Category Archives: QUOTATION

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 17:20-26.


image


Christ in Majesty, 7th century. Church of Santa Maria Antiqua, Rome.

(Christ in Majesty, 7th century. Church of Santa Maria Antiqua, Rome.)

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 17:20-26.

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

Mural:  Christ in Majesty, 7th century. Church of Santa Maria Antiqua, Rome.

The Ascension. Benjamin West. 1801. Denver Art Museum, Colorado, United States.


The Ascension. Benjamin West. 1801. Denver Art Museum, Colorado, United States.

image

The Ascension. Benjamin West. 1801. Denver Art Museum, Colorado, United States.

From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop
(Sermo de Ascensione Domini, Mai 98, 1-2: PLS 2, 494-495)

“No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven”

Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. […] For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies. […]

While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.

He did not leave heaven when he came down to us; nor did he withdraw from us when he went up again into heaven. The fact that he was in heaven even while he was on earth is borne out by his own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. […]

These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for he is our head and we are his body. No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by his union with us, and we by our union with him are the sons of God. So the Apostle says: Just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity, because all the different members make one body, so is it also with Christ. He too has many members, but one body.

The Ascension. Benjamin West. 1801. Denver Art Museum, Colorado, United States.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 17:20-26.


image

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 17:20-26.

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

Ascension,  les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. By the Limbourg brothers, 15th century. Musée Condé, Chantilly, France

Never lose sight of WHO YOU ARE…(art at the Turnbull Water Tower, Whittier, California)


image

Unlike places, people, happenings…

Watch “Leonard Cohen – A Thousand Kisses Deep” on YouTube



The ponies run, the girls are young,
The odds are there to beat.
You win a while, and then it’s done ?
Your little winning streak.
And summoned now to deal
With your invincible defeat,
You live your life as if it?s real,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

I’m turning tricks, I’m getting fixed,
I’m back on Boogie Street.
You lose your grip, and then you slip
Into the Masterpiece.
And maybe I had miles to drive,
And promises to keep:
You ditch it all to stay alive,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

And sometimes when the night is slow,
The wretched and the meek,
We gather up our hearts and go,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

Confined to sex, we pressed against
The limits of the sea:
I saw there were no oceans left
For scavengers like me.
I made it to the forward deck.
I blessed our remnant fleet…
And then consented to be wrecked,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

I’m turning tricks, I’m getting fixed,
I’m back on Boogie Street.
I guess they won’t exchange the gifts
That you were meant to keep.
And quiet is the thought of you,
The file on you complete,
Except what we forgot to do,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

And sometimes when the night is slow,
The wretched and the meek,
We gather up our hearts and go,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

The ponies run, the girls are young,
The odds are there to beat .

Quotation: In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.


image

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

The Source That Is Alive For Thousands of Years: Sarmizegetusa Regia, Grădiștea Muncelului, Hunedoara, Banat, România


image

image

image

image

image

image

Sarmizegetusa Regia (cea regească) a fost capitala și cel mai important centru militar, religios și politic al statului dac înainte de războaiele cu Imperiul Roman. A fost nucleul unui sistem defensiv strategic format din șase fortărețe dacice din Munții Orăștiei, folosit de Decebal pentru apărare contra cuceririi romane. Situl arheologic Sarmizegetusa este situat în satul Grădiștea Muncelului din județul Hunedoara.

Watch “Doru Stanculescu – Hai, hai, haidi, hai (Pe sub flori ma leganai)” on YouTube


Ai, hai lyrics

Artist: Doru Stănculescu
Translations: English, French, German
Romanian
Ai, hai

N-a ști nimeni că m-am dus,
Numa’ m-or vedea că nu-s.

Sus e cerul, largă-i lumea,
Bine c-a-nfrunzit pădurea!

Ai, hai, ai, haidi, haidi, hai,
Pe sub flori mă legănai.

Sus e cerul, largă-i lumea,
N-a ști nimeni că m-am dus.

Bine c-a-nfrunzit pădurea,
Numa’ m-or vedea că nu-s

Ai, hai, ai, haidi, haidi, hai,
Pe sub flori mă legănai.

© 2008-2016 LyricsTranslate.com

QUOTATION: NU EXISTA SCLAV MAI BUN DECAT CEL CARE CREDE CA ESTE LIBER


NU EXISTA SCAL MAI BUN...

NU EXISTA SCLAV MAI BUN…

historic musical bits: Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 – Leonard Bernstein


Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 – Leonard Bernstein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
“Beethoven’s Fifth” redirects here. For the movie, see Beethoven’s 5th (film). For Beethoven’s 5th piano concerto, see Piano Concerto No. 5 (Beethoven).

The coversheet to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. The dedication to Prince J. F. M. Lobkowitz and Count Rasumovsky is visible.

The Symphony No. 5 in C minor of Ludwig van Beethoven, Op. 67, was written between 1804–1808. It is one of the best-known compositions in classical music, and one of the most frequently played symphonies.[1] First performed in Vienna‘s Theater an der Wien in 1808, the work achieved its prodigious reputation soon afterward. E. T. A. Hoffmann described the symphony as “one of the most important works of the time”.

It begins by stating a distinctive four-note “short-short-short-long” motif twice: (About this sound listen )

{\clef treble \key c \minor \time 2/4 {r8 g'8[ g'8 g'8] | ees'2\fermata | r8 f'8[ f'8 f'8] | d'2~ | d'2\fermata | } }

The symphony, and the four-note opening motif in particular, are known worldwide, with the motif appearing frequently in popular culture, from disco to rock and roll, to appearances in film and television.

Since the Second World War it has sometimes been referred to as the “Victory Symphony”.[2] “V” is the Roman character for the number five; the phrase “V for Victory” became well known as a campaign of the Allies of World War II. That Beethoven’s Victory Symphony happened to be his Fifth (or vice versa) is coincidence. Some thirty years after this piece was written, the rhythm of the opening phrase – “dit-dit-dit-dah” – was used for the letter “V” in Morse code, though this is probably also coincidental.[3]

The BBC, during World War Two, prefaced its broadcasts to Europe with those four notes, played on drums.[4][5][6]

History

Development

 
Beethoven in 1804, the year he began work on the Fifth Symphony. Detail of a portrait by W. J. Mähler

The Fifth Symphony had a long development. The first sketches date from 1804 following the completion of the Third Symphony.[7] However, Beethoven repeatedly interrupted his work on the Fifth to prepare other compositions, including the first version of Fidelio, the Appassionata piano sonata, the three Razumovsky string quartets, the Violin Concerto, the Fourth Piano Concerto, the Fourth Symphony, and the Mass in C. The final preparation of the Fifth Symphony, which took place in 1807–1808, was carried out in parallel with the Sixth Symphony, which premiered at the same concert.

Beethoven was in his mid-thirties during this time; his personal life was troubled by increasing deafness.[8] In the world at large, the period was marked by the Napoleonic Wars, political turmoil in Austria, and the occupation of Vienna by Napoleon‘s troops in 1805.

Premiere

The Fifth Symphony was premiered on 22 December 1808 at a mammoth concert at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna consisting entirely of Beethoven premieres, and directed by Beethoven himself.[9] The concert lasted for more than four hours. The two symphonies appeared on the program in reverse order: the Sixth was played first, and the Fifth appeared in the second half.[10] The program was as follows:

  1. The Sixth Symphony
  2. Aria: Ah! perfido, Op. 65
  3. The Gloria movement of the Mass in C major
  4. The Fourth Piano Concerto (played by Beethoven himself)
  5. (Intermission)
  6. The Fifth Symphony
  7. The Sanctus and Benedictus movements of the C major Mass
  8. A solo piano improvisation played by Beethoven
  9. The Choral Fantasy

 
The Theater an der Wien as it appeared in the early 19th century

Beethoven dedicated the Fifth Symphony to two of his patrons, Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz and Count Razumovsky. The dedication appeared in the first printed edition of April 1809.

Reception and influence

There was little critical response to the premiere performance, which took place under adverse conditions. The orchestra did not play well—with only one rehearsal before the concert—and at one point, following a mistake by one of the performers in the Choral Fantasy, Beethoven had to stop the music and start again.[11] The auditorium was extremely cold and the audience was exhausted by the length of the program. However, a year and a half later, publication of the score resulted in a rapturous unsigned review (actually by E. T. A. Hoffmann) in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung. He described the music with dramatic imagery:

Radiant beams shoot through this region’s deep night, and we become aware of gigantic shadows which, rocking back and forth, close in on us and destroy everything within us except the pain of endless longing—a longing in which every pleasure that rose up in jubilant tones sinks and succumbs, and only through this pain, which, while consuming but not destroying love, hope, and joy, tries to burst our breasts with full-voiced harmonies of all the passions, we live on and are captivated beholders of the spirits.[12]

Apart from the extravagant praise, Hoffmann devoted by far the largest part of his review to a detailed analysis of the symphony, in order to show his readers the devices Beethoven used to arouse particular affects in the listener. In an essay titled “Beethoven’s Instrumental Music”, compiled from this 1810 review and another one from 1813 on the op. 70 string trios, published in three instalments in December 1813, E.T.A. Hoffmann further praised the “indescribably profound, magnificent symphony in C minor”:

How this wonderful composition, in a climax that climbs on and on, leads the listener imperiously forward into the spirit world of the infinite!… No doubt the whole rushes like an ingenious rhapsody past many a man, but the soul of each thoughtful listener is assuredly stirred, deeply and intimately, by a feeling that is none other than that unutterable portentous longing, and until the final chord—indeed, even in the moments that follow it—he will be powerless to step out of that wondrous spirit realm where grief and joy embrace him in the form of sound….[13]

The symphony soon acquired its status as a central item in the repertoire. It was played in the inaugural concerts of the New York Philharmonic on 7 December 1842, and the [US] National Symphony Orchestra on 2 November 1931. It was first recorded by the Odeon Orchestra under Friedrich Kark in 1910. The First Movement (as performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra) was featured on the Voyager Golden Record, a phonograph record containing a broad sample of the images, common sounds, languages, and music of Earth, sent into outer space with the two Voyager probes.[14] Groundbreaking in terms of both its technical and its emotional impact, the Fifth has had a large influence on composers and music critics,[15] and inspired work by such composers as Brahms, Tchaikovsky (his 4th Symphony in particular),[16] Bruckner, Mahler, and Berlioz.[17]

Instrumentation

The symphony is scored for piccolo (fourth movement only), two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets in B and C, two bassoons, contrabassoon or double bassoon (fourth movement only), two horns in E and C, two trumpets, three trombones (alto, tenor, and bass, fourth movement only), timpani (in G-C) and strings.

Form

A typical performance usually lasts around 30–40 minutes. The work is in four movements:

First movement: Allegro con brio

First movement
 
Menu
 
0:00
Performed by the Skidmore College Orchestra. Music courtesy of Musopen

 
Menu
 
0:00
Performed by the Fulda Symphony

Problems playing these files? See media help.

