The murderers and terrorists in charge of The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) have sought to increase their legitimacy by declaring their transitory and horrific domination of parts of Iraq and Syria to be a new Islamic caliphate. They have outraged Muslims throughout the world by changing the name of their organisation to “Islamic State”, thereby making the false and dangerous claim that they are the only genuine Muslim state and that their leader is “the caliph” and “leader for Muslims everywhere”, adding a series of extravagant titles designed to reinforce his claim.

The ludicrous nature of this claim is illustrated by the way their leader has been using an evocative false name to expand his claim to lead all Muslims. His real name, when he was born in the Iraqi town of Samarra, was Ebrahim Awwad Al Badri. As he gathered authority in the terrorist groups in which he moved after the American invasion in 2003, he changed his name to Abu Bakr to adopt the name of the first of the Righteous Caliphs of very early Islam and took a second name of Al Baghdadi to illustrate a claim to the seat of the Abbasid caliphate that ruled for centuries. The authority of the so-called “Islamic State” is as fake as its leader’s name. The caliphate has been abolished for over a century and even then it was merely a courtesy title of the Ottoman Sultan and had fallen into disuse as a genuine political position. It is important that genuine Muslims around the world unite to discredit this small and dangerous organisation and make clear that it has no standing in the global Muslim ummah (community) in any way.

Muslim scholars should speak out against this mis-appropriation of such an important historic religious title and dismiss the leaders of the so-called “Islamic State” for the dangerous collection of psychopaths that they are. Muslim states all over the world should declare that these terrorists are no more than murderers and have no claim to any of the long and honourable history of Islam.