Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Quotes by ISIL members
- Sorted alphabetically by author or source
- If you see that I am wrong, advise me and put me on the right track, and obey me as long as I obey God in you... God gave your mujahedeen brothers victory after long years of jihad and patience... so they declared the caliphate and placed the caliph in charge. This is a duty on Muslims that has been lost for centuries.
- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as quoted in "Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi addresses Muslims in Mosul", The Telegraph (5 July, 2014)
- Do not think the war that we are waging is the Islamic State’s war alone. Rather, it is the Muslims’ war altogether. It is the war of every Muslim in every place, and the Islamic State is merely the spearhead in this war. It is but the war of the people of faith against the people of disbelief.
- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as quoted in "Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi resurfaces in audio urging supporters to join terror group", Independent (15 May 2015)
- Thus, he is the imam and khalīfah for the Muslims everywhere. 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.
- Anonymous spokesman of DAESH, as quoted in "ISIS announces formation of Caliphate, rebrands as 'Islamic State'", The Long War Journal (29 June 2014, retrieved 30 June 2014)
Quotes about ISIL
- Sorted alphabetically by author or source
- Daesh hates being referred to by this term, and what they don’t like has an instinctive appeal to me. … I absolutely refuse to refer to it by the title that it claims for itself (Islamic State), because I think this is a perversion of religion and a travesty of governance. … I’ve never used that term and I would strongly counsel people against ever using the presumptuous title that they have given themselves.
- The world’s Muslims have a critical role in global understanding. Our faith, like yours, commands mercy, peace and tolerance. It upholds, as yours does, the equal human dignity of every person — men and women, neighbours and strangers. Those outlaws of Islam who deny these truths are vastly outnumbered by the ocean of believers — 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. In fact, these terrorists have made the world’s muslims their greatest target. We will not allow them to hijack our faith.
- Abdullah II of Jordan, "Remarks by His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein", European Parliament, Strasbourg (10 March, 2015)
- We look forward to the coming, as soon as possible, of the caliphate. But 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.
- Yusef al-Qaradawi, as quoted in "Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi addresses Muslims in Mosul", The Telegraph (5 July 2014)
- The Islamic caliphate can’t be restored by force. Occupying a country and killing half of its population... this is not an Islamic state, this is terrorism.
- Abbas Shuman, as quoted in "Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi addresses Muslims in Mosul", The Telegraph (5 July, 2014)
- This evil death cult is neither a true representation of Islam not is it a state.
- We face a fundamental threat to our security. Isil have brutally murdered British hostages, they have inspired the worst terrorist attack against British people since 7/7 on the beaches of Tunisia, and they have plotted atrocity after atrocity on the streets here at home. Since November last year our security services have foiled no less than seven different plots against our people. So this threat is very real and the question is this: Do we work with our allies to degrade and destroy this threat and do we go after these terrorists in their heartlands from where they are plotting to kill British people, or do we sit back and wait for them to attack us?
- "Britain could be bombing by midnight: Cameron on course to win crunch vote on airstrikes against ISIS in Syria with a majority of up to 100" in Daily Mail (2 December 2015)
- David Cameron today urged MPs to back airstrikes against ISIS to wipe out the "women-raping, Muslim-murdering, medieval monsters" hijacking Islam for their "warped ends".
- The Russians have sometimes said one thing and done another... We know from long experience in Iraq and Afghanistan to take territory, hold territory, and govern territory and prevent a reemergence of a terrorist group... The bane of Iraq has been sectarianism... There are three components to Iraq... We vastly prefer a multi-sectarian Iraqi state to any form of disintegration because we know where that leads. Sectarianism leads to the kind of thing that ISIL represents. But, for that to work in Iraq? The Sunnis have to be represented, and they have to be part of the fight to take back their own territory. So, we are working with them a lot... The Russians have been way off track since the very beginning. They have not done what they said they were going to do and they are not doing what is in their interest to do in terms of fighting ISIL.
