadani and Muhammed Zakiri—opened fire while hijacking a truck which killed one police officer and one gendarmerie officer and wounded five people. Shortly after their arrest, Polis Özel Harekat teams launched a series of operations against ISIS in İstanbul. Police found documents and an ISIS flag in one place and two Azerbaijanis were arrested.
• 27 April: Iraqi military helicopters reportedly attacked and destroyed an ISIS convoy of eight vehicles inside Syria. This may be the first time that Iraqi forces have struck outside their country since the Gulf War.
• 1 May: ISIS carried out a total of seven public executions in the city of Ar-Raqqah, in northern Syria. Pictures that emerged from the city show how ISIS had been carrying out public crucifixions in areas under its control. In most of these crucifixions, the victims were shot first and their bodies were then displayed, but there were also reports of crucifixions preceding the victims being shot or decapitated. In one case, a man was said to have been “crucified alive for eight hours,” but there was no indication of whether he died.
• In early June, following its large-scale offensives in Iraq, ISIS was reported to have seized control of most of Mosul, the second most populous city in Iraq, a large part of the surrounding Nineveh province, and the city of Fallujah. ISIS also took control of Tikrit, the administrative center of the Salah ad Din Governorate, with the ultimate goal of capturing Baghdad, the Iraqi capital. ISIS was believed to have only 2,000–3,000 fighters up until the Mosul campaign, but during that campaign, it became evident that this number was a gross underestimate.
• Also in June, there were reports that a number of Sunni groups in Iraq that were opposed to the predominantly Shia government had joined ISIS, thus bolstering the group’s numbers.[not in citation given] However, the Kurds—who are mostly Sunnis—in the northeast of Iraq, were unwilling to be drawn into the conflict, and there were clashes in the area between ISIS and the Kurdish Peshmerga.
• 5 June: ISIS militants stormed the city of Samarra, Iraq, before being ousted from the city by airstrikes mounted by the Iraqi military.
• 6 June: ISIS militants carried out multiple attacks in the city of Mosul, Iraq.
• 7 June: ISIS militants took over the University of Anbar in Ramadi, Iraq and held 1,300 students hostage, before being ousted by the Iraqi military.
• 9 June: Mosul fell to ISIS control. The militants seized control of government offices, the airport, and police stations. Militants also looted the Central Bank in Mosul, reportedly absconding with US$429 million. More than 500,000 people fled Mosul to escape ISIS. Mosul is a strategic city as it is at a crossroad between Syria and Iraq, and poses the threat of ISIS seizing control of oil production.
• 11 June: ISIS seized the Turkish consulate in the Iraqi city of Mosul, and kidnapped the head of the diplomatic mission and several staff members. ISIS seized the Iraqi city of Tikrit.
• 12 June: Human Rights Watch, an international human rights advocacy organization, issued a statement about the growing threat to civilians in Iraq.
• 13 June: Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed alarm at reports that ISIS fighters “have been actively seeking out—and in some cases killing—soldiers, police and others, including civilians, whom they perceive as being associated with the government.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad on 23 June 2014
• 15 June: ISIS militants captured the Iraqi city of Tal Afar, in the province of Nineveh. ISIS claimed that 1,700 Iraqi soldiers who had surrendered in the fighting had been killed, and released many images of mass executions via its Twitter feed and various websites.
• 22 June: ISIS militants captured two key crossings in Anbar, a day after seizing the border crossing at Al-Qaim, a town in a province which borders Syria. According to analysts, capturing these crossings could aid ISIS in transporting weapons and equipment to different battlefields.
• 24 June: The Syrian Air Force bombed ISIS positions in Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stated: “There was no coordination involved, but we welcome this action. We welcome any Syrian strike against Isis because this group targets both Iraq and Syria.”
• 25 June: The al-Nusra Front’s branch in the Syrian town of al-Bukamal pledged loyalty to ISIS, thus bringing months of fighting between the two groups to a close.
• 25 June: In an interview with the BBC Arabic service, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that Iraq had purchased used Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia and Belarus to battle ISIS militants, after delays in the delivery of F-16 fighters purchased from the US. “[If] we had air cover, we would have averted what happened”, he said.
• 26 June: Iraq launched its first counterattack against ISIS’s advance with an airborne assault designed to seize back control of Tikrit University.
• 28 June: The Jerusalem Post reported that the Obama administration had requested US$500 million from the US Congress to use in the training and arming of “moderate” Syrian rebels fighting against the Syrian government, in order to counter the growing threat posed by ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
• 29 June: ISIS announced the establishment of a new caliphate. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was appointed its caliph, and the group formally changed its name to the Islamic State.
Prophet Yunus Mosque before being destroyed.
• 2 July: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the new Islamic State, said that Muslims should unite to capture Rome in order to “own the world.” He called on Muslims the world over to unite behind him as their leader.
• 3 July: ISIS captured Syria’s largest oilfield from rival Islamist fighters, al-Nusra Front, who put up no resistance to the attack. Taking control of the al-Omar oilfield gave ISIS access to potentially useful crude oil reserves.
• 17 July: Syria’s Shaer gas field in the Homs Governorate was seized by the Islamic State. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 90 National Defence Force guards defending the field were killed, as were 21 ISIS fighters. The SOHR later put the death toll from the fighting and executions at 270 soldiers, militiamen and staff, and at least 40 ISIS fighters.
• 19 July: ISIS claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing which killed 33 people and left more than 50 wounded. The explosion occurred in Baghdad’s Kadhimiya district, which is the site of a major Shia shrine.
• 24 July: ISIS blew up the Mosque and tomb of the Prophet Yunus (Jonah) in Mosul, with no reported casualties. Residents in the area said that ISIS had erased a piece of Iraqi heritage. Johah’s tomb was also an important holy site in the Jewish heritage as well.
• 26 July: ISIS blew up the Nabi Shiyt (Prophet Seth) shrine in Mosul. Sami al-Massoudi, deputy head of the Shia endowment agency which oversees holy sites, confirmed the destruction and added that ISIS had taken artifacts from the shrine to an unknown location.
• 28 July: To mark the Muslim holy festival of Eid al-Fitr, which ends the period of Ramadan, ISIS released and circulated a 30-minute video showing graphic scenes of mass executions.
• The UN reported that of the 1,737 fatal casualties of the Iraq conflict during July, 1,186 were civilians.
President Obama delivers an update on the situation and US position on Iraq, authorizing airstrikes against ISIL and humanitarian aid for religious minorities trapped on a mountain.
• 1 August: The Indonesian BNPT (id) declared ISIS a terrorist organization.
• 2 August: The Iraqi Army confirmed that 37 loyalist fighters had died during combat with Islamic State militants south of Baghdad, and in Mosul. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) claimed that “hundreds” of IS militiamen had died in the action.
• 2 August: ISIS and its al-Nusra Front allies invade Lebanon in and around the town of Arsal, sparking a five day battle between them and the Lebanese army, who push ISIS back across the border into Syria. Over a hundred fighters were killed, and scores of civilians were killed or wounded.
• 3 August: IS fighters occupied the city of Zumar and an oilfield in the north of Iraq, after a battle against Kurdish forces.
• 5 August: Al Jazeera reported that an IS offensive in the Sinjar area of northern Iraq had forced 30,000–50,000 Yazidis to flee into the mountains, fearing they would be killed by the IS. They had been threatened with death if they refused conversion to Islam. A UN representative said that “a humanitarian tragedy is unfolding in Sinjar.” For more information see: Persecution of Yazidis by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
• 6 August: The Islamic State kidnapped 400 Yazidi women in Sinjar to sell them as sex slaves.
• 7 August: IS fighters took control of the town of Qaraqosh in the province of Nineveh in northern Iraq, which forced its large Christian population to flee.
• 7 August: President Obama authorized targeted airstrikes in Iraq against ISIS, along with airdrops of aid. The UK offered the US assistance with surveillance and refuelling, and planned humanitarian airdrops to Iraqi refugees.
• 8 August: The US asserted that the systematic destruction of the Yazidi people by the Islamic State was genocide. The US military launched indefinite airstrikes targeting Islamic State fighters, equipment and installations, with humanitarian aid support from the UK and France, in order to protect civilians in northern Iraq. The Islamic State had advanced to within 30 km of Erbil in northern Iraq. The UK is also considering joining the US in airstrikes.
• 10 August: France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that Iraq’s Kurds must be equipped to fight against ISIS and indicated that France would consider providing arms aid “in liaison with the Europeans”. Islamic State militants buried an unknown number of Yazidi women and children alive, in an attack that killed 500 people, in what has been described as ongoing genocide in northern Iraq.
• 11 August: The Arab League accused the Islamic State of committing crimes against humanity. The UK decided not to join the US in airstrikes and instead stepped up its humanitarian aid to refugees.
• 12 August: The parents of kidnapped American journalist James Foley received an email from his captors. The US announced that it would not extend its airstrikes against the Islamic State to areas outside northern Iraq, emphasizing that the objective of the airstrikes was to protect US diplomats in Erbil. The US and the UK airdropped 60,000 litres of water and 75,000 meals for stranded refugees. The Vatican called on religious leaders of all denominations, particularly Muslim leaders, to unite and condemn the IS for what it described as “heinous crimes” and the use of religion to justify them.
• 13 August: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Islamic State jihadists had seized control of six villages near the Turkish border in the northern province of Aleppo in Syria.
More than 10,000 Kurds in Hanover protest against the terror of ISIS in Iraq, 16 August 2014
• 15 August: The United Nations Security Council issued a resolution which “deplores and condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist acts of ISIL (Islamic State) and its violent extremist ideology, and its continued gross, systematic and widespread abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law.”
• 16 August: The Islamic State massacred 80 Yazidis. The EU agreed to supply Kurdish forces with arms, and US military forces continued to attack Islamic State fighters in the area around Iraq’s crucial Mosul Dam.
• 17 August: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the Islamic State had killed 700 members of the Syrian al-Sheitaat tribe, mostly civilians, after two weeks of clashes over the control of two oilfields in the region. Peshmerga troops, aided by the US air campaign, began an offensive to take back the strategic Mosul Dam from the Islamic State, amid fears that the destruction of the dam might unleash a 65-foot wave of water that could engulf the northern city of Mosul, and even flood Baghdad.
• 18 August: Pope Francis, leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, said that the international community would be justified in stopping Islamist militants in Iraq. He also said that it should not be up to a single nation to decide how to intervene in the conflict.
• 19 August: According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Islamic State now has an army of more than 50,000 fighters in Syria. American journalist James Foley was beheaded by the Islamic State on video tape.
• 20 August: US President Obama denounced the “brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group ISIL.”
• 21 August: The US military admitted that a covert rescue attempt involving dozens of US Special Operations forces had been made to rescue James Foley and other Americans held captive in Syria by Islamic State militants. The air and ground assault, involving the first known US military ground action inside Syria, had the authorization of President Barack Obama. The ensuing gunfight resulted in one US soldier being injured. The rescue was unsuccessful, as Foley and the other captives were not in the location targeted. This was the first known engagement by US ground forces with suspected Islamic State militants. The US Defense Secretary warned that the Islamic State were tremendously well-funded, adding, “They have no standard of decency, of responsible human behavior” and that they were an imminent threat to the US.
• 22 August: The US is considering airstrikes on ISIS in Syria, which would draw US military forces directly into the Syrian Civil War, as President Obama develops a long-term strategy to defeat the Islamic State.
• 28 August: The Islamic State beheaded a Lebanese Army soldier whom they had kidnapped. The group also beheaded a Kurdish Peshmerga fighter in response to Kurdistan’s alliance with the United States, and executed around 250 Syrian soldiers captured after the fall of Tabqa Air Base in Ar-Raqqah province. The soldiers had earlier been marched to their place of execution wearing just their underwear.
• 29 August: UK Prime Minister David Cameron raised the UK’s terror level to “severe” and committed to fight radical Islam “at home and abroad”.
• 31 August: Iraqi military forces supported by Shia militias and American airstrikes broke the two-month siege of the northern Iraqi town of Amerli by Islamic State militants. German Federal Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen announced that Germany will send enough weapons to arm 4,000 Peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq fighting Islamic State insurgents. The delivery to be scheduled in stages will include 16,000 assault rifles, 40 machine guns, 240 rocket-propelled grenades, 500 MILAN anti-tank missiles with 30 launchers and 10,000 hand grenades, with a total value of around 70 million euros. In order to assess the needs of the Peshmerga and prevent an excessive accumulation of arms, the Bundeswehr seconded six liaison officers to Erbil, who will report to Berlin.
• 1 September: The German government’s Cabinet decision to arm the Kurdish Peshmerga militia was ratified in the Bundestag by a “vast majority” of votes, after an emotional debate.
