Pro-Islamic State (ISIS) Media Group Republishes Essay Branding Ottoman Empire Un-Islamic, Claiming Modern Turkey, Muslim Brotherhood As Successors To Its War On Islam

February 19, 2024

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On February 14, 2024, the pro-Islamic State (ISIS) Bariqah News Agency posted a 16-page essay by the pro-ISIS Bunat Al-Amjad Foundation, titled "The Ottoman Empire in the Scales of Islam."[1] The essay was originally published on August 7, 2019,[2] and Bariqah has republished it multiple times since.[3] Written under the pseudonym 'Ayn Al-Haqiqah (Eye of Truth), the essay argues that the Ottoman Empire was un-Islamic from its inception and claims that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Muslim Brotherhood have followed in the footsteps of the Ottomans. The essay's cover depicts Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan Al-Banna wearing a fez – a symbol of the Ottoman Empire – along with Erdoğan and Egypt's former Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, wearing Ottoman-style fur caps, with images of Sufi dervishes below.

The most recent republication of the essay coincided with Erdoğan's visit to Cairo, where he met with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, in his first trip to Egypt since relations between the two countries deteriorated following Sisi's deposition of Morsi, whom Turkey supported.

First Ottomans Were Not Muslim

The essay begins by stating that historians disagree whether the Ottoman Empire began as an Islamic state or its founders "took Islam as an excuse for rule and expansion." According to the writer, Osman I, the 14th-century founder of the dynasty, was an "idolater, not a Muslim," adding that the Ottomans "sought rule and expansion in the name of Islam as an excuse to dominate the Islamic world," like the Persians did.

Ottoman Sultans Propagated "Polytheistic" Sufism, Replaced Shari'a Laws

Discussing the "truth of the Ottoman Empire," 'Ayn Al-Haqiqah accuses the state of "corrupting the beliefs of the Muslims" both by spreading polytheism and waging war on Islamic monotheism. Basing himself on the Salafi view of Sufism as a "polytheistic" sect which worships graves and saints, he quotes anti-Ottoman historians who wrote that Sufism was originally "a deserted corner of society," but under the Ottomans became "society and religion" themselves. The second Ottoman sultan, Orhan, was a member of the Bektashi Sufi order, which the author describes as a combination of polytheistic and Shi'ite beliefs, making its adherents apostates from Islam.

Mentioning several sultans who ruled over the centuries, 'Ayn Al-Haqiqah accuses them of severe violations of Islam. He asserts that a hadith prophesying the Muslim conquest of Constantinople does not refer to Sultan Mehmed II, who conquered the Byzantine capital in 1453, and insists that "the conquerors will be at the end of time, after the [apocalyptic] battle of Dabiq." This sultan was the first to replace corporal punishments prescribed by shari'a with monetary fines, and also decreed that every sultan must kill his brothers upon ascending the throne, to eliminate rivals.

16th-century Sultan Suleiman I, known as the Lawgiver, was the first to "introduce European laws to the Muslims" based on the instigation of "the Jews and Christians," according to the essay. Abdul Hamid II, who reigned from 1876 to 1909, was a "fanatic Sufi" of the Shadhili order, whose heresies join its adherents with "the unbelievers and idolaters."

Ottomans Waged War On Islamic Saudi State, Committed Worse Atrocities Than "Crusaders"

Quoting Wahhabi historical sources about the war between the Ottoman Empire and the first Saudi State, founded by the followers of 18th-century puritanical preacher Muhammad ibn 'Abd Al-Wahhab, 'Ayn Al-Haqiqah offers these events as evidence of the Ottomans' war against Islam.

When the Turks "invaded the land of monotheism" and attacked the Wahhabi state in 1811, ibn 'Abd Al-Wahhab's grandson composed a book providing 20 arguments that those who helped the "soldiers of shrines and polytheism" – as he described the Ottoman forces – were guilty of "apostasy and unbelief." The essay cites a Wahhabi scholar whose poem described the Turks as "among the most infidel people … most hostile and worst to the Muslims," and who wrote that "there is no doubt to [the] unbelief" of those who allied with them. 'Ayn Al-Haqiqah takes pains, however, to stress that although the Ottoman Empire was an "infidel state," not all its subjects were unbelievers.

The essay notes that the Ottomans fought against ibn 'Abd Al-Wahhab's preaching and "sent campaign after campaign to wage war on the monotheists," defeating the first Saudi State in 1818. The writer claims that the Ottoman sultan corresponded with Napoleon to ask his help in subduing the Wahhabis, and that in these campaigns, the Ottomans committed "atrocities that make what the crusaders perpetrated pale in comparison," including selling Wahhabi women and children into slavery.

Turkey's Erdoğan And Muslim Brotherhood Are Successors To Ottoman Unbelief, Continue Its War On Jihad

The essay concludes that "the Ottoman Empire was an infidel state that committed major polytheism which takes [its perpetrators out of the fold of] the religion. It was a state established on corrupting Muslims' beliefs and perverting their creed. It was not very different from the empire of [the Shi'ite] Isma'il, the Safavid Persian, and the [Shi'ite] Fatimid Empire."

Applying these conclusions to modern states and groups, 'Ayn Al-Haqiqah asserts that the Ottomans' successors "do not belong to Sunni Islam" and are "long-time allies with the Jews, Christians, and Persians, no different from them."

The writer argues that viewing the Ottoman Empire as Muslim is "one of the biggest historical mistakes," and insists that the Ottomans were always "a dagger in the side of the Islamic ummah [nation]." Even today, "whenever jihad arises in any part of the Islamic world, you find Erdoğan taking his wife and going to them to extinguish the spark of jihad with a bundle of money and projects to tame them and return the people to their homes, so that their heads can be eliminated one after the other and the rest delivered to their executioners."

Asserting that the Turks seek to promote their agendas and "polytheistic, idolatrous beliefs" in various countries, the essay claims that the Muslim Brotherhood is one such agent. The group "corrupted people's beliefs and were a poisoned dagger in the backs of the mujahideen wherever they went. They continue to wage war against the monotheists as hard as they can."

ISIS designated Turkey as an enemy in 2016 and incited against it, claiming attacks in the country during 2016-2017.[4] ISIS' Turkey Province, first acknowledged in April 2019, claimed its first attack on January 28, 2024, when two gunmen killed a man and wounded another in an attack on an Istanbul church.[5]



[1] Telegram, February 14, 2024.

[2] Telegram, August 7, 2019.

[3] Telegram, February 23, 2021; May 16, 2021; August 21, 2021; September 7, 2021; January 7, 2022; February 2, 2022; September 11, 2022.

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