- The Islamic State is not a state and I would predict fairly confidently that they are not going to establish a viable one and it is certainly not an attractive state... It is not a state in which millions of people are dying to live in a place which beheads people regularly and forces women into these highly constrained roles... It's true that liberalism is not doing well in that part of the world... But I do not think that radical Islam represents a long-term civilizational alternative to the kind of regimes that exist in Europe and North America and Asia.
- Francis Fukuyama, as quoted in "Fukuyama: 'Putinism', Radical Islam No Alternative To Liberal Democracy" (30 January 2016), by Charles Recknagel, Radio Free Europe: Radio Liberty
- Every day that you could read about an Israeli rocket gone astray or Israeli soldiers beating up an innocent teenager, you could have read about ISIS in Iraq crucifying people on the side of the road, Christians and Muslims. Where is the outrage in the Muslim world and on the Left over these crimes? Where are the demonstrations, 10,000 or 100,000 deep, in the capitals of Europe against ISIS? If Israel kills a dozen Palestinians by accident, the entire Muslim world is inflamed. God forbid you burn a Koran, or write a novel vaguely critical of the faith. And yet Muslims can destroy their own societies... What do groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, and even Hamas, want? They want to impose their religious views on the rest of humanity. They want to stifle every freedom that decent and educated and secular people care about. This is not a trivial difference. And yet, judging from the level of condemnation that Israel now receives, you would think the difference ran the other way. This kind of confusion puts us all in danger. This is the great story of our time. For the rest of our lives, and the lives of our children, we are going to be confronted by people who don't want to live peacefully in a secular pluralistic world because they are desperate to get to paradise, and they are willing to destroy the very possibility of human happiness along the way. The truth is, we are all living in Israel; it's just that some of us haven't realized it yet.
- Far from using Islam as a mere facade for bloodlust... The Islamic State’s interpretations of Koranic teachings are fundamental to its mission.
- Steven Mazie, "How Islamic is ISIS?" (2015), Big Think
- I think we can probably say with some confidence that if an evangelical Christian group threw gays off towers in the Deep South, gay media outlets would currently be lambasting the Christian churches for a history of homophobia which had led to this pass. There would be demands for every prominent and obscure Christian pastor to condemn this brutal act. And they would. If a group of group of deeply extrovert Jews did a similar thing we could, I think, expect a similarly stern response. But the most that can be done with ISIS is simply to report the facts and let them sit there, as though they come from nowhere. As if the traditions of throwing gays off buildings or collapsing walls on them and so on are probably just accretions of colonial times with no connection to any religious tradition.
- Douglas Murray, "Why does the battle for gay rights stop at the borders of Islam?" (3 February 2015), The Spectator
- The world isn’t going to become an Islamic caliphate, but that doesn’t stop the Islamists from pursuing that as a goal.
- Brian Reynolds Myers, as quoted in "Here's what's driving North Korea's nuclear program — and it might be more than self-defense" (1 May 2017), by Jonathan Kaiman
- The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs. We must always remember. I'll say it one more time; the greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can't let that happen.
- As we focus on destroying ISIL, over-the-top claims that this is World War III just play into their hands. Masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks and twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages pose an enormous danger to civilians and must be stopped. But they do not threaten our national existence. That’s the story ISIL wants to tell; that’s the kind of propaganda they use to recruit. We don’t need to build them up to show that we’re serious, nor do we need to push away vital allies in this fight by echoing the lie that ISIL is representative of one of the world’s largest religions. We just need to call them what they are — killers and fanatics who have to be rooted out, hunted down, and destroyed.
- Isis is not an existential threat to the United States. Climate change is a potential existential threat to the entire world if we don’t do something about it.
- ISIS wasn't a threat two years ago. Why? Because they would have probably been wiped out by Assad. But we put six-hundred tons of weapons into the Syrian civil war, and what has happened? We created a haven—not just us—Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates—they've poured weapons indiscriminately in there, and most of them have wound up in the hands of ISIS.