On the 2nd of September, a IS Fighter beheaded captured journalist Steven Sotloff. The video was uploaded and went viral Click here to View video – Graphic Material
Mugshot of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by US armed forces while in detention at Camp Bucca in 2004
• Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (killed in 2006)
• Abu Ayyub al-Masri (killed in 2010)
• Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi (killed in 2010)
• Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (caliph of the self-declared Islamic State)
• Abu Anas al-Shami (killed in 2004)
• Abu Azzam (killed in 2005)
• Abu Suleiman al-Naser
• Abu Omar al-Kurdi (captured in 2005)
• Abu Omar al-Shishani
• Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi (captured in 2006)
• Abu Yaqub al-Masri (killed in 2007)
• Abu Waheeb
• Haitham al-Badri (killed in 2007)
• Hamid Juma Faris Jouri al-Saeedi (captured in 2006)
• Khaled al-Mashhadani (captured in 2007)
• Mahir al-Zubaydi (killed in 2008)
• Douglas McCain (killed in 2014)
• Mohamed Moumou (killed in 2008)
• Sheik Abd-Al-Rahman (killed in 2006)
• Huthaifa al-Batawi (killed in 2011)
Designation as a terrorist organization
Country Date References
17 December 2004 
2 March 2005 
20 August 2012 
7 March 2014 
20 June 2014 
1 August 2014 
Also media sources worldwide have called IS a terrorist organization.
Syrian Civil War portal
• Northern Iraq offensive (June 2014)
• Northern Iraq offensive (August 2014)
• Anbar campaign (2013–14)
• Iraqi insurgency (post-US withdrawal)
• List of armed groups in the Syrian Civil War
• Spillover of the Syrian Civil War
• Battle of Sinjar
• 2014 American intervention in Iraq
1. The Islamic State was previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), alternately translated as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (referring to Greater Syria; Arabic: الدولة الاسلامية في العراق والشام ad-Dawlah l-ʾIslāmiyyah fī al-ʿIrāq wash-Shām). The group is also known by the Arabic acronym DAESH (Arabic: داعش Dāʿish). These names continue to be used colloquially.
2. According to classical Islamic sources, Hilf al-Mutayyabin was an oath of allegiance taken in pre-Islamic times by several clans of the Quraysh tribe, in which they undertook to protect the oppressed and the wronged. The name “oath of the scented ones” apparently derives from the fact that the participants sealed the oath by dipping their hands in perfume and then rubbing them over the Kaʻbah. This practice was later adopted by the Prophet Muhammad and incorporated into Islam.
3. During this ceremony, the participants declared: “We swear by Allah…that we will strive to free the prisoners of their shackles, to end the oppression to which the Sunnis are being subjected by the malicious Shi’ites and by the occupying Crusaders, to assist the oppressed and restore their rights even at the price of our own lives … to make Allah’s word supreme in the world, and to restore the glory of Islam…”
4. “Accordingly, the “Iraq and Shām” in the name of the Islamic State is henceforth removed from all official deliberations and communications, and the official name is the Islamic State from the date of this declaration.”
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• Fishman, Brian (2008). “Using the Mistakes of al Qaeda’s Franchises to Undermine Its Strategies”. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 618: 46–54. JSTOR 40375774.
• Kahl, Colin H. (2008). “When to Leave Iraq: Walk Before Running”. Foreign Affairs 87 (4): 151–154. JSTOR 20032727.
• Phillips, Andrew (2009). “How al Qaeda lost Iraq”. Australian Journal of International Affairs 63 (1): 64–84. doi:10.1080/10357710802649840.
• Simon, Steven (2008). “The Price of the Surge: How U.S. Strategy Is Hastening Iraq’s Demise”. Foreign Affairs 87 (3): 57–72, 74–76. JSTOR 20032651.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Assyrian People)
Sūrāyē / Sūryāyē / Āṯūrāyē 
Ephrem the Syrian
Severus of Antioch
Hunayn bar Ishaq
Shimun XXI Benyamin
Rosie Malek Yonan
F. Murray Abraham
Regions with significant populations
† Syriac Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Mhallami, Mandeans, Jews, Levantines,
The Assyrians (Syriac: ܣܘܪܝܝܐ), also sometimes known as Syriacs, and Chaldean Catholics (see names of Syriac Christians), are an ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient northern Mesopotamia. They are a Semitic people who speak, read, and write distinct dialects of Eastern Aramaic exclusive to northern Mesopotamia and its immediate surroundings.
Assyrians trace their ancestry back to the northern region of the Akkadian lands, which would become Assyria between the 24th century BC and 7th century AD. Today that ancient territory is part of several nations: the north of Iraq, part of southeast Turkey, northwest Iran and northeast Syria. The Assyrians are indigenous to these aforementioned regions. They are a Christian people, with most following various Eastern Rite Churches, although a number are non-religious. 
Many have migrated to the North America, Caucasus, Australia and Europe during the past century or so. Emigration was triggered by such events as the Assyrian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire during World War I, the Simele massacre in Iraq (1933), the Islamic revolution in Iran (1979), Arab Nationalist Baathist policies in Iraq and Syria, the Al-Anfal Campaign of Saddam Hussein, and to some degree Kurdish nationalist policies in northern Iraq.
Most recently, the Iraq War has displaced the regional Assyrian community. Of the one million or more Iraqis reported by the United Nations to have fled Iraq since the occupation, nearly 40% are Assyrian, although Assyrians comprised around 5%-7% of the pre-war Iraqi population.
• 1 History
o 1.1 Assyrian continuity
o 1.2 Ancient history
o 1.3 After the fall of Nineveh
o 1.4 Arab conquest
o 1.5 Mongol and Turkic rule
o 1.6 Ottoman rule
• 1.6.1 World War I and aftermath
o 1.7 Modern history
• 1.7.1 21st century
• 2 Demographics
o 2.1 Homeland
o 2.2 Persecution
o 2.3 Diaspora
• 3 Identity
o 3.1 Self-designation
o 3.2 Assyrian vs Syrian naming controversy
• 4 Culture
o 4.1 Language
o 4.2 Religion
o 4.3 Music
o 4.4 Dance
o 4.5 Festivals
o 4.6 Traditional clothing
o 4.7 Cuisine
• 5 Genetics
• 6 See also
• 7 Notes
• 8 References
• 9 Further reading
• 10 External links
Main article: History of the Assyrian people
This article is part of the series on the
History of the
Old Assyrian period (20th–15th c. BC)
Aramaeans (14th–9th c. BC)
Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–612 BC)
Achaemenid Assyria (539–330 BC)
Seleucid Empire (312–63 BC)
Osroene (132 BC – 244 AD)
Syrian Wars (66 BC – 217 AD)
Roman Syria (64 BC – 637 AD)
Adiabene (15–116 AD)
Roman Assyria (116–118)
Christianization (1st to 3rd c.)
Nestorian Schism (5th c.)
Byzantine–Sasanian wars (502–628)
Muslim conquest of Syria (630s)
Abbasid rule (750–1258)
Emirs of Mosul (905–1383)
Buyid amirate of Iraq (945–1055)
Principality of Antioch (1098–1268)
Ilkhanate Empire (1258–1335)
Jalayirid Sultanate (1335–1432)
Kara Koyunlu (1375–1468)
Aq Qoyunlu (1453–1501)
Safavid Empire (1508-1555)
Ottoman Empire (1555–1917)
Schism of 1552 (16th c.)
Massacres of Badr Khan (1840s)
Massacres of Diyarbakir (1895)
Rise of nationalism (19th c.)
Adana Massacre (1909)
Assyrian genocide (1914–1920)
Independence movement (since 1919)
Simele massacre (1933)
Post-Saddam Iraq (since 2003)
Main article: Assyrian continuity
Assyrians claim that they are the descendants of the peoples that created the great Semitic civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia that absorbed the early Sumerian civilisation, in particular Assyria, but also Akkad, Babylonia and Adiabene. This claim has numerous supporters amongst modern scholars, for example Robert D. Biggs, as well as those that doubt it or think there was only limited or insignificant continuity. World-renowned linguist Geoffrey Khan of the University of Cambridge maintains that there is some evidence of linguistic continuity of Akkadian in the Eastern Aramaic dialects spoken by Assyrians. The genetic evidence suggests that modern Assyrians are a homogenous group with a relatively distinctive genetic profile and that it is a probability that they are descendants of their ancient namesakes.
Other historians supporting the view that Assyrians are the descendants of their namesakes include prominent Assyriologists such as Simo Parpola, Richard N. Frye, H.W.F. Saggs, Robert D. Biggs, Giorgi Tsereteli, George Percy Badger, Eden Naby, J.A. Brinkman and Geoffrey Khan. Nineteenth century orientalists such as Austen Henry Layard, Horatio Southgate and Hormuzd Rassam (himself an Assyrian) also supported this view. Geneticists such as Cavalli-Sforza also clearly endorse this position.
Main article: Assyria
The Assyrian people can trace their ethnic and cultural origins to the indigenous population of pre-Islamic and pre-Arab Mesopotamia, (in particular Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, Babylon, Mari, Eshnunna, Adiabene, Osroene, Hatra and the geo-political province of Assyria under Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian, Roman and Sassanid rule) since before the time of the Akkadian Empire.
Mesopotamia was originally dominated by the Sumerians (from at least 3500 BC) and the native East Semitic Semites, later to be collectively known as Akkadians lived alongside them from circa 3000 BC. Akkadian-ruled city-states first appear circa 2800 BC. In the 24th century BC the Akkadians gained domination over the Sumerians under Sargon the Great who founded the world’s first empire. By the 21st century BC the Akkadian Empire and succeeding Neo-Sumerian Empire had collapsed, and the Akkadians split into a number of nations: Assyria in the north, and Isin, Larsa, Eshnunna and others in the south. From the 18th century BC the south coalesced into Babylonia, although Babylonia was ruled by non native dynasties for most of its history. According to the Assyrian King List the earliest Assyrian king was a 24th-century BC ruler named Tudiya. Assyria became a strong nation with the Old Assyrian Empire in the 21st and 20th century BC, founding colonies in Asia Minor and Syria. In the 19th century BC a new wave of Semites, the Canaanite speaking Amorites, entered Mesopotamia from the west, usurping the thrones of the Akkadian states of Assyria, Isin and Larsa, and founded Babylon as a minor independent city-state. The Amorite rulers expanded Assyrian imperial power from the late 19th century BC until the mid-18th century BC. However, after its fall to Babylon the Amorites were driven from Assyria by a king named Adasi in the mid 18th Century BC, but eventually blended into the population of Babylonia in the south, where they maintained rule over a once more weak Babylon until 1595 BC. By approximately 1800 BC, the Sumerian race appears to have been wholly absorbed by the Semitic Akkadian population. According to the story told in the Book of Genesis, it is around this time that the Canaanite speaking Semitic tribal leader Abraham travelled out of Mesopotamia and became the father of the Hebrew people, and according to the much later [Koran], also of the South Semitic [Arab] people.
Assyria and later Babylon became major powers. There were further influxes of peoples such as Hurrians, Kassites and Mitanni, the Kassites ruled Babylon for over 500 years, and the Mitanni dominated Assyria for a brief period. The Kassites, like the Amorites before them, seem to have disappeared into the general population in Babylonia, while the Mitanni and Hurrians were overthrown and driven out of Assyria. Assyria then once again became a major imperial power from 1365 BC until 1050 BC with the Middle Assyrian Empire, surpassing the empires of the Egyptians, Hittites, Elamites and Mitanni.
In the 11th century BC a new influx of Semites into Babylonia from the west took place, with the arrival of the Arameans and Suteans, followed in the 10th century by Chaldeans. These migrant semites originally set up small kingdoms within Babylonia, whose native kings were too weak to exercise control. However, they became culturally and politically Akkadianized, and they ethnically intermixed and blended in with the native Akkadian population.
It was not until the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911-608 BC) and the forced deportations of Arameans into Assyria itself that the Assyrians and Babylonians began to speak Aramaic. This was an Akkadian-infused Mesopotamian version of the language of the Aramaean tribes who had been assimilated into the Assyrian empire and Mesopotamia, introduced as the lingua franca of the Assyrian Empire by Tiglath-pileser III and whose descendant dialects survive to this day. Mass relocations of other peoples were enforced by Assyrian kings of the Neo-Assyrian period, and it was during the period of the Neo-Assyrian Empire that many Israelite Jews were deported to Assyria and a fair proportion of these were absorbed into the general population.