The first movement opens with the four-note motif discussed above, one of the most famous in Western music. There is considerable debate among conductors as to the manner of playing the four opening bars. Some conductors take it in strict allegro tempo; others take the liberty of a weighty treatment, playing the motif in a much slower and more stately tempo; yet others take the motif molto ritardando (a pronounced slowing through each four-note phrase), arguing that the fermata over the fourth note justifies this.[18] Some critics and musicians consider it crucial to convey the spirit of [pause]and-two-and one, as written, and consider the more common one-two-three-four to be misleading.[19] To wit:

About the “ta-ta-ta-Taaa”: Beethoven begins with eight notes. They rhyme, four plus four, and each group of four consists of three quick notes plus one that is lower and much longer (in fact unmeasured). The space between the two rhyming groups is minimal, about one-seventh of a second if we go by Beethoven’s metronome mark; moreover, Beethoven clarifies the shape by lengthening the second of the long notes. This lengthening, which was an afterthought, is tantamount to writing a stronger punctuation mark. As the music progresses, we can hear in the melody of the second theme, for example (or later, in the pairs of antiphonal chords of woodwinds and strings), that the constantly invoked connection between the two four-note units is crucial to the movement. … The source of Beethoven’s unparalleled energy here is in his writing long sentences and broad paragraphs whose surfaces are articulated with exciting activity. Indeed, we discover soon enough that the double “ta-ta-ta-Taaa” is an open-ended beginning, not a closed and self-sufficient unit (Misunderstanding of this opening was nurtured by a nineteenth-century performance tradition in which the first five measures were read as a slow, portentous exordium, the main tempo being attacked only after the second hold.) What makes this opening so dramatic is the violence of the contrast between the urgency in the eighth notes and the ominous freezing of motion in the unmeasured long notes. The music starts with a wild outburst of energy but immediately crashes into a wall. Seconds later, Beethoven jolts us with another such sudden halt. The music draws up to a half-cadence on a G-major chord, short and crisp in the whole orchestra, except for the first violins, who hang on to their high C for an unmeasured length of time. Forward motion resumes with a relentless pounding of eighth notes.[20]

The first movement is in the traditional sonata form that Beethoven inherited from his classical predecessors, Haydn and Mozart (in which the main ideas that are introduced in the first few pages undergo elaborate development through many keys, with a dramatic return to the opening section—the recapitulation—about three-quarters of the way through). It starts out with two dramatic fortissimo phrases, the famous motif, commanding the listener’s attention. Following the first four bars, Beethoven uses imitations and sequences to expand the theme, these pithy imitations tumbling over each other with such rhythmic regularity that they appear to form a single, flowing melody. Shortly after, a very short fortissimo bridge, played by the horns, takes place before a second theme is introduced. This second theme is in E major, the relative major, and it is more lyrical, written piano and featuring the four-note motif in the string accompaniment. The codetta is again based on the four-note motif. The development section follows, including the bridge. During the recapitulation, there is a brief solo passage for oboe in quasi-improvisatory style, and the movement ends with a massive coda.

Second movement: Andante con moto

Second movement
 
Menu
 
0:00
Performed by the Skidmore College Orchestra. Music courtesy of Musopen

 
Menu
 
0:00
Performed by the Fulda Symphony

Problems playing these files? See media help.

The second movement, in A major, the submediant major of the overall C minor key of the symphony, is a lyrical work in double variation form, which means that two themes are presented and varied in alternation. Following the variations there is a long coda.

The movement opens with an announcement of its theme, a melody in unison by violas and cellos, with accompaniment by the double basses. A second theme soon follows, with a harmony provided by clarinets, bassoons, and violins, with a triplet arpeggio in the violas and bass. A variation of the first theme reasserts itself. This is followed up by a third theme, thirty-second notes in the violas and cellos with a counterphrase running in the flute, oboe, and bassoon. Following an interlude, the whole orchestra participates in a fortissimo, leading to a series of crescendos and a coda to close the movement.[21]

Third movement: Scherzo. Allegro

Third movement
 
Menu
 
0:00
Performed by the Skidmore College Orchestra. Music courtesy of Musopen

 
Menu
 
0:00
Performed by the Fulda Symphony

Problems playing these files? See media help.

The third movement is in ternary form, consisting of a scherzo and trio. It follows the traditional mold of Classical-era symphonic third movements, containing in sequence the main scherzo, a contrasting trio section, a return of the scherzo, and a coda. However, while the usual Classical symphonies employed a minuet and trio as their third movement, Beethoven chose to use the newer scherzo and trio form.

The movement returns to the opening key of C minor and begins with the following theme, played by the cellos and double basses: (About this sound listen )

\relative c{ \clef bass \key c \minor \time 3/4 \tempo "Allegro" \partial 4 g(\pp | c ees g | c2 ees4 | d2 fis,4) | g2.~ | g2.}

The opening theme is answered by a contrasting theme played by the winds, and this sequence is repeated. Then the horns loudly announce the main theme of the movement, and the music proceeds from there.

The trio section is in C major and is written in a contrapuntal texture. When the scherzo returns for the final time, it is performed by the strings pizzicato and very quietly.

“The scherzo offers contrasts that are somewhat similar to those of the slow movement in that they derive from extreme difference in character between scherzo and trio … The Scherzo then contrasts this figure with the famous ‘motto’ (3 + 1) from the first movement, which gradually takes command of the whole movement.”[22]

The third movement is also notable for its transition to the fourth movement, widely considered one of the greatest musical transitions of all time.[23]

Fourth movement: Allegro

Fourth movement
 
Menu
 
0:00
Performed by the Skidmore College Orchestra. Music courtesy of Musopen

 
Menu
 
0:00
Performed by the Fulda Symphony

Problems playing these files? See media help.

The fourth movement begins without pause from the transition. The music resounds in C major, an unusual choice by the composer as a symphony that begins in C minor is expected to finish in that key.[24] In Beethoven’s words:

Many assert that every minor piece must end in the minor. Nego! …Joy follows sorrow, sunshine—rain.[25]

The triumphant and exhilarating finale is written in an unusual variant of sonata form: at the end of the development section, the music halts on a dominant cadence, played fortissimo, and the music continues after a pause with a quiet reprise of the “horn theme” of the scherzo movement. The recapitulation is then introduced by a crescendo coming out of the last bars of the interpolated scherzo section, just as the same music was introduced at the opening of the movement. The interruption of the finale with material from the third “dance” movement was pioneered by Haydn, who had done the same in his Symphony No. 46 in B, from 1772. It is unknown whether Beethoven was familiar with this work or not.[citation needed]

The Fifth Symphony finale includes a very long coda, in which the main themes of the movement are played in temporally compressed form. Towards the end the tempo is increased to presto. The symphony ends with 29 bars of C major chords, played fortissimo. In The Classical Style, Charles Rosen suggests that this ending reflects Beethoven’s sense of Classical proportions: the “unbelievably long” pure C major cadence is needed “to ground the extreme tension of [this] immense work.”[26]

It was shown recently that this long chord sequence was a pattern that Beethoven borrowed from the Italian composer Luigi Cherubini, whom Beethoven “esteemed the most” among his contemporary musicians. Spending much of his life in France, Cherubini employed this pattern consistently to close his overtures, which Beethoven knew well. The ending of his famous symphony repeats almost note by note and pause by pause the conclusion of Cherubini’s overture to his opera Eliza, composed in 1794 and presented in Vienna in 1803.[27]

Influences

The 19th century musicologist Gustav Nottebohm first pointed out that the third movement’s theme has the same sequence of intervals as the opening theme of the final movement of Mozart‘s famous Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550. Here is Mozart’s theme: (About this sound listen )

\relative c' { \key g \minor \time 2/2 \tempo "Allegro assai" \partial 4 d4\p( g) bes-. d-. g-. bes2( a4) cis,8\f }

While such resemblances sometimes occur by accident, this is unlikely to be so in the present case. Nottebohm discovered the resemblance when he examined a sketchbook used by Beethoven in composing the Fifth Symphony: here, 29 measures of Mozart’s finale appear, copied out by Beethoven.[28][need quotation to verify]

Lore

Much has been written about the Fifth Symphony in books, scholarly articles, and program notes for live and recorded performances. This section summarizes some themes that commonly appear in this material.

Fate motif

The initial motif of the symphony has sometimes been credited with symbolic significance as a representation of Fate knocking at the door. This idea comes from Beethoven’s secretary and factotum Anton Schindler, who wrote, many years after Beethoven’s death:

The composer himself provided the key to these depths when one day, in this author’s presence, he pointed to the beginning of the first movement and expressed in these words the fundamental idea of his work: “Thus Fate knocks at the door!”[29]

Schindler’s testimony concerning any point of Beethoven’s life is disparaged by experts (he is believed to have forged entries in Beethoven’s conversation books).[30] Moreover, it is often commented that Schindler offered a highly romanticized view of the composer.

There is another tale concerning the same motif; the version given here is from Antony Hopkins‘ description of the symphony.[7] Carl Czerny (Beethoven’s pupil, who premiered the “Emperor” Concerto in Vienna) claimed that “the little pattern of notes had come to [Beethoven] from a yellow-hammer‘s song, heard as he walked in the Prater-park in Vienna.” Hopkins further remarks that “given the choice between a yellow-hammer and Fate-at-the-door, the public has preferred the more dramatic myth, though Czerny’s account is too unlikely to have been invented.”