- Sen. Rand Paul, (R-KY), Rand Paul in North Carolina on C-SPAN (1 October 2014)
- What should the United States do about ISIS now that they've taken over half of Syria and a third of Iraq?
The answer is: let Assad, the Iranians, the Turks, and, yes, the Russians take care of it, since they are the states directly threatened by the growth of the so-called Islamic State. Why should we fight their war for them?
Contrary to the War Party's hebephrenic appeals to intervene, inaction on our part is key to the destruction of ISIS. The Grand Caliph of the Islamic State would like nothing more than to be able to portray ISIS as the valiant opponent of a US reentry into the region. It would be a tremendous propaganda victory for them to be able to frame their cause in this context because the result would be a successful international recruiting drive that would fill the ranks of the Islamic State's army even as hundreds are killed by US drones and missile strikes.
- No, we don't have to ally with Assad–or the Iranians, for that matter–for them to deal effectively with our monstrous creations. We simply have to stand aside and watch as those states with a real stake in this fight are allowed to take aim and fire. In this case, inaction is the most effective act we can take: by stopping our support for the Syrian Islamists, we cut off a major source of support for ISIS–and leave Assad free to go after them hammer and tongs.
ISIS and its sympathizers worldwide would like nothing better than to lure us into another land war in the Middle East, one in which we would fare no better than we did last time around. Yet that is the only alternative to the Rand Paul strategy.
- And as for his claim that the Islamic State "is certainly not a state," the President's tone is rather too defensive. He says "it is recognized by no government, nor by the people it subjugates," but none of these factors are relevant in determining what constitutes a state–which is nothing more or less than a monopoly on the use of force in a given territory. The horror that is ISIL is merely the process of state formation looked at up close: the terror they employ is simply an exaggerated rendition of how every state gains its "legitimacy"–by definitively establishing its coercive monopoly. While ISIL is doing so in a particularly graphic manner, in principle it is acting no differently than any other embryonic state in history, benign creation myths to the contrary notwithstanding.
- We are truly in a battle for our very lives not just in the sense that they will kill us if they can, but in the sense that life itself is being challenged, that it's life versus death, you either love life or you love death, creation versus destruction, love versus hatred, that's what this is about. And so, when we see the Islamic State (ISIS), we see not only that they embody Islam as I have explained here in this, that's all in the Quran what they do, but also that they embody what may be, the foremost evil force that the world has ever seen.
- Robert Spencer, ACT for America chapter in Mission Viejo, California (9 March 2015)
- ISIL herded approximately 450−500 women and girls to the citadel of Tal Afar in Ninewa where, two days later, 150 unmarried girls and women, predominantly from the Yezidi and Christian communities, were reportedly transported to Syria, either to be given to ISIL fighters as a reward or to be sold as sex slaves, the report said. So where are the 'war on women' advocates? I know, crickets chirping. The progressive socialist feminist movement would rather not have Obama admit he was wrong than save these women.
- Allen West, "Even the UN accuses ISIS of human rights abuses, but the left stays silent" (5 February 2015), Allen B. West: Steadfast and Loyal
- We have endured a lot of harm from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his brothers, and we preferred to respond with as little as possible, out of our concern to extinguish the fire of sedition. But Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his brothers did not leave us a choice, for they have demanded that all the mujahideen reject their confirmed pledges of allegiance, and to pledge allegiance to them for what they claim of a caliphate.
- Ayman al-Zawahiri, as quoted in "Al Qaeda 'declares war' on ISIS as 9/11 terror group boss blasts rival for declaring himself leader of all Muslims", The Mirror (11 September 2015)
- There is a 360-degree, not 180-degree, difference between the Islam we (Turkey) defend and what Daesh has on its mind.
- Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkish Prime Minister: ‘There Is a 360-Degree Difference Between Turkish Islam and ISIS’, Foreign Policy (15 October 2015)
"Four Reasons Bombing ISIS in Syria Isn't Well Thought-Out" by Ed Krayewski
Krayewksi, Ed (23 September 2014). "Four Reasons Bombing ISIS in Syria Isn't Well Thought-Out". Reason.