The Neo-Assyrian Empire (911 BC – 605 BC) saw a massive expansion of Assyrian power: Assyria became the center of the greatest empire the world had yet seen, with Egypt, Babylonia, Chaldea, Persia, Elam, Media, Gutium, Parthia, Mannea, Israel, Judah, Aramea (modern Syria), Phonecia/Canaan, Palestine, Phrygia, Cilicia, Commagene, Cappadocia and much of Asia Minor (modern Turkey), the Neo-Hittite states, Corduene, Cyprus, Urartu, Armenia and parts of the Caucasus, Dilmun, Samaria, Edom, Moab, Ammon and Arabia brought under Assyrian control, Lydia paying tribute, the Nubians, Ethiopians and Kushites defeated and driven from Egypt and the Scythians and Cimmerians subjugated.
However, Assyria became riven by anarchy and a series of crippling civil wars after 627 BC, allowing the Chaldeans who had settled in the far south east of Mesopotamia in the 900’s BC to seize the throne of Babylon with the support of the Babylonians themselves in the confusion. Other subject peoples, most notably the Medes, Persians, Scythians and Cimmerians also broke away. Eventually, a coalition of their own Babylonian relations, together with other former subject peoples; the Chaldeans, Medes, Persians, Scythians and Cimmerians, attacked a weakened Assyria in 616 BC, bringing its downfall by 605 BC.
After the fall of Nineveh
Main articles: Athura and Asuristan
Following the destruction of the Neo-Assyrian Empire by 605 BC, the population of the Assyria came under the control of their Babylonian relatives until 539 BC. Although initially ruled by yet another foreign dynasty, that of the Chaldeans, the last rulers of Babylonia, Nabonidus and his son and regent, Belshazzar, were from Assyria. After their rule, the Chaldean tribe from the far south east of Mesopotamia who had usurped the throne of Babylon from the Assyrians in 620 BC, disappeared from the pages of history.
From 538 BC, Assyria, (which remained a political and named entity) was under Persian Achaemenid, Macedonian, Seleucid, Parthian Arascid, Roman and Sassanid rule for seven centuries undergoing Christianization during this time.
Assyria flourished during the Achaemenid period (from 539-323 BC) (see Achaemenid Assyria) as Athura, with Assyrian soldiers becoming a major source of manpower for the Achaemenid armies and its farmers providing a breadbasket for the empire. Assyrians are also attested as having many important administrative posts within the empire, and the Mesopotamian Aramaic dialect of the Assyrian Empire and its administrative structure were retained by the Achaemenids. The Persians, having spent 300 years under Assyrian control, saw themselves as successors to the great Assyrian kings, and Achaemenid Art and Architecture bear strong Assyrian influence. Assyria was even strong enough to launch two full scale rebellions against the empire in the late 6th century BC. Although Assyrian cities such as Kalhu and Nineveh remained in ruins, others such as Ashur, Arbela, Guzana, Arrapkha and Harran flourished during this period.
The Seleucid empire succeeded that of the Achaemenids in 323 BC, from this point Greek became the official language of the empire at the expense of Mesopotamian Aramaic. The native populace of Assyria were not Hellenised however, as is attested by the survival of native language, culture and religion. The province flourished much as it had under the Achaemenids for the next century, however by the late 3rd century BC Assyria became a battleground between the Seleucid Greeks and the Parthians but remained largely in Greek hands until the reign of Mithridates I when it fell to the Parthians. During the Seleucid period the term Assyria was altered to read Syria, a Mediterranean form of the original name that had been in use since the 8th or 9th century BC among some western Assyrian colonies. The Seleucid Greeks also named Aramea to the west Syria (read Assyria) as it had been an Assyrian colony for centuries. When they lost control of Assyria proper (which is northern Mesopotamia, north east Syria and part of south east Anatolia), they retained the name but applied it only to Aramea (i.e. The Levant). This created a situation where both Assyrians and Arameans to the west were referred to as Syrians by the Greco-Roman civilisations, causing the later Syrian Vs Assyrian naming controversy. It was during the Seleucid era that Babylon was finally abandoned and fell into ruin.
It was renamed Assuristan during the Parthian era. The Parthians appeared to have exercised only loose control at times, leading to the virtual resurrection of Assyria with the native kingdom of Adiabene 15 BC to 117AD. Its rulers were converts from Mesopotamian religion to Judaism and later Christianity, and it retained Mesopotamian Aramaic as its spoken tongue.
Adiabene, like the rest of northern Mesopotamia was conquered by Trajan in 117 AD, and the region was pointedly still named Assyria by the Romans. Church of the East Christianity, as well as Gnostic sects such as the Mandeans and Manicheanism took hold between the 1st and 3rd Centuries AD, and Assyria became the birthplace of Syriac Christianity.
The Parthians regained control of the region a few years later, and retained the name Assyria (Assuristan). Other small kingdoms had also sprung up in the region, namely Osrhoene and Hatra, which were Syriac speaking and at least partly Assyrian. Assyrian identity appears to have remained strong, with the 2nd-century writer and theologian Tatian stating clearly that he is an Assyrian, as does the satirist Lucian in the same period. The city of Ashur and its surrounds also appears to have been once more independent or largely autonomous during the Parthian period, with temples being dedicated to the national god of the Assyrians (Ashur) into the second half of the 3rd century AD, before it was once again conquered by the invading Sassanids in 256 AD.
The Sassanids recognised the land as Assyria, retaining the name Assuristan. Assyrians still seem to have retained a distinct identity and a degree of local autonomy in the Sassanid period, during the 4th century the region around Nineveh was governed by a certain local Assyrian king, who was pointedly named Sennacherib II after his ancient ancestor, who established the Mar Behnam monastery in memory of his son. In 341 AD, the Zoroastrian Shapur II ordered the massacre of all Christians in the Persian Empire, most of whom were Assyrians and Armenians. During the persecution, about 1,150 Christians were martyred under Shapur II.
Under the nineteen year reign of Yazdegerd II, over 153,000 Assyrians were executed in Kirkuk (close to the ancient Assyrian city of Kalhu/Calah), then part of the Persian empire.
The Sassanids welcomed followers of Nestorian Christianity into their empire in the 5th century AD, following the Nestorian Schism in the rival Byzantine Empire. This led to many Medieval Europeans inaccurately labeling Assyrian people and followers of Eastern Rite Christianity in general as Nestorians, despite the fact that the Assyrian Church of the East was over 400 years older than the Nestorian Church, and doctrinally different. There was however some synthesis between the two churches. This term persisted amongst some Europeans into the 20th century, but is now regarded as historically inaccurate and defunct, both in a theological and ethnic sense.
Assyria as an entity remained recognized as such by its inhabitants, Sassanid rulers and neighboring peoples until after the Arab Muslim conquests of the second half of the 7th century AD, after which the Assyrians gradually became both an ethnic minority and a religious minority.
After the Arab Islamic invasion and conquest of the 7th century AD, Assyria as a province was dissolved, but the Assyrians themselves survived, being referred to as Ashuriyun by the Arabs. Assyrians initially experienced some periods of religious and cultural freedom interspersed with periods of severe religious and ethnic persecution. As heirs to ancient Mesopotamian civilisation, they also contributed hugely to the Arab Islamic Civilization during the Umayyads and the Abbasids by translating works of Greek philosophers to Syriac and afterwards to Arabic. They also excelled in philosophy, science and theology (such as Tatian, Bar Daisan, Babai the Great, Nestorius, Toma bar Yacoub etc.) and the personal physicians of the Abbasid Caliphs were often Assyrian Christians such as the long serving Bukhtishu dynasty.
However, non-Islamic proselyting was punishable by death under Sharia law, which led the Assyrians into preaching in Transoxania, Central Asia, India, Mongolia and China where they established numerous churches. The Church of the East was considered to be one of the major Christian powerhouses in the world, alongside Latin Christianity in Europe and the Byzantine Empire.
From the 7th century AD onwards Mesopotamia saw a steady influx of Arabs, Kurds and other Iranian peoples, and later Turkic peoples, and the indigenous population retaining native Mesopotamian culture, identity, language, religion and customs were steadily marginalised and gradually became a minority in their own homeland.
Although Eastern Rite Christianity had become the religion of the vast majority of Assyrians between the 1st and 4th centuries AD, remnants of the ancient Mesopotamian religion followed by their ancestors survived in some regions of what had been Assyria as late as the 10th Century AD.
The process of marginalisation was largely completed by the massacres of indigenous Assyrian Christians and other non-Muslims in Mesopotamia and its surrounds by Tamerlane the Mongol in the 14th century AD, and it was from this point that the ancient Assyrian capital of Ashur was finally abandoned by Assyrians.
However, many Assyrian Christians survived the various massacres and pogroms, and resisted the process of Arabization and Islamification, retaining a distinct Mesopotamian identity, Mesopotamian Aramaic language and written script. The modern Assyrians or Chaldo-Assyrians of today are descendants of the indigenous inhabitants of Mesopotamia, and in particular Assyria, who refused to be converted to Islam or be culturally and linguistically Arabized.
Celebration at a Syriac Orthodox monastery in Mosul, Ottoman Syria, early 20th century.
Culturally, ethnically and linguistically distinct from, although both quite influencing on, and quite influenced by, their neighbours in the Middle East—the Arabs, Persians, Kurds, Turks, Jews and Armenians — the Assyrians have endured much hardship throughout their recent history as a result of religious and ethnic persecution.
Mongol and Turkic rule
The region came under the control of the Mongol Empire after the fall of Baghdad in 1258. The Mongol khans were sympathetic with Christians and didn’t harm them. The most prominent among them was probably Isa, a diplomat, astrologer, and head of the Christian affairs in the Yuan Dynasty in East Asia. He spent some time in Persia under the Ilkhans. The 14th century AD massacres of Timur in particular, devastated the Assyrian people. Timur’s massacres and pillages of all that was Christian drastically reduced their existence. At the end of the reign of Timur, the Assyrian population had almost been eradicated in many places. Toward the end of the thirteenth century, Bar Hebraeus (or Bar-Abraya), the noted Assyrian scholar and hierarch, found “much quietness” in his diocese in Mesopotamia. Syria’s diocese, he wrote, was “wasted.”
The region was later controlled by Turkic tribes such as the Aq Qoyunlu and Qara Qoyunlu. Seljuq and Arab emirate sought to extend their rule over the region as well.
See also: Massacres of Badr Khan and Massacres of Diyarbakir (1895)
Assyrian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, Armenia
During the Ottoman period a religious Schism occurred among the Assyrian people. In the mid 16th century AD a number of Assyrians, dissatisfied with the leadership of the Assyrian Church of the East, entered into communion with the Roman Catholic Church. This new church was called The Church of Assyria and Mosul, however in 1683 AD the name was changed by Rome to the Chaldean Catholic Church, despite none of its north Mesopotamian Assyrian adherents having any historic, geographic, ethnic, or cultural links to the long extinct Chaldean tribe of the far south east of Mesopotamia, who had disappeared from the pages of history over 2100 years previously. It is believed that the term Chaldean Catholic arose due to a Catholic misinterpretation of Ur Kasdim (according to Jewish tradition the birthplace of Abraham in Northern Mesopotamia) as meaning Ur of the Chaldees, in reality the term Kasdim did not mean Chaldean.
The Ottomans further secured their control over Mesopotamia and Syria in the 16th century. Non-Muslims were organised into religion based millets. Syriac Christians in general, however, were often considered one millet alongside Armenians until the 19th century, when Assyrian followers of the Assyrian Church of the East, Syriac Orthodox Church and Chaldean Catholic Church gained separate millets.
In the 1840s many of the unarmed Assyrian civilians living in the mountains of Hakkari in the south eastern corner of the Ottoman Empire were massacred by the Kurdish emirs of Hakkari and Bohtan with Ottoman army support.
Another major massacre of Assyrians (and Armenians) in the Ottoman Empire occurred between 1894 and 1897 AD by Turkish troops and their Kurdish allies during the rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. The motives for these massacres were an attempt to reassert Pan-Islamism in the Ottoman Empire, resentment at the comparative wealth of the ancient indigenous Christian communities, and a fear that they would attempt to secede from the tottering Ottoman Empire. Assyrians were massacred in Diyarbakir, Hasankeyef, Sivas and other parts of Anatolia, by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. These attacks caused the death of over thousands of Assyrians and the forced “Ottomanisation” of the inhabitants of 245 villages. The Turkish troops looted the remains of the Assyrian settlements and these were later stolen and occupied by Kurds. Unarmed Assyrian women and children were raped, tortured and murdered.
World War I and aftermath
Main articles: Assyrian Genocide and Assyrian struggle for independence
The most significant recent persecution against the Assyrian population was the Assyrian genocide which occurred during the First World War. Between 275,000 and 300,000 Assyrians were estimated to have been slaughtered by the armies of the Ottoman Empire and their Kurdish allies, totalling up to two-thirds of the entire Assyrian population at the time. This led to a large-scale migration of Turkish-based Assyrian people into countries such as Syria, Iran, and Iraq (where they were to suffer further violent assaults at the hands of the Arabs and Kurds), as well as other neighbouring countries in and around the Middle East such as Armenia, Georgia and Russia.