In his Omnibus television lecture series in 1954, Leonard Bernstein has likened the Fate Motif to the four note coda common to classical symphonies. These notes would terminate the classical symphony as a musical coda, but for Beethoven they become a motif repeating throughout the work for a very different and dramatic effect, he says.[31]

Evaluations of these interpretations tend to be skeptical. “The popular legend that Beethoven intended this grand exordium of the symphony to suggest ‘Fate Knocking at the gate’ is apocryphal; Beethoven’s pupil, Ferdinand Ries, was really author of this would-be poetic exegesis, which Beethoven received very sarcastically when Ries imparted it to him.”[18] Elizabeth Schwarm Glesner remarks that “Beethoven had been known to say nearly anything to relieve himself of questioning pests”; this might be taken to impugn both tales.[32]

Beethoven’s choice of key

The key of the Fifth Symphony, C minor, is commonly regarded as a special key for Beethoven, specifically a “stormy, heroic tonality”.[33] Beethoven wrote a number of works in C minor whose character is broadly similar to that of the Fifth Symphony. Writer Charles Rosen says,

Beethoven in C minor has come to symbolize his artistic character. In every case, it reveals Beethoven as Hero. C minor does not show Beethoven at his most subtle, but it does give him to us in his most extroverted form, where he seems to be most impatient of any compromise.[34]

Repetition of the opening motif throughout the symphony

It is commonly asserted that the opening four-note rhythmic motif (short-short-short-long; see above) is repeated throughout the symphony, unifying it. “It is a rhythmic pattern (dit-dit-dit-dot*) that makes its appearance in each of the other three movements and thus contributes to the overall unity of the symphony” (Doug Briscoe[35]); “a single motif that unifies the entire work” (Peter Gutmann[36]); “the key motif of the entire symphony”;[37] “the rhythm of the famous opening figure … recurs at crucial points in later movements” (Richard Bratby[38]). The New Grove encyclopedia cautiously endorses this view, reporting that “[t]he famous opening motif is to be heard in almost every bar of the first movement—and, allowing for modifications, in the other movements.”[39]

There are several passages in the symphony that have led to this view. For instance, in the third movement the horns play the following solo in which the short-short-short-long pattern occurs repeatedly:

\relative c'' {
\key c \minor
\time 3/4
\set Score.currentBarNumber = #19
\bar ""
\[ g4\ff^"a 2" g g | g2. | \]
g4 g g | g2. |
g4 g g | <es g>2. |
<g bes>4( <f as>) <es g>^^ | <bes f'>2. |
}

In the second movement (at measure 76), an accompanying line plays a similar rhythm (About this sound listen ):

>
” width=”536″ height=”144″ />

In the finale, Doug Briscoe (cited above) suggests that the motif may be heard in the piccolo part, presumably meaning the following passage (About this sound listen ):

>” width=”777″ height=”167″ />

Later, in the coda of the finale, the bass instruments repeatedly play the following (About this sound listen ):

>” width=”776″ height=”185″ />

On the other hand, some commentators are unimpressed with these resemblances and consider them to be accidental. Antony Hopkins,[7] discussing the theme in the scherzo, says “no musician with an ounce of feeling could confuse [the two rhythms]”, explaining that the scherzo rhythm begins on a strong musical beat whereas the first-movement theme begins on a weak one. Donald Francis Tovey[40] pours scorn on the idea that a rhythmic motif unifies the symphony: “This profound discovery was supposed to reveal an unsuspected unity in the work, but it does not seem to have been carried far enough.” Applied consistently, he continues, the same approach would lead to the conclusion that many other works by Beethoven are also “unified” with this symphony, as the motif appears in the “Appassionata” piano sonata, the Fourth Piano Concerto (About this sound listen ), and in the String Quartet, Op. 74. Tovey concludes, “the simple truth is that Beethoven could not do without just such purely rhythmic figures at this stage of his art.”

To Tovey’s objection can be added the prominence of the short-short-short-long rhythmic figure in earlier works by Beethoven’s older Classical contemporaries Haydn and Mozart. To give just two examples, it is found in Haydn’s “Miracle” Symphony, No. 96) (About this sound listen ) and in Mozart‘s Piano Concerto No. 25, K. 503 (About this sound listen ). Such examples show that “short-short-short-long” rhythms were a regular part of the musical language of the composers of Beethoven’s day.

It seems likely that whether or not Beethoven deliberately, or unconsciously, wove a single rhythmic motif through the Fifth Symphony will (in Hopkins’s words) “remain eternally open to debate.”[7]

Use of La Folia

 
Menu
 
0:00
 
Beethoven Symphony No. 5 Movement 2, La Folia Variation (measures 166–176)

Folia is a dance form with a distinctive rhythm and harmony, which was used by many composers from the Renaissance well into the 19th and even 20th century, often in the context of a theme and variations.[41] It was used by Beethoven in his Fifth Symphony in the harmony midway through the slow movement (bar 166–177).[42] Although some recent sources mention that the fragment of the Folia theme in Beethoven’s symphony was detected only in the 90s of the last century, Reed J. Hoyt analyzed some Folia-aspects in the oeuvre of Beethoven already in 1982 in his “Letter to the Editor”, in the journal College Music Symposium 21, where he draws attention to the existence of complex archetypal patterns and their relationship.[43]

Trombones and piccolos

While it is commonly stated that the last movement of Beethoven’s Fifth is the first time the trombone and the piccolo were used in a concert symphony, it is not true. The Swedish composer Joachim Nicolas Eggert specified trombones for his Symphony in E major written in 1807,[44] and examples of earlier symphonies with a part for piccolo abound, including Michael Haydn‘s Symphony No. 19 in C major, composed in August 1773.

Textual questions

Third movement repeat

In the autograph score (that is, the original version from Beethoven’s hand), the third movement contains a repeat mark: when the scherzo and trio sections have both been played through, the performers are directed to return to the very beginning and play these two sections again. Then comes a third rendering of the scherzo, this time notated differently for pizzicato strings and transitioning directly to the finale (see description above). Most modern printed editions of the score do not render this repeat mark; and indeed most performances of the symphony render the movement as ABA’ (where A = scherzo, B = trio, and A’ = modified scherzo), in contrast to the ABABA’ of the autograph score.

The repeat mark in the autograph is unlikely to be simply an error on the composer’s part. The ABABA’ scheme for scherzi appears elsewhere in Beethoven, in the Bagatelle for solo piano, Op. 33, No. 7 (1802), and in the Fourth, Sixth, and Seventh Symphonies. However, it is possible that for the Fifth Symphony, Beethoven originally preferred ABABA’, but changed his mind in the course of publication in favor of ABA’.

Since Beethoven’s day, published editions of the symphony have always printed ABA’. However, in 1978 an edition specifying ABABA’ was prepared by Peter Gülke and published by Peters. In 1999, yet another edition by Jonathan Del Mar was published by Bärenreiter[45][46] which advocates a return to ABA’. In the accompanying book of commentary,[47] Del Mar defends in depth the view that ABA’ represents Beethoven’s final intention; in other words, that conventional wisdom was right all along.

In concert performances, ABA’ prevailed until fairly recent times. However, since the appearance of the Gülke edition conductors have felt more free to exercise their own choice. The conductor Caroline Brown, in notes to her recorded ABABA’ performance with the Hanover Band (Nimbus Records, #5007), writes:

Re-establishing the repeat certainly alters the structural emphasis normally apparent in this Symphony. It makes the scherzo less of a transitional make-weight, and, by allowing the listener more time to become involved with the main thematic motif of the scherzo, the side-ways step into the bridge passage leading to the finale seems all the more unexpected and extraordinary in its intensity.

Performances with ABABA’ seem to be particularly favored by conductors who specialize in authentic performance (that is, using instruments of the kind employed in Beethoven’s day). These include Brown, as well as Christopher Hogwood, John Eliot Gardiner, and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. ABABA’ performances on modern instruments have also been recorded by the New Philharmonia Orchestra under Pierre Boulez, the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich under David Zinman, and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Claudio Abbado.

In the first movement, the passage that introduces the second subject of the exposition is assigned by Beethoven as a solo to the pair of horns.

\relative c'' {
\key c \minor
\time 2/4
r8 bes[\ff^"a 2" bes bes] | es,2\sf | f\sf | bes,\sf |
}

At this location, the theme is played in the key of E major. When the same theme is repeated later on in the recapitulation section, it is given in the key of C major. Antony Hopkins wrote,[7] “this … presented a problem to Beethoven, for the horns [of his day], severely limited in the notes they could actually play before the invention of valves, were unable to play the phrase in the ‘new’ key of C major—at least not without stopping the bell with the hand and thus muffling the tone. Beethoven therefore had to give the theme to a pair of bassoons, who, high in their compass, were bound to seem a less than adequate substitute. In modern performances the heroic implications of the original thought are regarded as more worthy of preservation than the secondary matter of scoring; the phrase is invariably played by horns, to whose mechanical abilities it can now safely be trusted.”

In fact, even before Hopkins wrote this passage (1981), some conductors had experimented with preserving Beethoven’s original scoring for bassoons. This can be heard on many performances including those conducted by Caroline Brown mentioned in the preceding section as well as in a recent recording by Simon Rattle with the Vienna Philharmonic. Although horns capable of playing the passage in C major were developed not long after the premiere of the Fifth Symphony (according to this source, 1814), it is not known whether Beethoven would have wanted to substitute modern horns, or keep the bassoons, in the crucial passage.

There are strong arguments in favor of keeping the original scoring even when modern valve horns are available. The structure of the movement posits a programatic alteration of light and darkness, represented by major and minor. Within this framework, the topically heroic transitional theme dispels the darkness of the minor first theme group and ushers in the major second theme group. However, in the development section, Beethoven systematically fragments and dismembers this heroic theme in bars 180–210. Thus he may have rescored its return in the recapitulation for a weaker sound to foreshadow the essential expositional closure in minor. Moreover, the horns used in the fourth movement are natural horns in C, which can easily play this passage. If Beethoven had wanted the second theme in the horns, he could have had the horns resting for the previous bars to give them time to switch instruments, and then written “muta in c,” similar to his “muta in f” instruction in measure 412 of the first movement of Symphony No. 3.

quotation : Washington Irving


There is a healthful hardiness about real dignity that never dreads contact and communion with others, however humble.

Washington Irving (1783-1859) Discuss

Quotation: Wine is a turncoat; first a friend and then an enemy. Henry Fielding (1707-1754)


Wine is a turncoat; first a friend and then an enemy.

Henry Fielding (1707-1754) Discuss

quotation: from Wikiquote – Henri Matisse


Wikiquote is a free online compendium of sourced quotations from notable people and creative works in every language, translations of non-English quotes, and links to Wikipedia for further information. Visit the help page or experiment in the sandbox to learn how you can edit nearly any page right now; or go to the Log in to start contributing to Wikiquote.
Quote of the day
Henri Matisse, 1913, photograph by Alvin Langdon Coburn.jpgYou study, you learn, but you guard the original naiveté. It has to be within you, as desire for drink is within the drunkard or love is within the lover.

quotation: Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man…No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. John F. Kennedy


Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man…No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) Discuss

this pressed: What does “Schlong” means anyway?


//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

quotation: The wise through excess of wisdom is made a fool. Ralph Waldo Emerson


The wise through excess of wisdom is made a fool.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) Discuss

quotgation: Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen. Jerome K. Jerome


Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen.

Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927) Discuss

quotation: “We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there;…”, Mark Twain


We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit on a hot stove lid again and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) Discuss

this pressed for our spirit!: Orthodox Rabbis Issue Groundbreaking Declaration Affirming ‘Partnership’ With Christianity


MOREA group of prominent Orthodox rabbis in Israel, the United States and Europe have issued a historic public statement affirming that Christianity is “the willed divine outcome and gift to the nations” and urging Jews and Christians to “work together as partners to address the moral challenges of our era.”“Jesus brought a double goodness to the world,” the statement reads. “On the one hand he strengthened the Torah of Moses majestically” and on the other hand “he removed idols from the nations,” instilling them “firmly with moral traits.
”This year 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the declaration issued in 1965 by the Second Vatican Council, which marked a watershed in Jewish-Christian relations.In language unusual for its day, Nostra Aetate stated that “God holds the Jews most dear,” stressed the great “spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews,” and condemned “hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.”Now, a group of Jewish leaders has responded in kind, expressing their desire to accept “the hand offered to us by our Christian brothers and sisters.”