- Had the U.S. bombed Syria last summer, it would've likely strengthened the position of various rebel groups pressing for political control. ISIS has emerged as the strongest of these, despite being dismissed as junior varsity by the president (along with other "Al-Qaeda affiliates," like Boko Haram) back in January. Other rebel groups, including ones Congress authorized the U.S. military to arm (an idea the CIA has tried and dismissed), have tried to avoid conflict with ISIS. Several groups reportedly signed a "non-aggression" pact with ISIS (which other groups downplayed or denied), and even the Free Syrian Army, Washington's favorite rebel outfit, says it refuses to join the anti-ISIS coalition.
- Bombing ISIS in Syria may strengthen the Assad regime, other rebel groups, or a different set of jihadis looking to pick up where ISIS is left off.
- [referring to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar, Iran, and Syria] The threat ISIS poses to all these countries is real, and ought to be met by them. U.S. leadership in the anti-ISIS campaign in Iraq, and now Syria, where a slew of other countries have been involved over the last several years, only stymies the possibility of self-interested coalition-building, the strongest foundation for mutually beneficial international relations.
- Try as U.S. military planners may to not allow the bombing campaign to help the Syrian regime's strategic position too much, any effective campaign against ISIS will do so.
- The argument that U.S. actions in Iraq are covered by the post-9/11 AUMF against al-Qaeda and associated forces ought to rejected. ISIS broke off with al-Qaeda and challenged its authority—claiming itself a caliphate with dominion over all Muslims—very publicly. ISIS began as an al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq before crossing over to join the civil war in Syria and eventually challenge the local al-Qaeda affiliate there. By the time it returned to Iraq it was the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, challenging terrorist groups and governments across the region. ISIS has as much to do with 9/11 as Iraq did in 2003. Even George W. Bush, whose administration tried to link Saddam Hussein's Iraq to 9/11, didn't try to use the 9/11 AUMF for the Iraq War.
- ISIS draws its legitimacy from anti-Americanism. The same fuel that keeps kleptocratic regimes in the region in power is harnessed to keep ISIS' fighters aflame. In the comic book world of ISIS' leaders, a great final battle with the United States is welcomed, even if it means their very degradation. ISIS fighters can be killed, its leadership decimated, but their "martyrdom" will prepare the next generation of fighters.
Quotes by Amir Taheri
- It might come as a surprise to many, but the truth is that Islam today no longer has a living and evolving theology. In fact, with few exceptions, Islam’s last genuine theologians belong to the early part of the 19th century. Go to any mosque anywhere, whether it is in New York or Mecca, and you are more likely to hear a political sermon rather than a theological reflection. In the highly politicized version of Islam promoted by Da’esh... God plays a cameo role at best. Deprived of its theological moorings, today’s Islam is a wayward vessel under the captaincy of ambitious adventurers leading it into sectarian feuds, wars and terrorism.
- Amir Taheri, "The mad dream of a dead empire that unites Islamic rebels", New York Post (June 14, 2014).
- “Pure Mohammadan Islam”: This is what ISIS, Daesh in Arabic, promises to deliver once the caliphate has defeated “Infidel” enemies and secured its position. The promise is at the core of its propaganda, including in cyberspace. Its recent blitzkrieg victories and high-profile beheadings are not the only reason ISIS has attracted universal attention. Perhaps more interesting is Daesh’s ability to seduce large numbers of Muslims across the globe, including in Europe and the United States. It does so with an ideological “product” designed to replace other brands of Islamism marketed by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Khomeinists in Iran. Daeshism, to coin a phrase, also aimed to transcend the ideological hodgepodge marketed by al Qaeda franchises.