Painting by Leonardo de Mango, showing the massacre of the Assyrian population of Siirt.
In reaction to the Assyrian Genocide and lured by British and Russian promises of an independent nation, the Assyrians led by Agha Petros and Malik Khoshaba of the Bit-Tyari tribe, fought alongside the allies against Ottoman forces in an Assyrian war of independence. Despite being heavily outnumbered and outgunned the Assyrians fought successfully, scoring a number of victories over the larger forces of the Turks and Kurds. This situation continued until their Russian allies left the war, and Armenian resistance broke, leaving the Assyrians surrounded, isolated and cut off from lines of supply.
Main article: Simele Massacre
The majority of Assyrian living in what is today modern Turkey were forced to flee, and join their brethren in northern Iraq and north eastern Syria after the Assyrian Genocide.
The Assyrian Levies were founded by the British in 1928, with ancient Assyrian military rankings such as Rab-shakeh, Rab-talia and Tartan, being revived for the first time in millennia for this force. The Assyrians were prized by the British rulers for their fighting qualities, loyalty, bravery and discipline, and were used to help the British put down insurrections among the Arabs and Kurds, and defend the borders with Turkey and Iran.
During World War II, eleven Assyrian companies saw action in Palestine and another four served in Cyprus. The Parachute Company was attached to the Royal Marine Commando and were involved in fighting in Albania, Italy and Greece. The Assyrian Levies played a major role in defeating the pro-Nazi Arab Iraqi forces at the battle of Habbaniya in 1941.
However, this cooperation with the British was viewed with suspicion by some leaders of the newly formed Kingdom of Iraq. The tension reached its peak shortly after the formal declaration of independence when hundreds of unarmed Assyrian civilians were massacred during the Simele Massacre by the Iraqi Army in August 1933. The events lead to the expulsion of Shimun XXIII Eshai the Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East to the United States where he resided until his death in 1975.
After World War II, and during the 1950s and early 60’s Assyrians enjoyed a period of peace, prosperity and tolerance. However the Ba’ath Party seized power in Iraq and Syria in 1963, which introduced laws that aimed at suppressing the Assyrian national identity, the Arab Nationalist policies of the Ba’athists included renewed attempts to “Arabize” the indigenous Assyrians. The giving of traditional Assyrian/Akkadian names and Aramaic/Syriac versions of Biblical names was banned, Assyrian schools, political parties, churches and literature were repressed and Assyrians were heavily pressured into identifying as Arab Christians. The Ba’athist regime refused to recognise Assyrians as an ethnic group, and encouraged and incited division among Assyrians themselves on religious grounds (e.g.; Assyrian Church of the East vs Chaldean Catholic).
The al-Anfal Campaign of 1986-1989 in Iraq was predominantly aimed at Kurds, however over 2000 Assyrians were murdered through its gas campaigns; over 31 towns and villages and 25 Assyrian monasteries and churches were razed to the ground; apart from those Assyrians murdered; others were deported to large cities, and their land, property and homes then being stolen by Arabs and Kurds.
Main articles: Assyrian exodus from Iraq and 2008 attacks on Christians in Mosul
Assyrian wedding, Belgium
Since the 2003 Iraq War social unrest and anarchy have resulted in the persecution of Assyrians in Iraq, mostly by Islamic extremists,(both Shia and Sunni), and to some degree by Kurdish nationalists. In places such as Dora, a neighborhood in southwestern Baghdad, the majority of its Assyrian population has either fled abroad or to northern Iraq, or has been murdered.
Islamic resentment over the United States’ occupation of Iraq, and incidents such as the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons and the Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy, have resulted in Arab and Kurdish Muslims attacking Assyrian Christian communities. Since the start of the Iraq war, at least 46 churches and monasteries have been bombed.
The Syriac Military Council is a joint Assyrian/Syriac military organisation in Syria. The establishment of the organisation was announced on 8 January 2013. According to the Syriac Military Council the goal of the organisation is to stand up for the national rights of Syriac Christians and to protect the indigenous Christian ethnicities in Syria. It intends to work together with the other communities in Syria to change the current regime of Bashar al-Assad, but is vehemently opposed to Islamist rebel groups. The organisation fights alongside the Kurdish YPG in the densely populated Syriac areas of the Governorates of Aleppo.
Assyrian regions in the north east of Syria have been targeted by Islamist rebels of ISIS and members of the FSA, and as a result, have formed militias to defend their towns, villages and communities.
In August 2014 the Assyrian population of over 200,000 people were forced from their 5000 year homeland in the Nineveh region under the threat of a growing and violent terrorist organisation, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, IS) has been spray painting the letter ‘N’ in Arabic on all Assyrian and Armenian Christian homes and giving them three options, convert to Islam, pay a hefty Jiziya tax or die by the sword. There have been multiple protests around the world including in the United States, Australia, and many parts of Europe, in an attempt to inform people of the brutal Religious and Ethnic cleansing being perpetrated upon unarmed men, women and children by heavily armed Islamic terrorists in Iraq and Syria. Assyrian Christians and Kurdish Yezidi have been targeted directly since July 2014. 
Assyrian world population.
more than 500,000
100,000 – 500,000
50,000 – 100,000
10,000 – 50,000
Main article: Assyrian Homeland
The Assyrians are considered to be one of the indigenous people in the Middle East. Their homeland is located in the area around the Tigris and Euphrates in modern northern Iraq. Assyrians are traditionally from Iraq, south eastern Turkey, north western Iran and north eastern Syria. There is a significant Assyrian population in Syria, where an estimated 877,000 Assyrians live.
In Tur Abdin, Turkey, known as a homeland for Assyrians, there are only 3000 left, and an estimated 25,000 in all of Turkey. After the 1915 Assyrian genocide many Assyrians also fled into Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, Iraq and into the Western world.
The Assyrian/Syriac people can be divided along geographic, linguistic, and denominational lines, the three main groups being:
• the “Western” or “Jacobite” group of Syria, and central eastern Anatolia (Syriac Orthodox Church & Syriac Catholic Church); Many of these now largely speak Arabic.
• the “Eastern” group of Iraq, northeast Syria south eastern Turkey, northwest Iran and Armenia (Assyrian Church of the East & Ancient Church of the East);
• the “Chaldean Christian” or “Chaldean Catholic”/Chaldo-Assyrian group of northern Iraq, northern Iran, and south eastern Anatolia (Chaldean Catholic Church); ethnic Assyrian followers of the Chaldean Catholic church make up the majority of Iraqi Christian population since the conversion to Catholicism from the Assyrian Church of the East in the 17th and 18th centuries. The latter two groups are Eastern Aramaic speaking Assyrian communities.
Further information: Assyrophobia
Due to their Christian faith and ethnicity, the Assyrians have been persecuted since their adoption of Christianity. During the reign of Yazdegerd I, Christians in Persia were viewed with suspicion as potential Roman subversives, resulting in persecutions while at the same time promoting Nestorian Christianity as a buffer between the Churches of Rome and Persia. Persecutions and attempts to impose Zoroastrianism continued during the reign of Yazdegerd II.
During the era of Turco-Mongol rule under Timur, there was indiscriminate slaughter of tens of thousands of Assyrians and destruction of the Assyrian population of northwestern Iran and central and northern Iran.
More recent persecutions since the 19th century include the Massacres of Badr Khan, the Massacres of Diyarbakır (1895), the Adana Massacre, the Assyrian Genocide, the Simele Massacre, the al-Anfal Campaign, and the Sadad Massacre.
Since the Assyrian Genocide, many Assyrians have fled their homelands for a more safe and comfortable life in the West. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Assyrian population in the Middle East has decreased dramatically. As of today there are more Assyrians in Europe, North America, and Australia than in their former homeland.
A total of 550,000 Assyrians live in Europe. Large Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac diaspora communities can be found in Germany, Sweden, the USA, and Australia. The largest Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac diaspora communities are those of Södertälje, Chicago, and Detroit.
Further information: Assyrian nationalism, Aramaeanism, Arabization and Turkification
Assyrian flag (since 1968)
Assyrians are divided among several churches (see below). They speak, and many can read and write, dialects of Neo-Aramaic.
In certain areas of the Assyrian homeland, identity within a community depends on a person’s village of origin (see List of Assyrian villages) or Christian denomination rather than their ethnic commonality, for instance Chaldean Catholic.
Today, Assyrians and other minority ethnic groups in the Middle East, feel pressure to identify as “Arabs”, “Turks” and “Kurds”. Those Assyrians in Syria who live outside of the traditionally and historically Assyrian northeastern region of the country are sometimes feel socially pressured to identify as Arabs, due to Arab nationalist policies of the Baathist government.
Neo-Aramaic exhibits remarkably conservative features compared with Imperial Aramaic, and the earliest European visitors to northern Mesopotamia in modern times encountered a people called “Assyrians”, “Assouri” and “Ashuriyun”, and people with ancient Assyrian names such as Sargon, Sennacherib, Ashur and Semiramis . The Assyrians manifested a remarkable degree of linguistic, religious, and cultural continuity from the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire through to the time of the ancient Greeks, Persians, and Parthians through periods of medieval Byzantine, Arab, Persian, and Ottoman rule.
Assyrian nationalism emphatically connects Modern Assyrians to the population of ancient Mesopotamia and the Neo-Assyrian Empire. A historical basis of this sentiment was disputed by a few early historians, but receives strong support from modern Assyriologists like H.W.F. Saggs, Robert D. Biggs, Giorgi Tsereteli and Simo Parpola, and Iranologists like Richard Nelson Frye. Nineteenth century orientalists such as Austen Henry Layard and Hormuzd Rassam also support this view. This controversy does not appear to exist in parts of the region however, as Armenian, Georgian, Russian, Persian and some Arab records have always referred to Assyrians as Assyrians.
Main article: Names of Syriac Christians
The communities of indigenous pre-Arab Neo-Aramaic-speaking people of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Turkey and Lebanon and the surrounding areas advocate different terms for ethnic self-designation.
• “Assyrians”, after the ancient Assyria, advocated by followers of the Assyrian Church of the East, the Ancient Church of the East, most followers of the Chaldean Catholic Church and Assyrian Protestants. (“Eastern Assyrians”), and some communities of the Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic (“Western Assyrians”). Those identifying with Assyria, and with Mesopotamia in general, tend to be from Iraq, northeastern Syria; southeastern Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Georgia; southern Russia and Azerbaijan. It is likely that those from this region are indeed of Assyrian/Mesopotamian heritage as they are clearly of pre-Arab and pre-Islamic stock. Furthermore, there is no historical evidence or proof to suggest the indigenous Mesopotamians were wiped out; Assyria existed as a specifically named region until the second half of the 7th century AD. Most speak Mesopotamian dialects of Neo-Aramaic.
• “Chaldo-Assyrians”, is a term used by the Iraqi government to designate the indigenous Aramaic speaking Christians of Iraq. It intrinsically acknowledges that the terms Assyrian and Chaldean refer to the same ethnic group. Some Assyrians use this term to defuse arguments over naming along denominational lines.
• “Chaldeans”, after ancient Chaldea, advocated by a minority of followers of the Chaldean Catholic Church who are mainly based in the United States. This is mainly a denominational rather than ethnic term, though some Chaldean Catholics espouse a distinct Chaldean ethnic identity. These are exactly the same people as the Assyrians, both having the same culture and originating from the same lands. The Chaldean Catholics were all originally Assyrian members of the Assyrian Church of the East from northern Mesopotamia. From the mid 16th century, some groups of Assyrians entered communion with Rome. Rome originally named this new church as The Church of Assyria and Mosul, but in 1681 AD renamed it The Chaldean Catholic Church, from whence the modern name came.
• “Syriacs,” advocated by some followers of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Syriac Catholic Church and to a much lesser degree Maronite Church. Those self identifying as Syriacs tend to be from western, northwestern, southern and central Syria as well as south central Turkey. The term Syriac is the subject of some controversy, as it is generally accepted by most scholars that it is a Luwian and Greek corruption of Assyrian. The discovery of the Çineköy inscription seems to settle conclusively in favour of Assyria being the origin of the terms Syria and Syriac. For this reason, some Assyrians accept the term Syriac as well as Assyrian. However, Poseidonios (ca. 135 BC – 51 BC), from the Syrian Apamea, was a Greek Stoic philosopher, politician, astronomer, geographer, historian, and teacher who says that the Syrians call themselves Arameans.[nb 1]
• “Arameans”, after the ancient Aram-Naharaim, advocated by some followers of the Syriac Orthodox Church and indigenous Christians in western, northwestern, southern and central Syria as well as south central Turkey. The term Aramean is sometimes expanded to “Syriac-Aramean”.