“Christians are congregations that work for the sake of heaven who are destined to endure, whose intent is for the sake of heaven and whose reward will not denied,” the text reads. The statement bears the title, “To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven: Toward a Partnership between Jews and Christians,” and is signed by over 25 prominent Orthodox rabbis, who invite fellow Orthodox rabbis to join in signing the statement. “Now that the Catholic Church has acknowledged the eternal Covenant between G-d and Israel, we Jews can acknowledge the ongoing constructive validity of Christianity as our partner in world redemption, without any fear that this will be exploited for missionary purposes,” it says.

Echoing recent words by Pope Francis, the document states:

“We are no longer enemies, but unequivocal partners in articulating the essential moral values for the survival and welfare of humanity.”“Neither of us can achieve G-d’s mission in this world alone,” it says.

According to Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, one of the statement’s initiators, the “real importance of this Orthodox statement is that it calls for fraternal partnership between Jewish and Christian religious leaders, while also acknowledging the positive theological status of the Christian faith.”“This proclamation’s breakthrough is that influential Orthodox rabbis across all centers of Jewish life have finally acknowledged that Christianity and Judaism are no longer engaged in a theological duel to the death and that Christianity and Judaism have much in common spiritually and practically. Given our toxic history, this is unprecedented in Orthodoxy.” said Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn, Academic Director of CJCUC.Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsromeRead More Stories About:National Security, Faith, Breitbart Jerusalem, Vatican, Pope Francis, Christianity, Catholic Church, Judaism, Nostra Aetate, Jewish-Christian relations, orthodox rabbis

Source: Orthodox Rabbis Issue Groundbreaking Declaration Affirming ‘Partnership’ With Christianity

Donald Trump responds to his critics ( “right now our country is s mess”)


Donald Trump responds to his critics

This Pressed for Reality Check: Turkish MP reveals that ISIS used Turkey to access sarin gas for chemical attack— David Icke (@davidicke) December 16, 2015


//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

this pressed: Republican debate: Tweeters mock Trump’s internet call – BBC News |(No WIFI PASSWORD FOR ISIS, Donald Trump)


As the candidates in Tuesday’s Republican debate grappled over how to tackle the growing threat of the Islamic State group (also known as Isis), Donald Trump calmly reassured them “the answer is simple”.Rather than focus on a bombing campaign in Syria, or sending in ground troops, the billionaire offered a more novel, technological strategy: to “close off areas of the internet”.”Isis is using the internet better than we are using the internet, and it was our idea,” the 69-year-old entrepreneur told the audience in Las Vegas.”We should be able to penetrate the internet and find out exactly where Isis is and everything about Isis. “We can do that if we use our good people.”And indeed, the good people of the internet were quick to offer their help:

Source: Republican debate: Tweeters mock Trump’s internet call – BBC News

quotation: For in the final analysis, our most basic common link, is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children’s futures, and we are all mortal.


For in the final analysis, our most basic common link, is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children’s futures, and we are all mortal.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) Discuss

quotation: “I have come to have the firm conviction that vanity is the basis of everything,…” Gustave Flaubert


I have come to have the firm conviction that vanity is the basis of everything, and finally that what one calls conscience is only inner vanity.

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) Discuss

quotation: W. Somerset Maugham


Conscience is the guardian in the individual of the rules which the community has evolved for its own preservation. It is the policeman in all our hearts, set there to watch that we do not break its laws. It is the spy seated in the central stronghold of the ego.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Discuss

quotation: In art economy is always beauty. Henry James


In art economy is always beauty.

Henry James (1843-1916) Discuss

Like a bridge over troubled waters (Simon and Garfunkel YouTube)


image

Like a bridge over troubled waters

Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over troubled water (with lyrics)

quotation: It was such a lovely day I thought it a pity to get up. W. Somerset Maugham


It was such a lovely day I thought it a pity to get up.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Discuss

quotation: A superhuman will is needed in order to write, and I am only a man. Gustave Flaubert


A superhuman will is needed in order to write, and I am only a man.

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) Discuss

STAND BY ME – John Lennon – Lyrics


STAND BY ME – John Lennon – Lyrics

Imagine – John Lennon (Original video with lyrics in English included)


Imagine – John Lennon (Original video with lyrics in English included)

4 Non Blondes – What’s Up


4 Non Blondes – What’s Up

this pressed for our future: The Shootings in San Bernardino: Another View | Catholic World Report – Global Church news and views


Police officers conduct a manhunt after the mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., Dec. 2. (CNS photo/Mike Blake, Reuters)

After almost every shooting involving a Muslim perpetrator, from 9/11 to Fort Hood to San Bernardino, we hear, from the President on down, some version of the following on-going narrative: “We are horrified by this inexplicable, horrendous act. Our hearts go out to the victims. This atrocity again proves the need for more gun laws.” We then have a statement from some Muslim group; its spokesmen, often women, are also horrified. They had nothing to do with it; they knew nothing about it. They are concerned with retaliation. Next we have a solemn admonition from some government official assuring us that the Muslim community is peaceful, that we depend on loyal Muslims. This shooting, it is explained, was the product of a loner or two, usually a citizen of the place where the killings occurred. This insane action requires the attention of psychological health experts; ideology is mostly or entirely ignored.

Then ISIS or Al Qaeda announces that it is responsible for the killings, whether that is actually true or not. We almost always are led to conclude that this event is just another irrational act. As with earthquakes, no real explanation exists. Such things just happen; some human beings are nutty. Since similar acts now happen every other week, if not sooner; we have to be ready for them. We need to call in the FBI, federal agencies, more militarized police, community organizers, religious leaders, and psychiatrists. But the bottom line is that, though all religions are prone to violence, we are told these particular happenings have nothing to do with religion, especially not Islam. They are caused by “terrorism” and “violence”, as if these acts are somehow themselves independent ideological positions with no relation to the organizations that use them to foster their ends.

Is there another conceivable way to look at these events that comes closer to a more plausible explanation? The first step is that these atrocities all have a single ultimate origin. I do not mean some central command post in Syria ordering operatives today to go to Paris, tomorrow to San Bernardino, the next day you name it, though there may be that too.

The ultimate origin is found in the history of Muslim conquests from its beginning in the 7th and 8th centuries and confirmed by many passages in the Qur’an. Muslim scholars know that this jihadist approach is found within the religion. It is not an outside import; it is not an aberration. It may not be the only position found in this rambling book, but it is one that is there. This same force of spirit to convert all to Islam has abided for twelve hundred years. Yet, instead of grudgingly acknowledging it and dealing with it, we deny it exists.

Islam has no central authority. Passages in the Qur’an and its commentaries advocating holy war may be interpreted literally, symbolically, or poetically, but they are there. The reason why this jihadist inspiration always comes back to incite some Muslim believers is because it is found in the sources as the only true interpretation of Islam. ISIS members insist that their religious motives be taken seriously. This earnestness is what motivates them. We insult them, while at the same time playing into their hands, by refusing to understand what they say and, indeed, give witness to with their lives. It is those Muslims who have died killing in western cities–not those who are murdered–who are considered to be, yes, martyrs.

The so-called “Muslim terrorists”, then, do not think of themselves as “Muslim terrorists”. They consider themselves to be the only real followers of Mohammed.

They see themselves as doing exactly what he and his first followers did in the saga of a rapid conquest of much of the African, Arab, and Middle Eastern worlds.

The conquest of Europe would complete the stymied efforts at Tours and Vienna, victories that allowed Europe to remain Europe and not become Muslim much sooner. Moreover, jihadists have a perfectly intelligible explanation for what they are doing and how they are doing it. It is a sophisticated intellectual theory deftly designed to explain exactly why these “terrorist” acts are both legitimate and indeed praiseworthy in the eyes of Allah. The voluntarist metaphysics behind such reasoning is by no meant unfamiliar to western thinkers. And it is this intellectual battle that we are unwilling to or unable to fight.

Briefly, the assigned mission of Islam is to conquer the world for Allah. Submission to Allah is the highest human good. Any means to carry it out is good if it is successful. Carrying out this mission, in this view, is a Muslim’s vocation. With the re-establishment of the caliphate, this mission can now recommence. No other religion or its symbols, including ones more ancient than Islam, are allowed within its conquered territories. The fact that many individual Muslims may not agree with this interpretation is irrelevant. There are millions that do agree. But numbers are not the key factor.

Fear rules both the Muslim and western cultures that oppose the jihadists or are its victims. This fear is kept alive by methods of warfare, shrewdly applied, that utilize modern technology but rely on old and reliable techniques. Muslims fighters learned some time ago that modern weapons are not particularly effective against them. Slitting the throats of ten Christians on international TV is more effective than weapons of mass destruction, which they would also like to possess. We see that trucks and cars are often feared means of their warfare.

Thus, tanks and bombs are not particularly effective against individual and seemingly random attacks on enemy homelands. With local passports and cell phones, small arms, home-made bombs, and knives, any large western city can be brought to its knees for several days. It is something of a joke now to think that such things as the Transportation Safety mechanisms we have in airports make much difference.

The downing of a Russian passenger plane may still happen, but attacking schools, buses, trains, churches, or just random individuals anywhere in the world will instantly be on international news with the usual disclaimers. Bringing down passenger planes may be an obsolete means in terms of effectiveness.

As long as we choose (and it is a choice) not to identify the problem the more it is successful and the more it will grow. That growth may indeed be the reason it is not identified. The deeper problem lies in the truth of Islam’s mission to conquer the world for Allah. If it is true, that is, if the Qur’an is a revelation of God, then it will eventually win. Even if it is not true or from God, as I do not think that it is, even in Christian apocalyptic terms, it may well win. If our view of the world is cast in terms of relativism, of diversity theory, of pacifism, we really have no clue about that is happening. One cannot but admire the logic and abiding persistence within Islam to continue its centuries-long, Allah-given mission to conquer the world.

One can speculate about why we cannot locate the problem, and therefore not face its real attraction for its millions of followers within Islam. In no actual Muslim country is there any real freedom of religion. Whenever and wherever possible, all or part of Muslim law is established as civil law. Many Muslim countries are “peaceful” only in the sense that their governments, usually military dictatorships, keep down that radicalism that would overthrow them and is overthrowing them in many places. Muslim masses wait to see who is winning. They know even within Islam that they cannot afford to be on the losing side.

The present strategy of ISIS and its followers seems clear enough. The following steps or remarks seem most plausible:

1) Gain control of governments and armies within present Islamic states.

2) Eliminate all Christian, Jewish, and related elements, including their buildings and records, from within existing Muslim states.

3) Place as many Muslims, especially young males, in European countries and other countries as possible.

4) Continue to produce large numbers of children so that demographic and democratic processes will provide increasing majorities on towns, cities, and nations.

5) Make every city and area on earth, from Mumbai to San Bernardino, the object of incidents of terror both on a systematic and random basis, preferably both.

6) Already more than enough followers are found in most western countries that are willing to sacrifice their lives to carry this project out in the coming years.

7) Create an atmosphere that makes it difficult to stem the Muslim conquest.

8) Undermine and convert to your use all police, and military operations left remaining to oppose a final conquest.