- The promised “Pure Mohammadan Islam” is based on three rejections... The first rejection is of traditional Islamic tolerance for Christians and Jews — who, labeled “People of the Book,” could live in a caliphate by paying protection money (jizyeh). The idea is that the “protection” offered by Mohammad belonged to the early phase of Islam when the “Last Prophet” wasn’t strong enough. Once Mohammad had established his rule, the Daeshites note, he ordered the massacre of Jews and the expulsion of Christians from the Arabian Peninsula... The second rejection is aimed against “Infidel ideologies,” especially democracy — government of men by men rather than by Allah... Daesh’s third rejection is aimed against what is labeled “diluted” (iltiqati) forms of Islam — for example, insisting that Islam is a religion of peace. In Daesh’s view, Islam will be a religion of peace only after it has seized control of the entire world. Until then, the world will be divided between the House of Islam (Dar al-Islam) and the House of War (Dar al-Harb). There can never be peace between Islam and whatever that is not Islam. At best, Muslims can make truce (solh) with non-Muslims while continuing to prepare for the next war. Daesh also rejects the “aping of Infidel institutions” such as a presidential system, a parliament and the use of such terms as “republic.” The only form of government in “Pure Mohammadan Islam” is the caliphate; the only law is sharia.
- Ever since its emergence a few months ago, the declared ambition of the startup caliphate of the Islamic State has been to “wipe out every trace of Infidel influence” in areas under its control. Yet, with each passing day, it becomes more clear that, its deadly fantasies notwithstanding, the IS can’t escape from a world created and dominated by the Infidel. Start with the name that the IS, or Daesh in Arabic, has chosen for itself: ad-dawlat al-Islamiyah, or “Islamic Government.” The concepts of “state” and “government” are entirely Western, not adopted by Muslim peoples until the 19th century. The very words “state” and “government” are never mentioned in the Quran. Daesh’s “caliph” has also appointed a number of vizirs. This, too, is un-Islamic. Of Persian origin, the word vizir designated high officials of the pre-Islamic Sasanian Empire overthrown by Arab Muslim warriors in the 7th century. Mohammad had no vizirs, nor did any of his four immediate successors, the so-called “Well Guided caliphs...” The Islamic State’s most noteworthy embrace of the works of the “Infidel,” however, is surely its use of the satanic Internet. Its personnel, including converts from Europe and North America, regularly display across the Web what seems to be the main, if not the only, thing they’ve learned from Islam: cutting the throats of defenseless captives.
- Amir Taheri, "The not-so-Islamic State: ISIS’ huge debt to the infidel", New York Post (November 20, 2014).
- It is not solely by weapons that ISIS imposes its control. More important is the terror it has instilled in millions in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and, increasingly, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Indeed, Jordan’s panic-driven decision to execute two jihadists in response to the burning of its captured pilot is another sign of the terror Daesh has instilled in Arab governments and much of the public. In the short run, terror is a very effective means of psychological control of unarmed and largely defenseless populations. Even in areas far from Daesh’s reach, growing numbers of preachers, writers, politicians and even sheiks and emirs, terrorized by unprecedented savagery, are hedging their bets. Today, Daesh is a menacing presence not only in Baghdad but in Arab capitals from Cairo to Muscat — an evil ghost capable of launching attacks in the Sinai and organizing deadly raids on Jordanian and Saudi borders. ISIS enjoys yet another advantage: It has a clear strategy of making areas beyond its control unsafe. No one thinks Daesh can seize Baghdad, but few Baghdadis feel they’re living anything close to a normal life. Daesh’s message is clear: No one is safe anywhere, including in non-Muslim lands, until the whole world is brought under “proper Islamic rule.”
- They've created ISIS. Hillary Clinton created ISIS with Obama — created with Obama. But I love predicting because you know, ultimately, you need somebody with vision.
- The core of the Syrian tragedy consists of the fact that Assad and ISIS represent the two faces of the same coin. Both want the Syrian people, or what is left of them inside the country, scripted out of the equation. Both have enough of a popular base to hang on for some more time even if they did not receive succor from the outside which they regularly do. At the same time neither is strong enough or is ever likely to have the popular base to impose its agenda on Syria.
- Opinion: The Syrian Orphan and a Club of Cynics, Ashraq Al-Awsat (18 Sep, 2015).