In addition Western Media often makes no mention of any ethnic identity of the Christian people of the region and simply call them Christians, Iraqi Christians, Iranian Christians, Syrian Christians, Turkish Christians, etc. This label is rejected by Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs since it erroneously implies no difference other than theological with the Muslim Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Iranians and Azeris of the region.
Assyrian vs Syrian naming controversy
As early as the 8th century BC Luwian and Cilician subject rulers referred to their Assyrian overlords as Syrian, a western Indo-European bastardisation of the true term Assyrian. This corruption of the name took hold in the Hellenic lands to the west of the old Assyrian Empire, thus during Greek Seleucid rule from 323 BC the name Assyria was altered to Syria, and this term was also applied to Aramea to the west which had been an Assyrian colony. When the Seleucids lost control of Assyria to the Parthians they retained the corrupted term (Syria), applying it to ancient Aramea, while the Parthians called Assyria “Assuristan,” a Parthian form of the original name. It is from this period that the Syrian vs Assyrian controversy arises. Today it is accepted by the majority of scholars that the Medieval, Renaissance and Victorian term Syriac when used to describe the indigenous Christians of Mesopotamia and its immediate surrounds in effect means Assyrian.
The modern terminological problem goes back to colonial times, but it became more acute in 1946, when with the independence of Syria, the adjective Syrian referred to an independent state. The controversy isn’t restricted to exonyms like English “Assyrian” vs. “Aramaean”, but also applies to self-designation in Neo-Aramaic, the minority “Aramaean” faction endorses both Sūryāyē ܣܘܪܝܝܐ and Ārāmayē ܐܪܡܝܐ, while the majority “Assyrian” faction insists on Āṯūrāyē ܐܬܘܪܝܐ but also accepts Sūryāyē.
Alqosh, located in the midst of Assyrian contemporary civilization.
The question of ethnic identity and self-designation is sometimes connected to the scholarly debate on the etymology of “Syria”. The question has a long history of academic controversy, but majority mainstream opinion currently strongly favours that Syria is indeed ultimately derived from the Assyrian term 𒀸𒋗𒁺 𐎹 Aššūrāyu. Meanwhile, some scholars has disclaimed the theory of Syrian being derived from Assyrian as “simply naive”, and detracted its importance to the naming conflict.
Rudolf Macuch points out that the Eastern Neo-Aramaic press initially used the term “Syrian” (suryêta) and only much later, with the rise of nationalism, switched to “Assyrian” (atorêta). According to Tsereteli, however, a Georgian equivalent of “Assyrians” appears in ancient Georgian, Armenian and Russian documents. This correlates with the theory of the nations to the East of Mesopotamia knew the group as Assyrians, while to the West, beginning with Greek influence, the group was known as Syrians. Syria being a Greek corruption of Assyria.
The debate appears to have been settled by the discovery of the Çineköy inscription in favour of Syria being derived from Assyria.
The Çineköy inscription is a Hieroglyphic Luwian-Phoenician bilingual, uncovered from Çineköy, Adana Province, Turkey (ancient Cilicia), dating to the 8th century BC. Originally published by Tekoglu and Lemaire (2000), it was more recently the subject of a 2006 paper published in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies, in which the author, Robert Rollinger, lends support to the age-old debate of the name “Syria” being derived from “Assyria” (see Etymology of Syria).
The object on which the inscription is found is a monument belonging to Urikki, vassal king of Hiyawa (i.e. Cilicia), dating to the eighth century BC. In this monumental inscription, Urikki made reference to the relationship between his kingdom and his Assyrian overlords. The Luwian inscription reads “Sura/i” whereas the Phoenician translation reads ’ŠR or “Ashur” which, according to Rollinger (2006), “settles the problem once and for all”.
Main article: Assyrian culture
Assyrian child dressed in traditional clothes.
Assyrian culture is largely influenced by Christianity. Main festivals occur during religious holidays such as Easter and Christmas. There are also secular holidays such as Kha b-Nisan (vernal equinox).
People often greet and bid relatives farewell with a kiss on each cheek and by saying “ܫܠܡܐ ܥܠܝܟ” Shlama/Shlomo lokh, which means: “Peace be upon you.” Others are greeted with a handshake with the right hand only; according to Middle Eastern customs, the left hand is associated with evil. Similarly, shoes may not be left facing up, one may not have their feet facing anyone directly, whistling at night is thought to waken evil spirits, etc.
There are many Assyrian customs that are common in other Middle Eastern cultures. A parent will often place an eye pendant on their baby to prevent “an evil eye being cast upon it”. Spitting on anyone or their belongings is seen as a grave insult.
Main article: Neo-Aramaic languages
ܐ ܒ ܓ ܕ ܗ ܘ
ܙ ܚ ܛ ܝ ܟܟ ܠ
ܡܡ ܢܢ ܣ ܥ ܦ
ܨ ܩ ܪ ܫ ܬ
The Neo-Aramaic languages are ultimately descended from Old Aramaic, the lingua franca in the later phase of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, displacing the East Semitic Assyrian dialect of Akkadian. Aramaic was the language of commerce, trade and communication and became the vernacular language of Assyria in classical antiquity.
By the 1st century AD, Akkadian was extinct, although some loaned vocabulary still survives in Assyrian Neo-Aramaic to this day.
Most Assyrians speak an Eastern Aramaic language whose dialects include Chaldean and Turoyo as well as Assyrian. All are classified as Neo-Aramaic languages and are written using Syriac script, a derivative of the ancient Aramaic script. Assyrians also may speak one or more languages of their country of residence.
To the native speaker, “Syriac” is usually called Soureth or Suret. A wide variety of dialects exist, including Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, and Turoyo. Being stateless, Assyrians also learn the language or languages of their adopted country, usually Arabic, Armenian, Persian or Turkish. In northern Iraq and western Iran, Turkish and Kurdish is widely spoken.
Recent archaeological evidence includes a statue from Syria with Akkadian and Aramaic inscriptions. It is the oldest known Aramaic text.
Historical divisions within Syriac Christian Churches in the Middle East.
Main article: Syriac Christianity
Assyrians were originally Pagans, who were followers of Ashurism, an Assyro-Babylonian religion, which is the Ancient Mesopotamian religion, and some adopted Judaism, Gnosticism and Manicheanism; however most now belong to various Christian denominations such as the Assyrian Church of the East, with an estimated 300,000–400,000 members, the Chaldean Catholic Church, with about 900,000 members, and the Syriac Orthodox Church (ʿIdto Suryoyto Triṣaṯ Šuḇḥo), which has between 1,000,000 and 4,000,000 members around the world (only about 1 million of whom are Assyrians, and 80% these live in Syria), the Ancient Church of the East and various Protestant churches. While Assyrians are predominantly Christians, a number are irreligious. In the 19th century, an extremely small number of Assyrians converted to Sunni Islam and shifted to the use of the Arabic language; those who still keep a distinct identity are called Mhallami.
As of 2011 Mar Dinkha IV, resident in Chicago Illinois, was Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Addai II, with headquarters in Baghdad, was Patriarch of the Ancient Church of the East, and Ignatius Zakka I Iwas was Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church, with headquarters in Damascus. Mar Emmanuel III Delly, the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, was the first Patriarch to be elevated to Cardinal, joining the college of cardinals in November 2007.
Many members of the following churches consider themselves Assyrian. Ethnic identities are often deeply intertwined with religion, a legacy of the Ottoman Millet system. The group is traditionally characterized as adhering to various churches of Syriac Christianity and speaking Neo-Aramaic languages. It is subdivided into:
• adherents of the East Syrian Rite, always called Assyrians but in the past sometimes erroneously called Nestorians
o adherents of the Assyrian Church of the East & Ancient Church of the East, always called Assyrians.
o adherents of the Chaldean Catholic Church, usually called Assyrians or more rarely Chaldeans or Chaldo-Assyrians.
• adherents of the West Syrian Rite, called Syriacs, and formerly also Jacobites.
o adherents of the Syriac Orthodox Church, also called West Syrians or Assyrians-Syriacs
o adherents of the Syriac Catholic Church, also called West Syrians or Syriacs
A small minority of Assyrians of the above denominations accepted the Protestant Reformation in the 20th century, possibly due to British influences, and is now organized in the Assyrian Evangelical Church, the Assyrian Pentecostal Church and other Protestant Assyrian groups. These are always called Assyrians
Baptism and First Communion are celebrated extensively, similar to a Bris or Bar Mitzvah in Jewish communities. After a death, a gathering is held three days after burial to celebrate the ascension to heaven of the dead person, as of Jesus; after seven days another gathering commemorates their death. A close family member wears only black clothes for forty days and nights, or sometimes a year, as a sign of mourning.
Assyrian/Syriacs playing Zoorna and Dahola
Main articles: Assyrian/Syriac folk music and Syriac sacral music
The abooba ܐܒܘܒܐ (basic flute) and ṭavla ܛܒ݂ܠܐ (large two-sided drum) became the most common musical instruments for tribal music. Some well known Assyrian/Syriac singers in modern times are Ashur Bet Sargis, Sargon Gabriel, Habib Mousa, Josef Özer, Janan Sawa, Klodia Hanna, Juliana Jendo, and Linda George.
The first International Aramaic Music Festival was held in Lebanon from 1 August until 4 August 2008 for Assyrian people internationally. Assyrians are also involved in western contemporary music, such as Rock/Metal (Melechesh), Rap (Timz) and Techno/Dance (Aril Brikha).
Main article: Assyrian folk dance
Assyrians have numerous traditional dances which are performed mostly for special occasions such as weddings. Assyrian dance is a blend of both ancient indigenous and general near eastern elements.
Assyrian/Syriac festivals tend to be closely associated with their Christian faith, of which Easter is the most prominent of the celebrations. Assyrian/Syriac members of the Assyrian Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic Church and Syriac Catholic Church follow the Gregorian calendar and as a result celebrate Easter on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25 inclusively. While Assyrian/Syriac members of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Ancient Church of the East celebrate Easter on a Sunday between April 4 and May 8 inclusively on the Gregorian calendar (March 22 and April 25 on the Julian calendar). During Lent Assyrian/Syriacs are encouraged to fast for 50 days from meat and any other foods which are animal based.
Assyrians celebrate a number of festivals unique to their culture and traditions as well as religious ones:
Assyrian new year festival in Dahuk, northern Iraq
• Kha b-Nisan ܚܕ ܒܢܝܣܢ, the Assyrian new year, traditionally on April 1, though usually celebrated on January 1. Assyrians usually wear traditional costumes and hold social events including parades and parties, dancing, and listening to poets telling the story of creation.
• Sauma d-Ba’utha ܒܥܘܬܐ ܕܢܝܢܘܝܐ, the Nineveh fast. It is a three-day period of fasting and prayer.
• Somikka, the Assyrian version of Halloween, traditionally meant to scare children into fasting during Lent.
• Kalu d’Sulaqa, celebration of the legend of Malik Shalita.
• Nusardyl, commemorating the baptism of the Assyrians of Urmia by St. Thomas.
• Sharra d’Mart Maryam, usually on August 15, a festival and feast celebrating St. Mary with games, food, and celebration.
• Other Sharras (special festivals) include: Sharra d’Mart Shmuni, Sharra d’Mar Shimon Bar-Sabbaye, Sharra d’Mar Mari, and Shara d’Mar Zaia, Mar Bishu, Mar Sawa, Mar Sliwa, and Mar Odisho
• Yoma d’Sah’deh (Day of Martyrs), commemorating the thousands massacred in the Simele Massacre and the hundreds of thousands massacred in the Assyrian Genocide.
Assyrians also practice unique marriage ceremonies. The rituals performed during weddings are derived from many different elements from the past 3,000 years. An Assyrian wedding traditionally lasted a week. Today, weddings in the Assyrian homeland usually last 2–3 days; in the Assyrian diaspora they last 1–2 days.
Main article: Assyrian clothing
Assyrian clothing varies from village to village. Clothing is usually blue, red, green, yellow, and purple; these colors are also used as embroidery on a white piece of clothing. Decoration is lavish in Assyrian costumes, and sometimes involves jewellery. The conical hats of traditional Assyrian dress have changed little over millennia from those worn in ancient Mesopotamia, and until the 19th and early 20th centuries the ancient Mesopotamian tradition of braiding or platting of hair, beards and moustaches was still commonplace.
Main article: Assyrian cuisine
Assyrian cuisine is similar to other Middle Eastern cuisines. It is rich in grain, meat, potato, cheese, bread and tomato. Typically rice is served with every meal, with a stew poured over it. Tea is a popular drink, and there are several dishes of desserts, snacks, and beverages. Alcoholic drinks such as wine and wheat beer are organically produced and drunk.