Granted the speed of the success, the confusion, and deliberate blindness of its opposition, ISIS and its sympathizers have a reasonable hope of final success at least in Europe and possibly America. Russia, China, and India may take longer. They will ultimately have to be dealt with. All three of these countries already have met Muslim invasions or turmoil. Their own nationalist or religious unity may prove more difficult to counter. They are, when provoked, less likely to stand by confused and relatively helpless.

And one last caveat, from Howard Kainz’ essay “Christians As ‘Soft Targets’”: “The combination of the surrender to modernism in the ‘developed world’ and Christians’ helpless exposure to violence and subjugation in Muslim-dominated regions leads to a possible alternative vision of Armageddon and victory: a final martyrdom of the Church.” The Church has no armies. Who will defend her?

 
About the Author
author image

James V. Schall, S.J.

James V. Schall, S.J. taught political philosophy at Georgetown University for many years until recently retiring. He is the author of numerous books and countless essays on philosophy, theology, education, morality, and other topics. His most recent book is Reasonable Pleasures: The Strange Coherences of Catholicism (Ignatius Press). Visit his site, “Another Sort of Learning”, for more about his writings and work.

Source: The Shootings in San Bernardino: Another View | Catholic World Report – Global Church news and views

quotation: It wasn’t until late in life that I discovered how easy it is to say “I don’t know.” W. Somerset Maugham


It wasn’t until late in life that I discovered how easy it is to say “I don’t know.”

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Discuss

quotation: The almighty dollar, that great object of universal devotion throughout our land, seems to have no genuine devotees in these peculiar villages. Washington Irving


The almighty dollar, that great object of universal devotion throughout our land, seems to have no genuine devotees in these peculiar villages.

Washington Irving (1783-1859) Discuss

quotation: “…And Love to all men ‘neath the sun!” Rudyard Kipling.


Teach us Delight in simple things,

And Mirth that has no bitter springs;

Forgiveness free of evil done,

And Love to all men ‘neath the sun!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) Discuss

quotation: Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart. Washington Irving (1783-1859)


Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.

Washington Irving (1783-1859) Discuss

great compositions/performances: Borodin – In the Steppes of Central Asia (1880), played on period instruments (conductor Jos van Immerseel and the Anima Eterna Orchestra)


Borodin – In the Steppes of Central Asia (1880), played on period instruments

great compositions/performances: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, in C minor, Op. 37, Daniel Barenboim / Dresden Staatskapelle 2007


Beethoven : Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 Daniel Barenboim / Dresden Staatskapelle 2007

The Jubilee Year of Mercy reminds us that God is waiting for us with open arms, just like the father of the prodigal son. — Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 29, 2015


//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

quotation: I think the first duty of society is justice. Alexander Hamilton


I think the first duty of society is justice.

Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) Discuss

quotation: W. Somerset Maugham


I made up my mind long ago that life was too short to do anything for myself that I could pay others to do for me.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Discuss

quotation: A promise must never be broken. Alexander Hamilton


A promise must never be broken.

Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) Discuss

This pressed for clarification: Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving|Via CounterPoint


Telling Facts and Naming Names
Since 1993

Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving once again: that day, every year, when we are all gluttonous to celebrate the fact that ‘Pilgrims and Indians’ had a harmonious meal — at least that is how it has been framed historically.
Let’s be honest. On the last Thursday of November, every year, we celebrate the beginning of an European invasion that ends with the death or relocation of millions of native people. While many have tried to redefine the meaning of Thanksgiving into a time wherein we cultivate a sense of gratitude, the undeniable truth is that the blood of native people stains the genesis of the holiday. The colonial origins of Thanksgiving – or what many natives often refer to as Thankskilling or Thankstaking – is not something to celebrate. While we cannot pinpoint one specific or original “Thanksgiving” celebration, President Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday in 1863 and conceived it as a national day of thanksgiving. “Pilgrims and Indians” weren’t included in the tradition until 1890. The national mythos surrounding this holiday does not take into consideration the long and violent history of contact between European settlers (in this case English pilgrims – puritans) and indigenous populations that already inhabited the land. It is in these forgotten histories that we see the history of this holiday for what it truly is: English pilgrims, unprepared to survive on the land and unfamiliar with the vegetation, waterways, and others food sources, stranded on Turtle Island who survive those early winters and ultimately engage in a brutal campaign of colonialism and genocidal activity. It is important that we think clearly and honestly about how the beatified pilgrims saw the natives. Five time Plymouth County Governor William Bradford said the natives were “savage people, who are cruel, barbarous, and most treacherous.” Clearly not the people you would like to feast with, yet our national narrative surrounding this holiday celebrates the first Thanksgiving as a moment of harmonious bridge building. This is clearly not the case. Especially when we learn about the Pequot Massacre of 1637. This is just one in a multitude of genocidal tactics employed against the indigenous peoples of this land since white Europeans arrived in 1492. Of this event, Governor Bradford said, Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire…horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them. The occupiers celebrated the genocide — and thanked God for the victory. Immediately following the Pequot Massacre of 1637, the occupiers worked diligently to whitewash history. The name of the tribe was erased from the map. The Pequot River became the Thames, and the geographic space the Pequot inhabited became known as New London. It is as if they never existed. The whitewashing and erasure of indigenous histories is not unique to this holiday, but it is, perhaps, one of the most ironic instances of indigenous mass murder in service of white European colonial expansion. The idea that we celebrate the notion that indigenous peoples and the white European occupiers who literally sought their extinction were able to put their differences to the side long enough to sit down and feast upon food, in relative peace and harmony, is deeply problematic. Even more so is the idea that it was the white European occupiers who had to teach and demonstrate “civility” to these “barbarous savages.” With the Pequot massacre in mind, it is clear which group in the Thanksgiving picture were the real “barbarous savages” and who were the ones practicing civility.

The language and the rhetoric surrounding the holiday erase the true history of settler-colonialism. The Pequot Massacre is just one mere instance in the long history of evil acts that began with the white European occupation of Turtle Island. This is also not the first time we have seen the descendants of the occupiers attempt to create a new civic identity by whitewashing history and silencing indigenous voices while erasing indigenous bodies. We see this unfolding in Oklahoma (Okla-humma, Choctaw for “Red People”), where non-native occupiers see no shame in calling themselves “Sooners” (those who stole land prior to the Oklahoma Land Runs — a territory that was, by treaty, set aside specifically and solely for tribal communities “so long as the rivers run and the sun shines…”).

However, indigenous peoples and our co-conspirators cannot stand idly by as those who continue to employ colonial and, ultimately, genocidal tactics against our communities, rewrite, and revise history to justify both their actions and the actions of their ancestors. We must thoughtfully and intentionally intervene because while “Boomer Sooner,” “R*dsk*ns,” and “Thanksgiving” may seem inconsequential to some, the historical context that gave rise to these terms and celebrations contribute to real life consequences that still impact native people in this country.

Native women are the group most likely to be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, with low estimates suggesting 1-in-3 in her lifetime. Upwards of 80% or more of these cases are perpetrated by non-native males. There are 2,000 reports of missing and murdered Indigenous Women from Turtle Island, and suicide in native communities far surpasses the national average for every age group. Natives have the shortest lifespan of any group living in the United States, and this rate is even lower for those living on reservations. Historical or intergenerational trauma is literally embedded in native DNA, and many of our parents and grandparents were stolen from their families and forced into boarding schools that had the expressed mission to “civilize the savage” and “kill the Indian but save the man.”

Physical torture, sexual assault, murder, public shaming, and stealing the culture of native children accomplished this. Psychological studies have demonstrated that native mascots negatively affect the psyche and wellbeing of native youth and many of these children have a difficult time making it through K-12, never mind college. Further, native people are virtually helpless when a non-native perpetrates a crime on native land. The victims have no jurisdiction over non-natives and the only way they could ever achieve justice is if the already overloaded federal government decides the case is worth pursuing. The silencing of native voices not only happened historically, but also continues today.

Whitewashing history, revising history, and developing rhetoric that celebrates the creation of a new civic identity for European occupiers—these all contribute to the oppression of indigenous peoples and tribal communities. The stories like those told about the Indians and Pilgrims at Thanksgiving ingrain a false sense of truth into the mind of the general public. These stories tell the populace that “everything is okay,” and, in fact, the “Indians owe a lot to the Pilgrims.” A closer examination and orientation with actual history, however, will negate these ideas and will enable the public to see how and, more importantly, why these stories – Columbus, Thanksgiving, Boomer Sooner – are told the way they are. These stories are extensions of colonialism and are in fact genocidal tactics. By erasing and replacing the true stories with those of “Thanksgiving,” the occupier continues to remain complicit in genocide.

So enjoy that turkey…but remember that you are doing so in a land that was stolen. Honor the dead by remembering their stories and their sacrifice.

Ashley Nicole McCray is a member of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe (Li-Si-Wi-Nwi) and the Oglala Lakota Nation (Oceti Sakowin). She is a Ph.D student/Graduate Assistant in the History of Science, Technology, & Medicine at the University of Oklahoma. She is a 2015 White House WHO Champion of Change: Young Women Empowering their Communities, a 2015 Norman Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights Award Recipient, and a CoreAlign Speaking Race to Power Fellow. Lawrence Ware is an Oklahoma State University Division of Institutional Diversity Fellow. He teaches in OSU’s philosophy department and is the Diversity Coordinator for its Ethics Center. A frequent contributor to the publication The Democratic Left and contributing editor of the progressive publication RS: The Religious Left, he has also been a commentator on race and politics for the Huffington Post Live, NPR’s Talk of the Nation, and PRI’s Flashpoint. He can be reached at law.writes@gmail.com

Source: Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving|Via CounterPoint

this pressed for reality check: France – French PM Valls says ‘no room for more refugees’ in Europe – France 24


© AFP | French Prime Minister Manuel Valls wants to limit the number of refugees coming into Europe Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2015-11-25European countries are stretched to their limits in the refugee crisis and cannot take in any more new arrivals, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was quoted as saying in a German newspaper on Wednesday. Europe is grappling with its worst refugee crisis since World War Two. Germany so far has taken in the bulk of some 1 million people expected to arrive this year.“We cannot accommodate any more refugees in Europe, that’s not possible,” Valls told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, adding that tighter control of Europe’s external borders would determine the fate of the European Union. “If we don’t do that, the people will say: Enough of Europe,” Valls warned.The comments were published only hours before German Chancellor Angela Merkel was scheduled to meet French President Francois Hollande in Paris. Merkel was initially celebrated at home and abroad for her welcoming approach to the refugees, many of whom are fleeing conflict in the Middle East. But as the flow has continued the chancellor has come under increasing criticism.Some conservatives say Merkel’s decision to open up Germany’s borders to Syrian refugees in September has spurred more migrants to come.The refugee debate has become more politically charged after the deadly attacks in Paris that stoked fears Islamic State militants could exploit the migrant crisis to send extremists to Europe. Valls avoided criticising Merkel directly for having suspended European asylum rules to allow in Syrian refugees stranded in Hungary. “Germany has made an honourable choice there,” he said.But he signalled that Paris was taken by surprise by Merkel’s decision: “It was not France that said: Come!” French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron and his German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, have proposed setting up a 10 billion euro fund to pay for tighter security, external border controls and caring for refugees.The United Nations on Tuesday condemned new restrictions on refugees that have left around 1,000 migrants stuck at the main border crossing into Macedonia from Greece.(REUTERS)Date created : 2015-11-25

