In Hundreds Of Posts, Islamic State (ISIS) Supporters Rush To Declare Allegiance To Organization's Unknown Fourth Caliph

December 1, 2022

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ISIS Announces Death Of Its Third Leader, Appoints Fourth

On November 30, 2022, the Islamic State (ISIS) Al-Furqan official media outlet released an audio message by the organization's spokesman, Abu 'Umar Al-Muhajir, announcing the killing in battle of ISIS leader Abu Al-Hasan Al-Hashemi Al-Qurashi and the appointment of a new leader, Abu Al-Husayn Al-Husayni Al-Qurashi. The ISIS spokesman urged all Muslims to immediately swear fealty to Abu Al-Husayn, as it is forbidden for a Muslim "to spend two nights without pledging allegiance to an Imam."[1] The appointment of Abu Al-Hasan, the third ISIS caliph, had been announced in March 2022[2] following the killing of the second ISIS leader, Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashemi Al-Qurashi, who succeeded the organization's founder, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, after he was killed in October 2019.[3]

It should be noted that ISIS has never disclosed the identities of its second, third, or fourth leaders. Although it is widely assumed that Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashemi Al-Qurashi was the nom de guerre of Amir Muhammad Sa'id 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Mawla Al-Slibi aka Hajji 'Abdallah Qardash, the identity of Abu Al-Hasan Al-Hashemi Al-Qurashi was the subject of speculation among media outlets and analysts, who suggested several names, most prominently Bashar Khattab Ghazal Al-Sumayda'i aka Hajji Zayd and Jum'ah 'Awwad Al-Badri, the older brother of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.[4] So far, the identity of Abu Al-Husayn Al-Husayni Al-Qurashi remains completely unknown.

Several hours after ISIS announced the killing of its third leader, the United States Central Command (U.S. CENTCOM) issued a press release stating that he had been killed in mid-October by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Syria's Daraa province.[5] CENTCOM provided no further details concerning the slain ISIS leader's identity or the exact circumstances of his death. However, the U.S. narrative fits with the October 15, 2022 killing of 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Iraqi aka Sayf Baghdad [Sword of Baghdad] in Jasem, Daraa governorate by Syrian soldiers supported by local armed groups. At the time of his killing, media reports referred to Sayf Baghdad as one of ISIS' leaders in Daraa, suggesting that if he was the caliph of the entire ISIS organization, his killers were not aware of that fact.

Pro-ISIS Media Groups, Supporters Rush To Publish Announcements Of Allegiance To New Caliph

Following the ISIS spokesman's announcement that a new caliph had been appointed and his instruction for all Muslims to immediately swear allegiance to him, supporters hurried to announce their bay'ahs [oaths of allegiance] to Abu Al-Husayn Al-Husayni.

Prominent ISIS supporter Sawt Al-Zarqawi created a Telegram channel and within an hour of the release of the ISIS audio message, he posted a "'directive" urging supporters to post their bay'ahs on their social media channels. Sawt Al-Zarqawi later asked supporters to contact a particular channel to submit the bay'ahs, which would be posted on the channel. It should be noted that Sawt Al-Zarqawi was behind a campaign which ran from November 23-25 asking supporters to renew their allegiance to Abu Al-Hasan Al-Hashemi Al-Qurashi.[6]

More than 19 hours after the channel was created, it has 973 subscribers and has posted more than 800 signed bay'ahs submitted from dozens of countries. While most of the posts are in Arabic, some are in other languages, including English, Persian, Bangladeshi, and Amharic.

ISIS's official English-language media outlet, published a poster on December 1 announcing its allegiance to Abu Al-Husayn and containing the English text of the bay'ah.

A pro-ISIS media outlet, which runs a website that compiles official and unofficial ISIS media productions, such as claims of attacks, videos, and posters, published more than a dozen posters by semi-official media groups containing the text of the bay'ah. All the media groups used a template identical to the one used by ISIS's English outlet, with text in Arabic, and affixed their own logos to the poster.

A above poster by an ISIS media outlet features the text of the bay'ah.

A pro-ISIS media group published a similar poster featuring its bay'ah, using the same template.

Several other pro-ISIS media groups also released their own posters declaring their bay'ahs to the new ISIS leader. One of these groups is an unofficial media group affiliated with the Islamic State East Asia Province (ISEAP) which releases claims of attacks, videos, and posters in multiple languages, including English, Filipino, and Indonesian.[7] Two more obscure pro-ISIS media groups which declared their allegiance to Abu Al-Husayn an outlet that created a channel on the ISIS-operated Rocket.Chat server on November 27, and an outlet that may be run by a Pakistani supporter.

A poster with the Arabic text of the
bay'ah transliterated into Latin script.

It should be noted that many of these semi-official and unofficial media groups similarly rushed to declare their allegiance to Abu Al-Hasan Al-Hashemi Al-Qurashi after he was declared ISIS caliph on March 10, 2022.[8]


[5], November 30, 2022.

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