Further information: Genetic history of the Near East
Late 20th century DNA analysis conducted by Cavalli-Sforza, Paolo Menozzi and Alberto Piazza, “shows that Assyrians have a distinct genetic profile that distinguishes their population from any other population.” Genetic analysis of the Assyrians of Persia demonstrated that they were “closed” with little “intermixture” with the Muslim Persian population and that an individual Assyrian’s genetic makeup is relatively close to that of the Assyrian population as a whole. Cavalli-Sforza et al. state in addition, “[T]he Assyrians are a fairly homogeneous group of people, believed to originate from the land of old Assyria in northern Iraq”, and “they are Christians and are possibly bona fide descendants of their namesakes.” “The genetic data are compatible with historical data that religion played a major role in maintaining the Assyrian population’s separate identity during the Christian era”.
In a 2006 study of the Y chromosome DNA of six regional Armenian populations, including, for comparison, Assyrians and Syrians, researchers found that, “the Semitic populations (Assyrians and Syrians) are very distinct from each other according to both [comparative] axes. This difference supported also by other methods of comparison points out the weak genetic affinity between the two populations with different historical destinies.” 
A 2008 study on the genetics of “old ethnic groups in Mesopotamia,” including 340 subjects from seven ethnic communities (“Assyrian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Armenian, Turkmen, the Arab peoples in Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait”) found that Assyrians were homogeneous with respect to all other ethnic groups sampled in the study, regardless of religious affiliation.
In 2008 Fox News in the United States ran a feature called “Know your Roots. As part of the feature, an Assyrian reporter, Nineveh Dinha was tested by Gene Tree.com. Her DNA profile was traced back to the region of Harran in south eastern Anatolia in 1400 BC, which was a part of ancient Assyria.
In a 2011 study focusing on the genetics of Marsh Arabs of Iraq, researchers identified Y chromosome haplotypes shared by Marsh Arabs, Iraqis, and Assyrians, “supporting a common local background.” 
Syriac Christianity portal
• Assyrian Genocide
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• The Last Assyrians
• List of Assyrians
1. “The people we Greek call Syriacs, they call themselves Arameans”. (See J.G. Kidd, Posidonius (Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries, 1988), vol. 2, pt. 2, pp. 955-956)
1. also transliterated Sūrōyē / Sūryōyē / Ōṯūrōyē; all of ā, ō and word-final ē transliterate Aramaic Ālaph ܐ. Nicholas Awde, Nineb Limassu, Nicholas Al-Jeloo, Modern Aramaic Dictionary & Phrasebook: (Assyrian/Syriac) (2007), ISBN 9780781810876, p. 4; see also Names of Syriac Christians.
2. , UNPO estimates
4. Christian Official: The Number of Christians in Iraq Has Dropped to Three-Hundred Thousand
7. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2010-10-13). “Iran: Last of the Assyrians”. Refworld. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
10. Tore Kjeilen. “Lebanon / Religions – LookLex Encyclopaedia”. Looklex.com. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
11. Demographics of Sweden, Swedish Language Council “Sweden has also one of the largest exile communities of Assyrian and Syriac Christians (also known as Chaldeans) with a population of around 100,000.”
12. 2011 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates
14. Thrown to the Lions, Doug Bandow, The America Spectator
15. Jordan Should Legally Recognize Displaced Iraqis As Refugees, AINA.org. Assyrian and Chaldean Christians Flee Iraq to Neighboring Jordan, ASSIST News Service 
16. 100.000 Syriac Orthodox in Germany
17. Ancestry (full classification list) Australian Bureau of Statistics
18.  More than two thirds of Iraqis in Australia (80,000) are Christians
19. Web-team. “VATICAN RADIO – Official website – Home Page”. Radiovaticana.org. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
20. “Google Translate”. Translate.googleusercontent.com. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
21. Wieviorka & Bataille 2007, pp. 166
22. “CNN Under-Estimates Iraqi Assyrian Population”. Aina.org. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
23. Joshua Project. “Assyrian of United Kingdom Ethnic People Profile”. Joshuaproject.net. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
24. Tzilivakis, Kathy (10 May 2003). “Iraq’s Forgotten Christians Face Exclusion in Greece”. Athens News. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
25. 2002 Georgian census
26. State statistics committee of Ukraine – National composition of population, 2001 census (Ukrainian)
27. 2011 Armenian Census
28. http://www.stats.govt.nz/ New Zealand 2006 census
29. Joshua Project
30. Kazakhstan Live
32. MacDonald, Kevin (2004-07-29). Socialization for Ingroup Identity among Assyrians in the United States. Paper presented at a symposium on socialization for ingroup identity at the meetings of the International Society for Human Ethology, Ghent, Belgium. “Based on interviews with community informants, this paper explores socialization for ingroup identity and endogamy among Assyrians in the United States. The Assyrians descent from the population of ancient Assyria (founded in the 24th century BC), and have lived as a linguistic, political, religious, and ethnic minority in northern Iraq, northwest Iran, northeast Syria and southeast Turkey since the fall of the Assyrian Empire in 605 BC. Practices that maintain ethnic and cultural continuity in the Near East, the North America, Europe and elsewhere include language and residential patterns, ethnically based Christian churches characterized by unique holidays and rites, and culturally specific practices related to life-cycle events and food preparation. The interviews probe parental attitudes and practices related to ethnic identity and encouragement of endogamy. Results are being analyzed.”
33. Assyrians in Georgia, Joshua Project
34. Certrez, Donabed, and Makko (2012). The Assyrian Heritage: Threads of Continuity and Influence. Uppsala University. pp. 44–50. ISBN 978-91-554-8303-6.
35. Dr. Eden Naby. “Documenting The Crisis In The Assyrian Iranian Community”.
36. “Assyrian Christians ‘Most Vulnerable Population’ in Iraq”. The Christian Post. Archived from the original on 6 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-05.
37. “Iraq’s Christian community, fights for its survival”. Christian World News.
38. “U.S. Gov’t Watchdog Urges Protection for Iraq’s Assyrian Christians”. The Christian Post. Retrieved 2007-12-31.
39. “Especially in view of the very early establishment of Christianity in Assyria and its continuity to the present and the continuity of the population, I think there is every likelihood that ancient Assyrians are among the ancestors of modern Assyrians of the area.” Biggs, pp. 10
40. Wilmshurst, David, The Martyred Church: A History of the Church of the East (London, 2011), 413–16
41. Ancient and Modern Assyrians: A Scientific Analysis, page 88
42. Elias, Joel J. “The Genetics of Modern Assyrians and their Relationship to Other People of the Middle East”. atour.com. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
43. Parpola, Simo (2004). “National and Ethnic Identity in the Neo-Assyrian Empire and Assyrian Identity in Post-Empire Times” (PDF). Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies (JAAS) 18 (2): pp. 8–9.
44. Hooker, Richard. “Mesopotamia, the Assyrians, 1170–612, The Assyrian Period”. Washington State University.
45. Bertman, Stephen (2005). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. New York: Oxford UP. p. 244. ISBN 0-8160-4346-9.
46. Arrian, Anabasis, III.7.3.
47. George Roux- Ancient Iraq
48. Parpola, Simo (2004). “National and Ethnic Identity in the Neo-Assyrian Empire and Assyrian Identity in Post-Empire Times” (PDF). Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies (JAAS) 18 (2): pp. 21. “From the third century AD on, the Assyrians embraced Christianity in increasing numbers”
49. Georges Roux – Ancient Iraq
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THE NEW BABYLONIAN PSEUDO CALIPH AND MESSIAH OF IRAQ & SYRIA.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
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Mugshot of al-Baghdadi during Camp Bucca internment.
Caliph of the Islamic State
Reign 29 June 2014 – present
Predecessor Office created
Emir of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
In office 8 April 2013 – 29 June 2014
Predecessor Office created
Emir of the Islamic State of Iraq
In office 16 May 2010 – 7 April 2013
Predecessor Abu Omar al-Baghdadi
Spouse Saja al-Duleimi
Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai
Arabic: إبراهيم عواد إبراهيم البدري القرشي السامرائي
(nom de guerre Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Arabic: أبو بكر البغدادي)
Born 1971 (age 42–43)
Near Samarra, Iraq
Religion Salafist Sunni Islam
Ibrahim ibn Awwad ibn Ibrahim ibn Ali ibn Muhammad al-Badri al-Samarrai (Arabic: إبراهيم ابن عواد ابن إبراهيم ابن علي ابن محمد البدري السامرائي) is the Caliph—head of state and theocratic absolute monarch—of the self-proclaimed Islamic State located in western Iraq and north-eastern Syria. He is the former leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), alternatively translated as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
On 4 October 2011, the US State Department listed al-Baghdadi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and announced a reward of up to US$10 million for information leading to his capture or death. Only Ayman al-Zawahiri, chief of the global al-Qaeda organization, merits a larger reward (US$25 million).
1 Other names
3 Militant activity
3.1 As leader of the Islamic State in Iraq
3.2 As leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
3.3 As Caliph of the Islamic State
Al-Baghdadi was formerly also known as Abu Du’a (أبو دعاء), and is most commonly known by his nom de guerre: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (أبو بكر البغدادي),. He has also taken on the aliases Amir al-Mu’minin Caliph Ibrahim (أمير المؤمنين الخليفة إبراهيم) and, in an attempted claim to be a descendant of the prophet Muhammad, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Al-Husseini Al-Qurashi (أبو بكر البغدادي الحسيني الهاشمي القرشي).
Al-Baghdadi is believed to have been born near Samarra, Iraq, in 1971. According to an alleged biography posted on jihadist internet forums in July 2013, he obtained a BA, MA and PhD degree in Islamic studies from the Islamic University of Baghdad—since renamed the Iraqi University—in Adhamiya, Baghdad. Reports suggest that he was a cleric at the Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal Mosque in Samarra at around the time of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Allegiance Al-Qaeda (formerly)
Commands held Islamic State of Iraq
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Battles/wars Iraqi Insurgency
Syrian Civil War
2014 Northern Iraq offensive
After the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, al-Baghdadi helped to found the militant group Jamaat Jaysh Ahl al-Sunnah wa-l-Jamaah (JJASJ), for which he served as head of the sharia committee. Al-Baghdadi and his group joined the Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) in 2006, in which he served as a member of the MSC’s sharia committee. Following the renaming of the MSC to the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) in 2006, al-Baghdadi became the general supervisor of the ISI’s sharia committee and a member of the group’s senior consultative council.
According to US Department of Defense records, al-Baghdadi was held at Camp Bucca as a “civilian internee” by US Forces-Iraq from February until December 2004, when he was recommended for an “unconditional release” by a Combined Review and Release Board. A number of newspapers, in contrast, have stated that al-Baghdadi was interned from 2005 to 2009. These reports originated in an interview of Army Col Kenneth King, the former commander of Camp Bucca, and are not substantiated by US Department of Defense records.
As leader of the Islamic State in Iraq
Public service announcement for the bounty (reward) of al-Baghdadi (aka Abu Du’a) from Rewards for Justice Program
The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI)—also known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq or AQI—was the Iraqi division of the international Islamist militant organization al-Qaeda. Al-Baghdadi was announced as leader of the ISI on 16 May 2010, following the death of his predecessor, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, in a raid the month before.
As leader of the ISI, al-Baghdadi was responsible for managing and directing large-scale operations such as the 28 August 2011 attack on the Umm al-Qura Mosque in Baghdad which killed prominent Sunni lawmaker Khalid al-Fahdawi. Between March and April 2011, the ISI claimed 23 attacks south of Baghdad, all of which were alleged to have been carried out under al-Baghdadi’s command.
Following the US commando raid on 2 May 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that killed al-Qaeda supreme leader Osama bin Laden, al-Baghdadi released a statement eulogizing bin Laden and threatening violent retaliation for his death. On 5 May 2011, al-Baghdadi claimed responsibility for an attack in Hilla that killed 24 policemen and wounded 72 others.
On 15 August 2011, a wave of ISI suicide attacks beginning in Mosul resulted in 70 deaths. Shortly thereafter, the ISI pledged on its website to carry out 100 attacks across Iraq in retaliation for bin Laden’s death. It stated that this campaign would feature various methods of attack, including raids, suicide attacks, roadside bombs and small arms attacks, in all cities and rural areas across the country.
On 22 December 2011, a series of coordinated car bombings and IED attacks struck over a dozen neighborhoods across Baghdad, killing at least 63 people and wounding 180; the assault came just days after the US completed its troop withdrawal from the country. On 26 December, the ISI released a statement on jihadist internet forums claiming credit for the operation, stating that the targets of the Baghdad attack were “accurately surveyed and explored” and that the “operations were distributed between targeting security headquarters, military patrols and gatherings of the filthy ones of the al-Dajjal Army”, referring to the Mahdi Army of Shia warlord Muqtada al-Sadr.
