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Is the Caliphate back?


A sad political ghost returns after 700 years as a cover for savagery.

A sad political ghost returns after 700 years as a cover for savagery. When the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) proclaimed religious authority over all Muslims worldwide as a caliphate in 2014 – with its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as self-styled Caliph – it invoked a link with the very origin of Islamic history.

The institution took form on Muhammad’s death in 632: the Prophet had created a state based on a common religion within the boundaries of the Arabian peninsula, leaving to a group of Elders in Medina the task of designating a political leader as his “vicar and successor” (Arabic khalifā).

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