Source: France – French PM Valls says ‘no room for more refugees’ in Europe – France 24

this pressed for your sensibility: Europe – Russia accuses Turkey of ‘planned provocation’ in downing jet – France 24


Russia on Wednesday accused Turkey of a “planned provocation” in downing one of its planes on the Syrian border, killing one pilot, amid fears the incident could escalate into a wider geopolitical conflict. As the diplomatic fallout from Tuesday’s incident continued, Moscow said Russian and Syrian special forces had rescued one of the pilots who ejected from the burning Russian plane but confirmed the second airman was dead. The jet downing has threatened ties between two major rival players in the Syrian war. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ratcheted up the pressure after talking to Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu by phone in the first contact between the two sides since the plane went down. “We have serious doubts about this being an unpremeditated act, it really looks like a planned provocation,” Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow. But the Russian response was also carefully calibrated. There was no sign Russia wanted a military escalation, or to jeopardise its main objective in the region: to rally international support for its view on how the conflict in Syria should be resolved. “We do not plan to go to war with Turkey, our attitude towards the Turkish people has not changed,” Lavrov said, but warned that Moscow would “seriously reevaluate” relations with Ankara. Turkey has sought to turn down the heat, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisting Ankara was simply defending its border. “We have no intention to escalate this incident. We are just defending our security and the rights of our brothers,” Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul.Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called Russia “our friend and our neighbour” and said Ankara did not want to strain ties with Moscow. Second airman rescued The Russian Su-24 jet downed on Tuesday was hit by missile fire from Turkish aircraft as it flew a mission over Syria near the Turkish border, where the Russian air force has been bombing rebel targets.Turkey said the plane had encroached on Turkish air space and was warned repeatedly to change course, but Russian officials said the plane was at no time over Turkey. The crew ejected, and one pilot was shot dead by rebels as he parachuted to the ground. A Russian marine sent to recover the crew was also killed in an attack by rebels, Moscow said.Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday that the second member of the plane’s crew had been rescued by Russian special forces alongside Syrian troops and that the serviceman was now safe at a Russian air base in Syria.”The operation ended successfully. The second pilot has been brought to our base. He is alive and well,” he said.In an apparent response to Turkey’s action, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday also ordered the dispatch of an advanced weapons system to Russia’s Khmeimim air base in Syria’s Latakia province. “I hope that this, along with other measures that we are taking, will be enough to ensure (the safety) of our flights,” Putin told reporters on a trip to the Ural mountains city of Nizhny Tagil. The dispatch of the weapons, which officials later said would be the S-400 missile system, is likely to be viewed as a stark warning to Turkey not to try to shoot down any more Russian planes. Threat to Syria peace efforts. The shooting risks derailing efforts to bring peace to Syria that were gaining tentative momentum following the November 13 Paris attacks claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group, which controls swathes of northern Syria. Ankara and Moscow are already on starkly opposing sides in the four-year Syrian civil war, with Turkey wanting to see the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad while Russia is one of his last remaining allies.Assad’s other key ally Iran also slammed Ankara. Turkey’s behaviour “sends the wrong message to the terrorists” in Syria, its Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Lavrov.There has been fears of such a mid-air incident since Russia launched air strikes in Syria in September, to the consternation of nations already involved in a US-led anti-IS group coalition. Turkey had protested that Russia’s campaign was aimed at hitting Syrian rebels and buttressing the Assad regime rather than hurting IS group jihadists.(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)Date created : 2015-11-25

Source: Europe – Russia accuses Turkey of ‘planned provocation’ in downing jet – France 24

quotation: Of course poets have morals and manners of their own, and custom is no argument with them. Thomas Hardy


Of course poets have morals and manners of their own, and custom is no argument with them.

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) Discuss

this pressed for posterity: “Turkey, like every country has a right to defend its territory and airspace” — Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) November 25, 2015


//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

this pressed…so you too can remember…: Flashback September 5th 2014 – ISIS: McCain says everyone in the National Security Team recommended arming ISIS | David Icke


Listen at the 1:40 mark

Listen at the 1:40 mark

Source: Flashback September 5th 2014 – ISIS: McCain says everyone in the National Security Team recommended arming ISIS | David Icke

this pressed for “WAKE UP PEOPLE”: Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (from WIKIPEDIA)


 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“ISIL”, “ISIS”, “Daesh”, and “Islamic State group” redirect here. For other uses, see ISIL (disambiguation), ISIS (disambiguation), Daish (disambiguation), and Islamic state (disambiguation).
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام
ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī ‘l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām

Participant in the Syrian Civil War, Iraq War (2003–2011), Iraqi insurgency, Iraq War (2014–present), Second Libyan Civil War, Boko Haram insurgency, War in North-West Pakistan, War in Afghanistan, Yemeni Civil War, and other conflicts


Primary target of Operation Inherent Resolve and of the military intervention against ISIL: in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Nigeria.

AQMI Flag.svg

Active 1999–present

  • Joined al-Qaeda: October 2004
  • Declaration of an Islamic state in Iraq: 13 October 2006
  • Claim of territory in the Levant: 8 April 2013
  • Separated from al-Qaeda:[1][2] 3 February 2014[3]
  • Declaration of caliphate: 29 June 2014
  • Claim of territory in: Libya, Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen: 13 November 2014
    • Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of India: 29 January 2015[4]
    • Nigeria: 12 March 2015[5][6]
    • North Caucasus: 23 June 2015[7]
Ideology
Leaders
Headquarters Ar-Raqqah, Syria
(de facto capital)
Area of operations Syrian, Iraqi, and Lebanese insurgencies.pngMilitary situation as of 18 November 2015, in the Iraqi, Syrian, and Lebanese conflicts.

  Controlled by the Iraqi government
  Controlled by the Syrian government
  Controlled by the Lebanese government
  Controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
  Controlled by Iraqi Kurdistan forces
  Controlled by Syrian Kurdistan forces
  Controlled by Syrian opposition forces
  Controlled by al-Nusra Front
  Controlled by Hezbollah

Note: Iraq and Syria contain large desert areas with limited populations. These areas are mapped as under the control of forces holding roads and towns within them.

Detailed map of the Syrian Civil War
Detailed map of the Iraqi insurgency
Detailed map of the Lebanese insurgency
Detailed map of the Libyan Civil War
Detailed map of the Nigerian insurgency
Detailed map of the Sinai insurgency
Detailed map of the Yemeni Civil War

Strength Inside Syria and Iraq
200,000[24] (Kurdish claim)
100,000[25] (Jihadist claim)
20,000–31,000[26] (CIA estimate)
Outside Syria and Iraq
32,600–57,900 (See Military of ISIL for more detailed estimates.)
Estimated total
52,600–257,900
Originated as Jamāʻat al-Tawḥīd wa-al-Jihād (1999)[27]

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL; Arabic: الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام‎), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, /ˈsɨs/), the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham,[28] Daesh, or simply Islamic State (IS),[29] is a Wahhabi/Salafi jihadist extremist militant group. It is led by and mainly composed of Sunni Arabs from Iraq and Syria. As of March 2015, it has control over territory occupied by 10 million people in Iraq and Syria, and through loyal local groups, has control over small areas of Libya, Nigeria and Afghanistan. The group also operates or has affiliates in other parts of the world, including North Africa and South Asia.[30][31][32][33][34][35]

The group is known in Arabic as ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī ‘l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām, leading to the acronym Da’ish or Daesh (داعش, Arabic pronunciation: [ˈdaːʕiʃ]),[36][37] the Arabic equivalent of “ISIL”. On 29 June 2014, the group proclaimed itself to be an Islamic state and worldwide caliphate, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi being named its caliph, and renamed itself ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah (الدولة الإسلامية, “Islamic State” (IS). As a caliphate, it claims religious, political and military authority over all Muslims worldwide, and that “the legality of all emirates, groups, states, and organisations, becomes null by the expansion of the khilāfah’s [caliphate’s] authority and arrival of its troops to their areas”.[28][38][39][40] The United Nations has held ISIL responsible for human rights abuses and war crimes, and Amnesty International has reported ethnic cleansing by the group on a “historic scale”. The group has been designated a terrorist organisation by the United Nations, the European Union and member states, the United States, India, Indonesia, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Syria and other countries. Over 60 countries are directly or indirectly waging war against ISIL.

The group originated as Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in 1999, which pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2004. The group participated in the Iraqi insurgency that followed the March 2003 invasion of Iraq by Western forces. In January 2006, it joined other Sunni insurgent groups to form the Mujahideen Shura Council, which proclaimed the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) in October 2006. After the Syrian Civil War began in March 2011, the ISI, under the leadership of al-Baghdadi, sent delegates into Syria in August 2011. These fighters named themselves Jabhat an-Nuṣrah li-Ahli ash-Shām—al-Nusra Front—and established a large presence in Sunni-majority areas of Syria, within the governorates of Ar-Raqqah, Idlib, Deir ez-Zor, and Aleppo. In April 2013, al-Baghdadi announced the merger of the ISI with al-Nusra Front and that the name of the reunited group was now the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). However, Abu Mohammad al-Julani and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leaders of al-Nusra and al-Qaeda respectively, rejected the merger. After an eight-month power struggle, al-Qaeda cut all ties with ISIL on 3 February 2014, citing its failure to consult and “notorious intransigence”. In Syria, the group has conducted ground attacks on both government forces and rebel factions in the Syrian Civil War. The group gained prominence after it drove Iraqi government forces out of key cities in western Iraq in an offensive initiated in early 2014. Iraq’s territorial loss almost caused a collapse of the Iraqi government and prompted a renewal of US military action in Iraq.[3][41][42][43]

ISIL is adept at social media, posting Internet videos of beheadings of soldiers, civilians, journalists and aid workers, and is known for its destruction of cultural heritage sites. Muslim leaders around the world have condemned ISIL’s ideology and actions, arguing that the group has strayed overwhelmingly from the path of true Islam and that its actions do not reflect the religion’s true teachings or virtues.[44][45] The group’s adoption of the name “Islamic State” and idea of a caliphate have been widely criticised, with the United Nations, NATO, various governments, and mainstream Muslim groups rejecting both.