On 2 December 2012, Iraqi officials claimed that they had captured al-Baghdadi in Baghdad following a two-month tracking operation. Officials claimed that they had also seized a list containing the names and locations of other al-Qaeda operatives. However, this claim was rejected by the ISI. In an interview with Al Jazeera on 7 December 2012, Iraq’s Acting Interior Minister said that the arrested man was not al-Baghdadi, but rather a section commander in charge of an area stretching from the northern outskirts of Baghdad to Taji.
As leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Al-Baghdadi remained leader of the ISI until its formal expansion into Syria in 2013, when in a statement on 8 April 2013, he announced the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)—alternatively translated from the Arabic as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). As the leader of ISIS, al-Baghdadi took charge of running all ISIS activity in Iraq and Syria.
When announcing the formation of ISIS, al-Baghdadi stated that the Syrian Civil War jihadist faction, Jabhat al-Nusra—also known as al-Nusra Front—had been an extension of the ISI in Syria and was now to be merged with ISIS. The leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, Abu Mohammad al-Jawlani, disputed this merging of the two groups and appealed to al-Qaeda emir Ayman al-Zawahiri, who issued a statement that ISIS should be abolished and that al-Baghdadi should confine his group’s activities to Iraq. Al-Baghdadi, however, dismissed al-Zawahiri’s ruling and took control of a reported 80% of Jabhat al-Nusra’s foreign fighters. In January 2014, ISIS expelled Jabhat al-Nusra from the Syrian city of Raqqa, and in the same month clashes between the two in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor Governorate killed hundreds of fighters and displaced tens of thousands of civilians. In February 2014, al-Qaeda disavowed any relations with ISIS.
According to several Western sources, al-Baghdadi and ISIS have received private financing from citizens in Saudi Arabia and Qatar and enlisted fighters through recruitment drives in Saudi Arabia in particular. 
As Caliph of the Islamic State
On 29 June 2014, ISIS announced the establishment of a caliphate, al-Baghdadi was named its caliph, to be known as Caliph Ibrahim, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was renamed the Islamic State (IS). There has been much debate across the Muslim world about the legitimacy of these moves.
The declaration of a caliphate has been heavily criticized by Middle Eastern governments and other jihadist groups, and by Sunni Muslim theologians and historians. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a prominent scholar living in Qatar stated: “[The] declaration issued by the Islamic State is void under sharia and has dangerous consequences for the Sunnis in Iraq and for the revolt in Syria”, adding that the title of caliph can “only be given by the entire Muslim nation”, not by a single group.
In an audio-taped message, al-Baghdadi announced that ISIS would march on Rome in its quest to establish an Islamic State from the Middle East across Europe, saying that he would conquer both Rome and Spain in this endeavor. He also urged Muslims across the world to emigrate to the new Islamic State.
On 5 July 2014, a video was released apparently showing al-Baghdadi making a speech at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, northern Iraq. A representative of the Iraqi government denied that the video was of al-Baghdadi, calling it a “farce”. However, both the BBC and the Associated Press quoted unnamed Iraqi officials as saying that the man in the video was believed to be al-Baghdadi. In the video, al-Baghdadi declared himself the world leader of Muslims and called on Muslims everywhere to support him.
• ^ Jump up to: a b Rubin, Alissa J. (5 July 2014). “Militant Leader in Rare Appearance in Iraq”. The New York Times. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
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• Jump up ^ “ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in video,confirmed Salafi”. KohraM. 6 July 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
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• Jump up ^ “IRAQ: U.S. offers $10-million reward for Al Qaeda in Iraq leader”. Los Angeles Times. WorldNow. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
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• ^ Jump up to: a b “ISIS Spokesman Declares Caliphate, Rebrands Group as “Islamic State””. SITE Institute. 29 June 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
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• Jump up ^ “A biography of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi”. Insite Blog on Terrorism & Extremism. SITE Intelligence Group. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014. “He is “a graduate of the Islamic University in Baghdad, where he finished his academic studies (BA, MA and PhD)”
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• Jump up ^ “How ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi became the world’s most powerful jihadist leader”. The Washington Post.
• Jump up ^ “Iraq crisis: the jihadist behind the takeover of Mosul – and how America let him go”. The Telegraph.
• Jump up ^ “Actor James Woods: Obama ordered the release of Islamic State leader”. Tampa Bay Times: Pundit Fact.
• Jump up ^ “Counterterrorism 2014 Calendar”. The National Counterterrorism Center. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
• ^ Jump up to: a b “Al Qaeda in Iraq claims Baghdad suicide attack, bombings”. The Long War Journal. 27 December 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
• Jump up ^ “Iraq’s ‘al-Qaeda chief’ arrested”. Aljazeera. 2 December 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
• Jump up ^ Tawfeeq, Mohammed (3 December 2012). “High-ranking al Qaeda in Iraq figure arrested, officials say”. CNN. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
• Jump up ^ “Islamic State of Iraq denies its emir captured”. The Long War Journal. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
• Jump up ^ Arraf, Jane (7 December 2012). “Detained man is not al-Qaeda in Iraq leader”. Ajazeera. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
• ^ Jump up to: a b “ISI Confirms That Jabhat Al-Nusra Is Its Extension in Syria, Declares ‘Islamic State of Iraq And Al-Sham’ As New Name Of Merged Group”. MEMRI. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
• Jump up ^ “Category Archives: Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shām”. JIHADOLOGY. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
• Jump up ^ Mroue, Bassem (11 June 2013). “Syria And Iraq Al Qaeda Merger Annulment Announced By Ayman Al Zawahri”. The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 2013-06-11. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
• Jump up ^ Abdul-Ahad, Ghaith (10 July 2013). “Syria’s al-Nusra Front – ruthless, organised and taking control”. The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
• Jump up ^ Holmes, Oliver (12 May 2014). “This disowned Al Qaeda branch is killing more Al Qaeda fighters in Syria than anyone else”. Thomson Reuters GlobalPost. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
• Jump up ^ Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi (22 August 2013). “Bay’ah to Baghdadi: Foreign Support for Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham”. Middle East Forum. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
• Jump up ^ Hauslohner, Abigail (13 June 2014). “Jihadist Expansion in Iraq puts Persian Gulf states in a tight spot”. The Washington Post. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
• Jump up ^ Keating, Joshua (16 June 2014). “Why the Iraq Mess Is So Awkward for Saudi Arabia”. Slate. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
• Jump up ^ “ISIL targets Saudi Arabia in recruitment drive”. The National. 16 June 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
• Jump up ^ “”They’re delusional”: Rivals ridicule ISIS declaration of Islamic state”. CBS News. 30 June 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
• ^ Jump up to: a b Strange, Hannah (5 July 2014). “Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi addresses Muslims in Mosul”. The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
• Jump up ^ Elgot, Jessica (2 July 2014). “ISIS Head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Warns ‘We Will Conquer Rome'”. The Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
• Jump up ^ “A Message to the Mujahidin and Muslim Ummah in the Month of Ramadan From Amir Ul Mu’minin Abu Bakr Al Husayni Al Qurashi Al-Baghdadi”. JustPaste.It. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
• Jump up ^ “Isis video ‘shows al-Baghdadi alive’ after death rumours”. BBC News. 5 July 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
• Jump up ^ Lucas, Ryan; Hadid, Diaa (5 July 2014). “Video purportedly shows extremist leader in Iraq”. Associated Press. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
• Jump up ^ “ISIS leader calls for global Muslim obedience”. Middle East Star. 5 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
• v t e
Leadership • Ayman al-Zawahiri Saif al-Adel Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah Adnan Gulshair el Shukrijumah Adam Yahiye Gadahn Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud Nasir al-Wuhayshi Moktar Ali Zubeyr
Former leadership • Osama bin Laden (killed) Abu Yahya al-Libi (killed) Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (captured) Anwar al-Awlaki (killed) Samir Khan (killed) Younis al-Mauritani (captured) Mohammed Atef (killed) Fazul Abdullah Mohammed (killed) Abu Faraj al-Libbi (captured) Atiyah Abd al-Rahman (killed) Abu Laith al-Libi (killed) Fahd al-Quso (killed) Ilyas Kashmiri (killed) Abdullah Said al Libi (killed) Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam (killed) Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan (killed) Ahmed Mohammed Hamed Ali (killed) Mohammad Hasan Khalil al-Hakim (killed) Midhat Mursi (killed) Saeed al-Masri (killed) Hassan Ghul (killed) Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi (captured) Mustafa Mohamed Fadhil (killed) Sulaiman Abu Ghaith (captured) Abu Anas al Libi (captured) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (expelled)
Timeline of attacks
• 1998 United States embassy bombings USS Cole bombing September 11 attacks 2002 Bali bombings 2007 Algiers bombings 11 April 2007 Algiers bombings 2008 Danish embassy bombing in Islamabad Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing
Wars • Soviet war in Afghanistan Civil war in Afghanistan (1989–1992) Civil war in Afghanistan (1992–1996) Civil war in Afghanistan (1996–2001) War in Afghanistan (2001–present) Iraq War Yemeni al-Qaeda crackdown Shia insurgency in Yemen Somali Civil War War in North-West Pakistan (Drone attacks) Insurgency in the Maghreb Syrian Civil War
Affiliates • Al-Shabaab (Somalia) Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Yemen) Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (North Africa) Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Egypt) Al-Nusra Front (Syria)
Media 10. Al Qaeda Handbook Al Neda As-Sahab Fatawā of Osama bin Laden Inspire Al-Khansaa Kuala Lumpur al-Qaeda Summit Management of Savagery Voice of Jihad Benevolence International Foundation Qaedat al-Jihad Global Islamic Media Front
Video and audio • Videos and audio recordings of Osama bin Laden Videos and audio recordings of Ayman al-Zawahiri USS Cole bombing video
Categories: 1971 birthsLiving peopleIslamic State of Iraq and the Levant membersIndividuals designated as terrorist by the United States governmentAl-Qaeda leadersHashemite peopleQuraishIraqi politicians21st-century caliphsHeads of state of unrecognized or largely unrecognized states
APOCALYPTIC END TIME WORLD ORDER PROPHECIES
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Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
by Albrecht Dürer.
Part of a series on
o End times
• 2012 phenomenon
o Last Judgment
• Resurrection of the dead
o Gog and Magog
o Messianic Age
Apocalypticism is the religious belief that there will be an apocalypse, a term which originally referred to a revelation of God’s will, but now usually refers to belief that the world will come to an end time very soon, even within one’s own lifetime. This belief is usually accompanied by the idea that civilization will soon come to a tumultuous end due to some sort of catastrophic global event.
Apocalypticism is often conjoined with esoteric knowledge that will likely be revealed in a major confrontation between good and evil forces, destined to change the course of history. Apocalypses can be viewed as good, evil, ambiguous or neutral, depending on the particular religion or belief system promoting them. They can appear as a personal or group tendency, an outlook or a perceptual frame of reference, or merely as expressions in a speaker’s rhetorical style.
• 1 Jewish apocalypticism
• 2 Christian apocalypticism
o 2.1 Jesus’ apocalypticism
o 2.2 Year 1000
o 2.3 Domesday Book
o 2.4 Fifth Monarchy Men
o 2.5 Isaac Newton and the end of the world in 2060
o 2.6 Millerites and Seventh-day Adventists
• 3 Apocalypticism in Islam
• 4 Apocalypticism in contemporary culture
o 4.1 Abrahamic religious themes
• 4.1.1 Harold Camping and his 2011 end times prediction
o 4.2 Secular apocalypticism
• 4.2.1 UFO religions
• 4.2.2 Y2K
• 4.2.3 Mayan calendar 2012
• 5 See also
o 5.1 General
o 5.2 Christian premillennial apocalyptic writers
o 5.3 Apocalyptic movements
o 5.4 Millenarian cults
• 6 Further reading (chronological)
• 7 References
Main article: Jewish Messiah claimants
Jewish apocalypticism holds a doctrine that there are two eras of history: the present era, which is ruled over by evil, and a coming era to be ruled over by God. At the time of the coming era, there will be a messiah who will deliver the faithful into the new era. Due to incidents arising very early on in Jewish history, predictions about the time of the coming of the Jewish messiah were highly discouraged, lest people lose faith when the predictions did not come true during the lifespan of the believer.
Moses of Crete, a rabbi in the 5th century, claimed to be the messiah and promised to lead the people, like the ancient Moses, through a parted sea back to Palestine. His followers left their possessions and waited for the promised day, when, at his command, many cast themselves into the sea, some finding death, others being rescued by sailors.