Contents

Names

The group has had various names since it began.[46]

  1. The group was founded in 1999 by Jordanian radical Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as Jamāʻat al-Tawḥīd wa-al-Jihād, “The Organisation of Monotheism and Jihad” (JTJ).[27]
  2. In October 2004, al-Zarqawi swore loyalty to Osama bin Laden and changed the group’s name to Tanẓīm Qāʻidat al-Jihād fī Bilād al-Rāfidayn, “The Organisation of Jihad’s Base in Mesopotamia“, commonly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).[46][47] Although the group has never called itself al-Qaeda in Iraq, this has been its informal name over the years.[48]
  3. In January 2006, AQI merged with several other Iraqi insurgent groups to form the Mujahideen Shura Council.[49] Al-Zarqawi was killed in June 2006.
  4. On 12 October 2006, the Mujahideen Shura Council merged with several more insurgent factions, and on 13 October the establishment of the ad-Dawlah al-ʻIraq al-Islāmiyah, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), was announced.[50] The leaders of this group were Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri.[51] After they were killed in a US–Iraqi operation in April 2010, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi became the new leader of the group.
  5. On 8 April 2013, having expanded into Syria, the group adopted the name Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, which more fully translates as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant[citation needed] or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.[52][53][54] These names are translations of the Arabic name ad-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah fī-l-ʻIrāq wa-sh-Shām,[55][56] al-Shām being a description of the Levant or Greater Syria.[28] The translated names are commonly abbreviated as ISIL or ISIS, with a debate over which of these acronyms should be used.[28][56] The Washington Post concluded that the distinction between the two “is not so great”.[28]
  6. The name Da’ish is often used by ISIL’s Arabic-speaking detractors. It is based on the Arabic letters Dāl, alif, ʻayn, and shīn, which form the acronym (داعش) of ISIL’s Arabic name al-Dawlah al-Islamīyah fī al-ʻIrāq wa-al-Shām.[57][58] There are many spellings of this acronym, with “Daesh” gaining acceptance. ISIL considers the acronym Da’ish derogatory because with the appropriate grammatical conjugation it sounds similar to the Arabic words Daes, “one who crushes something underfoot”, and Dahes, “one who sows discord”.[36][59] ISIL reportedly uses flogging[60][61] and the cutting out of tongues[62] to punish those who use the term in areas under its control. In 2015, over 120 British parliamentarians asked the BBC to use the name Daesh, following the example of John Kerry and Laurent Fabius.[36][63]
  7. On 14 May 2014, the United States Department of State announced its decision to use Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as the group’s primary name.[57] However, in late 2014, top US officials shifted toward using Daesh, since this was the name that their Arab allies preferred to use.[36]
  8. On 29 June 2014, the group renamed itself ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah (الدولة الإسلامية, Islamic State (IS)), and declared itself a worldwide caliphate.[38][64][65] Accordingly, “Iraq and Shām” was removed from all official deliberations and communications, and the official name became the Islamic State from the date of the declaration. The name Islamic State and the claim of a caliphate have been widely criticised, with the UN, various governments, and mainstream Muslim groups refusing to use the new name.[63][66][67][68][69][70][71][72]

History

Foundation, 1999–2006

Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Jordanian Salafi jihadist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his militant group Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, founded in 1999, achieved notoriety in the early stages of the Iraqi insurgency for the suicide attacks on Shia Islamic mosques, civilians, Iraqi government institutions and Italian soldiers partaking in the US-led ‘Multi-National Force‘. Al-Zarqawi’s group officially pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden‘s al-Qaeda network in October 2004, changing its name to Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (تنظيم قاعدة الجهاد في بلاد الرافدين, “Organisation of Jihad’s Base in Mesopotamia“), also known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).[1][73][74] Attacks by the group on civilians, Iraqi government and security forces, foreign diplomats and soldiers, and American convoys continued with roughly the same intensity. In a letter to al-Zarqawi in July 2005, al-Qaeda’s then deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri outlined a four-stage plan to expand the Iraq War. The plan included expelling US forces from Iraq, establishing an Islamic authority as a caliphate, spreading the conflict to Iraq’s secular neighbours, and clashing with Israel, which the letter says “was established only to challenge any new Islamic entity”.[75]

In January 2006, AQI joined with several smaller Iraqi insurgent groups under an umbrella organisation called the Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC). According to Brian Fishman, this was little more than a media exercise and an attempt to give the group a more Iraqi flavour, and perhaps to distance al-Qaeda from some of al-Zarqawi’s tactical errors, more notably the 2005 bombings by AQI of three hotels in Amman.[76] On 7 June 2006, a US airstrike killed al-Zarqawi, who was succeeded as leader of the group by the Egyptian militant Abu Ayyub al-Masri.[77][78]

On 12 October 2006, the MSC united with three smaller groups and six Sunni Islamic tribes to form the “Mutayibeen Coalition”. It swore by Allah “to rid Sunnis from the oppression of the rejectionists (Shi’ite Muslims) and the crusader occupiers … to restore rights even at the price of our own lives … to make Allah’s word supreme in the world, and to restore the glory of Islam”.[79][80] A day later, the MSC declared the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), comprising Iraq’s six mostly Sunni Arab governorates.[81] Abu Omar al-Baghdadi was announced as its emir,[50][82] and al-Masri was given the title of Minister of War within the ISI’s ten-member cabinet.[83]

As Islamic State of Iraq, 2006–13

Main article: Islamic State of Iraq

According to a study compiled by United States intelligence agencies in early 2007, the ISI—also known as AQI—planned to seize power in the central and western areas of Iraq and turn it into a Sunni caliphate.[84] The group built in strength and at its height enjoyed a significant presence in the Iraqi governorates of Al Anbar, Diyala and Baghdad, claiming Baqubah as a capital city.[85][86][87][88]

The Iraq War troop surge of 2007 supplied the United States military with more manpower for operations targeting the group, resulting in dozens of high-level AQI members being captured or killed.[89]

Between July and October 2007, al-Qaeda in Iraq was reported to have lost its secure military bases in Al Anbar province and the Baghdad area.[90] During 2008, a series of US and Iraqi offensives managed to drive out AQI-aligned insurgents from their former safe havens, such as the Diyala and Al Anbar governorates, to the area of the northern city of Mosul.[91]

By 2008, the ISI was describing itself as being in a state of “extraordinary crisis”.[92] Its violent attempts to govern its territory led to a backlash from Sunni Arab Iraqis and other insurgent groups and a temporary decline in the group, which was attributable to a number of factors,[93] notably the Anbar Awakening.

In late 2009, the commander of US forces in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, stated that the ISI “has transformed significantly in the last two years. What once was dominated by foreign individuals has now become more and more dominated by Iraqi citizens”.[94] On 18 April 2010, the ISI’s two top leaders, Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, were killed in a joint US-Iraqi raid near Tikrit.[95] In a press conference in June 2010, General Odierno reported that 80% of the ISI’s top 42 leaders, including recruiters and financiers, had been killed or captured, with only eight remaining at large. He said that they had been cut off from al-Qaeda’s leadership in Pakistan.[96][97][98]

On 16 May 2010, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was appointed the new leader of the Islamic State of Iraq.[99][100] Al-Baghdadi replenished the group’s leadership, many of whom had been killed or captured, by appointing former Ba’athist military and intelligence officers who had served during Saddam Hussein‘s rule.[101] These men, nearly all of whom had spent time imprisoned by the US military, came to make up about one third of Baghdadi’s top 25 commanders. One of them was a former colonel, Samir al-Khlifawi, also known as Haji Bakr, who became the overall military commander in charge of overseeing the group’s operations.[102][103] Al-Khlifawi was instrumental in doing the ground work that led to the growth of ISIL.[104]

In July 2012, al-Baghdadi released an audio statement online announcing that the group was returning to former strongholds from which US troops and the Sons of Iraq had driven them in 2007 and 2008.[105] He also declared the start of a new offensive in Iraq called Breaking the Walls, aimed at freeing members of the group held in Iraqi prisons.[105] Violence in Iraq had begun to escalate in June 2012, primarily with AQI’s car bomb attacks, and by July 2013, monthly fatalities exceeded 1,000 for the first time since April 2008.[106]

Syrian Civil War

In March 2011, protests began in Syria against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. In the following months, violence between demonstrators and security forces led to a gradual militarisation of the conflict.[107] In August, al-Baghdadi began sending Syrian and Iraqi ISI members experienced in guerilla warfare across the border into Syria to establish an organisation there. Led by a Syrian known as Abu Muhammad al-Julani, this group began to recruit fighters and establish cells throughout the country.[108][109] In January 2012, the group announced its formation as Jabhat al-Nusra li Ahl as-Sham—Jabhat al-Nusra—more commonly known as al-Nusra Front. Al-Nusra grew rapidly into a capable fighting force, with popular support among Syrians opposed to the Assad government.[108]

As Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, 2013–14

On 8 April 2013, al-Baghdadi released an audio statement in which he announced that al-Nusra Front had been established, financed, and supported by the Islamic State of Iraq,[110] and that the two groups were merging under the name “Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham”.[52] Al-Julani issued a statement denying the merger, and complaining that neither he nor anyone else in al-Nusra’s leadership had been consulted about it.[111] In June 2013, Al Jazeera reported that it had obtained a letter written by al-Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, addressed to both leaders, in which he ruled against the merger, and appointed an emissary to oversee relations between them to put an end to tensions.[112] That same month, al-Baghdadi released an audio message rejecting al-Zawahiri’s ruling and declaring that the merger was going ahead.[113] Meanwhile, the ISIL campaign to free imprisoned ISIL members culminated in July 2013, with the group carrying out simultaneous raids on Taji and Abu Ghraib prisons, freeing more than 500 prisoners, many of them veterans of the Iraqi insurgency.[106][114] In October 2013, al-Zawahiri ordered the disbanding of ISIL, putting al-Nusra Front in charge of jihadist efforts in Syria,[115] but al-Baghdadi contested al-Zawahiri’s ruling on the basis of Islamic jurisprudence,[113] and his group continued to operate in Syria. In February 2014, after an eight-month power struggle, al-Qaeda disavowed any relations with ISIL.[42]

According to journalist Sarah Birke, there are “significant differences” between al-Nusra Front and ISIL. While al-Nusra actively calls for the overthrow of the Assad government, ISIL “tends to be more focused on establishing its own rule on conquered territory”. ISIL is “far more ruthless” in building an Islamic state, “carrying out sectarian attacks and imposing sharia law immediately”. While al-Nusra has a “large contingent of foreign fighters”, it is seen as a home-grown group by many Syrians; by contrast, ISIL fighters have been described as “foreign ‘occupiers'” by many Syrian refugees.[116] It has a strong presence in central and northern Syria, where it has instituted sharia in a number of towns.[116] The group reportedly controlled the four border towns of Atmeh, al-Bab, Azaz and Jarablus, allowing it to control the entrance and exit from Syria into Turkey.[116] Foreign fighters in Syria include Russian-speaking jihadists who were part of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (JMA).[117] In November 2013, the JMA’s Chechen leader Abu Omar al-Shishani swore an oath of allegiance to al-Baghdadi;[118] the group then split between those who followed al-Shishani in joining ISIL and those who continued to operate independently in the JMA under new leadership.[119]