Christian apocalypticism is based on Jewish apocalypticism, and therefore holds consistent with the doctrine of two eras. John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and the Apostles were all apocalypticists who are believed by some to have preached to their followers that the world would end within their own lifetimes. The apocalyptic preaching of John the Baptist and the Apostles is well known and accepted as historical by religious and secular scholars due to extensive extra-biblical historical accounts of their lives. However, the apocalyptic message of Jesus as expressed in the synoptic gospels is much less well known. Jesus’ apocalyptic teachings are usually not emphasized in Christian religious education. However, some secular scholars believe that Jesus’ apocalyptic teachings were the central message Jesus intended to impart, more central even than his messianism.
Various Christian eschatological systems have developed, providing different frameworks for understanding the timing and nature of apocalyptic predictions. Some like dispensational premillennialism tend more toward an apocalyptic vision, while others like postmillennialism and amillennialism, while teaching that the end of the world could come at any moment, tend to focus on the present life and contend that one should not attempt to predict when the end should come, though there have been exceptions such as postmillennialist Jonathan Edwards, who attempted to calculate the precise timing of the end times.
Main article: Historical Jesus
The gospels portray Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet, described by himself and by others as the Son of Man – translated as the Son of Humanity – and hailing the restoration of Israel. Jesus himself, as the Son of God, a description also used by himself and others for him, was to rule this kingdom as lord of the Twelve Apostles, the judges of the twelve tribes.
Albert Schweitzer emphasized that Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet, preparing his fellow Jews for the imminent end of the world. In fact, Schweitzer saw Jesus as a failed, would-be Messiah whose ethic was suitable only for the short interim before the apocalypse. Many historians concur that Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet, most notably Paula Fredriksen, Bart Ehrman, and John P. Meier. E. P. Sanders portrays Jesus as expecting to assume the “viceroy” position in God’s kingdom, above the Twelve Disciples, who would judge the twelve tribes, but below God. He concludes, however, that Jesus seems to have rejected the title Messiah, and he contends that the evidence is uncertain to whether Jesus meant himself when he referred to the Son of Man coming on the clouds as a divine judge (see also Daniel’s Vision of Chapter 7), and further states that biblical references to the Son of Man as a suffering figure are not genuine.
However, the prevailing popular exegesis is not that Jesus was a failed would-be Messiah, nor an apocalypicist. One interpretation is that he did not expect a world-ending apocalypse within his own lifetime, but rather a “personal apocalypse”, i.e., the end of his own life. The ‘personal apocalypse’ theory caveat could be interpreted as a rebuttal in that Jesus never predicted an actual apocalypse at all. Jesus’ cryptic style of presentation called for the listener to interpret the words he spoke in different ways.
‘Personal apocalypse’ could refer to the metaphorical apocalypse of the Book of Revelation in that the battle between good and evil wages daily within the hearts and souls of those who believe and will only end the day that individual’s life comes to an end. Some Christian believers and theologians interpret the Book of Revelation to mean an actual, literal apocalypse based on fairly literal readings of biblical references.
One account supporting the interpretation of Jesus’ apocalypticism is at the crucifixion. After there is no apocalypse upon his crucifixion as he believed there would be, he asks on the Cross, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” The disciples then have to change their interpretation of Jesus’ message as portrayed in Acts of the Apostles.
The preaching of John was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat. 3:2), and Jesus also taught this same message (Mat 4:17; Mark 1:15). Additionally, Jesus spoke of the signs of “the close of the age” in the Olivet Discourse in Mat 24 (and parallels), near the end of which he said, “[T]his generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (v. 34). Interpreters have understood this phrase in a variety of ways, some saying that most of what he described was in fact fulfilled in the destruction of the Temple in the Roman Siege of Jerusalem (see Preterism), and some that “generation” should be understood instead to mean “race” (see NIV marginal note on Mat 24:34) among other explanations.
There are a few recorded instances of apocalypticism leading up to the year 1000. However they mostly rely on one source, Rodulfus Glaber.
Main article: Domesday Book
When William the Conqueror, initiated a census of his conquered land, the “Domesday Book”, as it was called, was interpreted by many of the English as being the “Book of Life” written of in Revelation. The belief was that when the book was completed, the end of the world would come.
Fifth Monarchy Men
Main article: Fifth Monarchists
The Fifth Monarchy Men were active from 1649 to 1661 during the Interregnum, following the English Civil Wars of the 17th century. They took their name from a belief in a world-ruling kingdom to be established by a returning Jesus in which prominently figures the year 1666 and its numerical relationship to a passage in the Biblical Book of Revelation indicating the end of earthly rule by carnal human beings.
Around 1649, there was great social unrest in England and many people turned to Oliver Cromwell as England’s new leader. The Parliamentary victors of the First English Civil War failed to negotiate a constitutional settlement with the defeated King Charles I. Members of Parliament and the Grandees in the New Model Army, when faced with Charles’s perceived duplicity, reluctantly tried and executed him.
Isaac Newton and the end of the world in 2060
Main article: Isaac Newton’s occult studies
Isaac Newton proposed that the world would not end until the year 2060, based largely on his own study and deciphering of Bible codes.
Millerites and Seventh-day Adventists
Main articles: Millerites and Seventh-day Adventist Church
Preacher William Miller, who led his followers to the Great Disappointment of 1844.
The Millerites were the followers of the teachings of William Miller who, in 1833, first shared publicly his belief in the coming Second Advent of Jesus Christ in roughly the year 1843.
The ideological descendants of the Millerites are the Seventh-day Adventists, who are distinguished among Christian denominations for their emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ. One notable example was the following of Margaret Rowen, a member of the Los Angeles Seventh-Day Adventists, who believed the second coming of Jesus was to strike on February 6, 1925.
Apocalypticism in Islam
Main article: Islamic eschatology
Apocalypticism in contemporary culture
Main article: Apocalypse (disambiguation)
Apocalypticism is a frequent theme of literature, film and television.
Abrahamic religious themes
Harold Camping and his 2011 end times prediction
Main article: 2011 end times prediction
The 2011 end times prediction made by American Christian radio host Harold Camping stated that the Rapture and Judgment Day would take place on May 21, 2011, and that the end of the world would take place five months later on October 21, 2011.
A UFO religion sometimes features an anticipated end-time in which extraterrestrial beings will bring about a radical change on Earth or lift the religious believers to a higher plane of existence. One such religious group’s failed expectations of such an event served as the basis for the classic social psychology study When Prophecy Fails.
Apocalypticism was especially evident with the approach of the millennial year 2000, in which simultaneous computer crashes caused by uncorrected instances of the Y2k bug were expected to throw global commerce and financial systems into chaos. Massive although often ill-directed software updates and replacement ensured that the remaining software bugs had minimal effect. Piggy-backing on these issues, and probably driven by the “interesting date” unsupported allegations of an apocalypse were common.
Mayan calendar 2012
Main article: 2012 apocalypticism
The 2012 doomsday prediction was a contemporary cultural meme proposing that cataclysmic and apocalyptic events would occur on December 21, 2012. This idea has been disseminated by numerous books, Internet sites and by TV documentaries with increasing frequency since the late 1990s. This date is derived from the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar which completes 12 baktuns or 1 Great cycle equaling 5,125 years on December 21 or 23, 2012. There is also a movie called 2012 made in 2009 inspired from this theory. The prediction given by the Mayans about what would happen at the end of this Great Cycle is described as a rebirth of this world and the beginning of an age of enlightenment. There are also other interpretations of assorted legends, scriptures, numerological constructions and prophecies encircling this date.
This article contains embedded lists that may be poorly defined, unverified or indiscriminate. Please help to clean it up to meet Wikipedia’s quality standards. Where appropriate, incorporate items into the main body of the article. (March 2009)
• The book “1975 in Prophecy!”
• 2012 phenomenon
• 3rd millennium
• Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius
• Apocalyptic literature
• Bible code
• Big crunch
• Book of Revelation
• Buddhist eschatology
• Center for Millennial Studies
• Christian eschatology
• End time
• Great Apostasy
• Great Disappointment
• Hindu eschatology
• Islamic eschatology
• Jerusalem syndrome
• Jewish eschatology
• Kali Yug
• Number of the Beast
• Risks to civilization, humans and planet Earth
• Second Coming
• Summary of Christian eschatological differences
• The Bible Code by Michael Drosnin
• The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
• Ultimate fate of the Universe
• Unfulfilled religious predictions
Christian premillennial apocalyptic writers
• Tim LaHaye
• Hal Lindsey
• James Redfield
• Seventh-day Adventist Church
• Jehovah’s Witnesses
• The Brethren (Jim Roberts group), also known as “The Body of Christ”.
• Branch Davidians
• Aum Shinrikyo
• Heaven’s Gate
• Order of the Solar Temple
• Peoples Temple
Further reading (chronological)
• Boyer, Paul S. (1992). When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap/Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-95128-X
• Cohn, Norman. (1993). Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come: The Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09088-9
• Aukerman, Dale. (1993). Reckoning with Apocalypse. New York: Crossroad. ISBN 0-8245-1243-X
• O’Leary, Stephen. (1994). Arguing the Apocalypse: A Theory of Millennial Rhetoric. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508045-9
• Quinby, Lee. (1994). Anti-Apocalypse: Exercises in Genealogical Criticism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-2278-7 (hard bound) ISBN 0-8166-2279-5 (paperback)
• Strozier, Charles B. (1994). Apocalypse: On the Psychology of Fundamentalism in America. Boston: Beacon Press. ISBN 0-8070-1226-2
• Fuller, Robert C. (1995). Naming the Antichrist: The History of an American Obsession. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508244-3
• Thompson, Damian. (1996). The End of Time: Faith and Fear in the Shadow of the Millennium. London: Sinclair-Stevenson. ISBN 1-85619-795-6
• Thompson, Damian. (1997). The End of Time: Faith and Fear in the Shadow of the Millennium. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England. ISBN 0-87451-849-0
• Strozier, Charles B, and Michael Flynn, eds. 1997. The Year 2000: Essays on the End. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-8030-X (hard bound) ISBN 0-8147-8031-8 (paperback)
• Robbins, Thomas, and Susan J. Palmer, eds. 1997. Millennium, Messiahs, and Mayhem: Contemporary Apocalyptic Movements. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-91648-8 (hard bound) ISBN 0-415-91649-6 (paperback)
• Heard, Alex and Klebnikov, Peter, December 27, 1998, “Apocalypse Now. No, Really. Now!”, The New York Times Magazine
• Stewart, Kathleen and Susan Harding. 1999. “Bad Endings: American Apocalypsis.” Annual Review of Anthropology, 28, pp. 285–310.
• Allison, Dale C. (1999) Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet (Augsburg Fortress) ISBN 0-8006-3144-7
• Wessinger, Catherine, ed.. 2000. Millennialism, Persecution, and Violence: Historical Cases. Religion and Politics Series, Michael Barkun, (ed.). Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. ISBN 0-8156-2809-9 (hard bound) ISBN 0-8156-0599-4 (paperback)
• Stone, Jon R., ed. 2000. Expecting Armageddon: Essential Readings in Failed Prophecy. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-92331-X (paperback)
• Brasher, Brenda E. 2000. “From Revelation to The X-Files: An Autopsy of Millennialism in American Popular Culture”, Semeia 82:281–295.
• Mason, Carol. 2002. Killing for Life: The Apocalyptic Narrative of Pro-life Politics. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-3920-5 (hard cover) ISBN 0-8014-8819-2 (paperback)
• Urstadt, Bryant. 2006. “Imagine there’s no oil: scenes from a liberal apocalypse. (Viewpoint essay).” Harper’s Magazine 313.1875 (August 2006): 31(9) 
• Kobb, Kurt. 2006. “Apocalypse always: Is the peak oil movement really just another apocalyptic cult?” (August 5, 2006). http://resourceinsights.blogspot.com/2006/08/apocalypse-always-is-peak-oil-movement.html Accessed on October 14, 2006.
• Zuquete, Jose Pedro. “Apocalyptic Movements.”Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 31 Dec. 2012
1. Donna Kossy, Kooks
2. Bart D. Ehrman’s Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet
3. Theissen, Gerd and Annette Merz. The historical Jesus: a comprehensive guide. Fortress Press. 1998. translated from German (1996 edition)
4. Sanders, E. P. The historical figure of Jesus. Penguin, 1993. Chapter 15, Jesus’ view of his role in God’s plan.
5. “Jesus Returning to Earth On May 21, 2011”. Flashnews.com. 2010-07-30. Retrieved 2010-11-29.
6. “Prophets predict the end of the world to 2011 may 21”. Wikinews. 2011-05-21. Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
7. “May 21, 2011: Judgment Day believers descend on Joburg”. The Daily Maverick. Retrieved 2010-11-29.
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