In January 2014, rebels affiliated with the Islamic Front and the US-trained Free Syrian Army[120] launched an offensive against ISIL militants in and around the city of Aleppo.[121][122] In May 2014, Ayman al-Zawahiri ordered the al-Nusra Front to stop its attacks on its rival, ISIL.[123][not in citation given] In June 2014, after continued fighting between the two groups, al-Nusra’s branch in the Syrian town of Al-Bukamal pledged allegiance to ISIL.[124][125] In mid-June 2014, ISIL captured the Trabil crossing on the Jordan–Iraq border,[126] the only border crossing between the two countries.[127] ISIL has received some public support in Jordan, albeit limited, partly owing to state repression there.[128] ISIL has undertaken a recruitment drive in Saudi Arabia,[129] where tribes in the north are linked to those in western Iraq and eastern Syria.[130]

As Islamic State, 2014–present

On 29 June 2014, the organisation proclaimed itself to be a worldwide caliphate.[131] Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—known by his supporters as Amir al-Mu’minin, Caliph Ibrahim—was named its caliph, and the group renamed itself ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah (الدولة الإسلامية, “Islamic State” (IS)).[38] As a “Caliphate”, it claims religious, political and military authority over all Muslims worldwide.[40][132] The concept of it being a caliphate and the name “Islamic State” have been rejected by governments and Muslim leaders worldwide.[66][67][68][69][70][71][72]

In June and July 2014, Jordan and Saudi Arabia moved troops to their borders with Iraq, after Iraq lost control of, or withdrew from, strategic crossing points that then came under the control of ISIL, or tribes that supported ISIL.[127][133] There was speculation that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had ordered a withdrawal of troops from the Iraq–Saudi crossings in order “to increase pressure on Saudi Arabia and bring the threat of ISIS over-running its borders as well”.[130]

In July 2014, ISIL recruited more than 6,300 fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, some of whom were thought to have previously fought for the Free Syrian Army.[134] On 23 July 2014, Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Totoni Hapilon and some masked men swore loyalty to al-Baghdadi in a video, giving ISIL a presence in the Philippines.[35][135] In September 2014, the group began kidnapping people for ransoming, in the name of ISIL.[136]

Yazidi refugees and American aid workers on Mount Sinjar in August 2014

On 3 August 2014, ISIL captured the cities of Zumar, Sinjar, and Wana in northern Iraq.[137] Thousands of Yazidis fled up Mount Sinjar, fearful of the approaching hostile ISIL militants. The stranded Yazidis’ need for food and water, the threat of genocide to them and to others announced by ISIL, along with the desire to protect US citizens in Iraq and support Iraq in its fight against ISIL, were all reasons for the 2014 American intervention in Iraq on 7 August[138] and an aerial bombing campaign in Iraq which started on 8 August.

On 11 October 2014, it was reported that ISIL had dispatched 10,000 militants from Syria and Mosul to capture the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad,[139] and Iraqi Army forces and Anbar tribesmen threatened to abandon their weapons if the US did not send in ground troops to halt ISIL’s advance.[140] On 13 October, ISIL fighters advanced to within 25 kilometres (16 mi) of Baghdad Airport.[141]

At the end of October 2014, 800 radical militants gained partial control of the Libyan city of Derna and pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, thus making Derna the first city outside Syria and Iraq to be a part of the “Islamic State Caliphate”.[142] On 2 November 2014, according to the Associated Press, in response to the coalition airstrikes, representatives from Ahrar ash-Sham attended a meeting with al-Nusra Front, the Khorasan Group, ISIL, and Jund al-Aqsa, which sought to unite these hard-line groups against the US-led coalition and moderate Syrian rebel groups.[143] However, by 14 November 2014, it was revealed that the negotiations had failed.[144] On 10 November 2014, a major faction of the Egyptian militant group Ansar Bait al-Maqdis also pledged its allegiance to ISIL.[145]

 Coalition airstrike on ISIL position, October 2014

ISIL has often used water as a weapon of war. The closing of the gates of the smaller Nuaimiyah dam in Fallujah in April 2014, resulted in the flooding of surrounding regions, while water supply was cut to the Shia-dominated south. Around 12,000 families lost their homes and 200 km² of villages and fields were either flooded or dried up. The economy of the region also suffered with destruction of cropland and electricity shortages.[146]

In mid-January 2015, a Yemeni official said that ISIL had “dozens” of members in Yemen, and that they were coming into direct competition with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula with their recruitment drive.[147]

In January 2015, Afghan officials confirmed that ISIL had a military presence in Afghanistan,[148] recruiting over 135 militants by late January. However, by the end of January 2015, 65 of the militants were either captured or killed by the Taliban, and ISIL’s top Afghan recruiter, Mullah Abdul Rauf, was killed in a US drone strike in February 2015.[149][150][151]

In late January 2015, it was reported that ISIL members had infiltrated the European Union and disguised themselves as civilian refugees who were emigrating from the war zones of Iraq and the Levant.[152] An ISIL representative claimed that ISIL had successfully smuggled 4,000 fighters, and that the smuggled fighters were planning attacks in Europe in retaliation for the airstrikes carried out against ISIL targets in Iraq and Syria. However, experts believe that this claim was exaggerated to boost their stature and spread fear, although they acknowledged that some Western countries were aware of the smuggling.[153]

In early February 2015, ISIL militants in Libya managed to capture part of the countryside to the west of Sabha, and later, an area encompassing the cities of Sirte, Nofolia, and a military base to the south of both cities.

In February 2015, it was reported that some Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen members had broken from al-Qaeda and pledged allegiance to ISIL.[154]

On 16 February 2015, Egypt conducted airstrikes in Libya, in retaliation against ISIL’s beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians. By the end of that day, 64 ISIL militants in Libya had been killed by the airstrikes, including 50 militants in Derna.[155] However, by early March, ISIL had captured additional Libyan territory, including a city to the west of Derna, additional areas near Sirte, a stretch of land in southern Libya, some areas around Benghazi, and an area to the east of Tripoli.

On 7 March 2015, Boko Haram swore formal allegiance to ISIL, giving ISIL an official presence in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.[6][156][157] On 13 March 2015, a group of militants from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan swore allegiance to ISIL;[158] the group released another video on 31 July 2015 containing its spiritual leader also pledging allegiance.[159] On 30 March 2015, the senior sharia official of Ansar al-Sharia in Libya, Abdullah Al-Libi, defected to ISIL.[160]

From March through mid-April 2015, advances by Iraqi forces into ISIL-controlled territory were focused on Tikrit and the Saladin Governorate.[161]

In June 2015, the US Deputy Secretary of State announced that ISIL had lost more than 10,000 members in airstrikes over the preceding nine months.[162]

In the same month, three simultaneous attacks occurred: two hotels were attacked by gunmen in Tunisia, a man was decapitated in France, and a bomb was detonated at a Shia mosque in Kuwait. ISIL claimed responsibility for the attacks in Kuwait and Tunisia. ISIL flags were present at the crime scene in France, but ISIL has not claimed responsibility for the attack.

Responsibility for the November 2015 Paris attacks was also claimed by ISIL.[163]

Worldwide caliphate aims

Goals

Since at least 2004, a significant goal of the group has been the foundation of a Sunni Islamic state.[164][165] Specifically, ISIL has sought to establish itself as a caliphate, an Islamic state led by a group of religious authorities under a supreme leader—the caliph—who is believed to be the successor to Prophet Muhammad.[166] In June 2014, ISIL published a document in which it claimed to have traced the lineage of its leader al-Baghdadi back to Muhammad,[166] and upon proclaiming a new caliphate on 29 June, the group appointed al-Baghdadi as its caliph. As caliph, he demands the allegiance of all devout Muslims worldwide, according to Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh).[167]

ISIL has detailed its goals in its Dabiq magazine, saying it will continue to seize land and take over the entire Earth until its:

Blessed flag…covers all eastern and western extents of the Earth, filling the world with the truth and justice of Islam and putting an end to the falsehood and tyranny of jahiliyyah [state of ignorance], even if American and its coalition despise such.
— 5th edition of Dabiq, the Islamic State’s English-language magazine [168]

According to German journalist Jürgen Todenhöfer, who spent ten days embedded with ISIL in Mosul, the view that he kept hearing was that ISIL wants to “conquer the world” and all who do not believe in the group’s interpretation of the Koran will be killed. Todenhöfer was struck by the ISIL fighters’ belief that “all religions who agree with democracy have to die”,[169] and by their “incredible enthusiasm”—including enthusiasm for killing “hundreds of millions” of people.[170]

A map circulated around the internet purporting to show historical areas of former Islamic states in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, that ISIL planned to expand to, was created by outside supporters and had no official connection to ISIL.[171][172][173][174][175][176][177]

When the caliphate was proclaimed, ISIL stated: “The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organisations becomes null by the expansion of the khilafah’s [caliphate’s] authority and arrival of its troops to their areas.”[166] This was a rejection of the political divisions in the Middle East that were established by European countries during World War I in the Sykes–Picot Agreement.[178][179][180]

Ideology and beliefs

ISIL is a Salafi or Wahhabi group.[11][181][182] It follows an extremist interpretation of Islam, promotes religious violence, and regards Muslims who do not agree with its interpretations as infidels or apostates.[8] According to Hayder al Khoei, ISIL’s philosophy is represented by the symbolism in the Black Standard variant of the legendary battle flag of Prophet Muhammad that it has adopted: the flag shows the Seal of Muhammad within a white circle, with the phrase above it, “There is no God but Allah“.[183] Such symbolism has been said to point to ISIL’s belief that it represents the restoration of the caliphate of early Islam, with all the political, religious and eschatological ramifications that this would imply.[184]

According to some observers, ISIL emerged from the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the first post-Ottoman Islamist group dating back to the late 1920s in Egypt.[185] It adheres to global jihadist principles and follows the hard-line ideology of al-Qaeda and many other modern-day jihadist groups.[8][3] However, other sources trace the group’s roots to Wahhabism.

For their guiding principles, the leaders of the Islamic State … are open and clear about their almost exclusive commitment to the Wahhabi movement of Sunni Islam. The group circulates images of Wahhabi religious textbooks from Saudi Arabia in the schools it controls. Videos from the group’s territory have shown Wahhabi texts plastered on the sides of an official missionary van.

— David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times[12]

According to The Economist, dissidents in the ISIL capital of Ar-Raqqah report that “all 12 of the judges who now run its court system … are Saudis”. Saudi Wahhabi practices also followed by the group include the establishment of religious police to root out “vice” and enforce attendance at salat prayers, the widespread use of capital punishment, and the destruction or re-purposing of any non-Sunni religious buildings.[186] Bernard Haykel has described al-Baghdadi’s creed as “a kind of untamed Wahhabism”.[12]

ISIL aims to return to the early days of Islam, rejecting all innovations in the religion, which it believes corrupts its original spirit. It condemns later caliphates and the Ottoman Empire for deviating from what it calls pure Islam,[171] and seeks to revive the original Wahhabi project of the restoration of the caliphate governed by strict Salafist doctrine. Following Salafi-Wahhabi tradition, ISIL condemns the followers of secular law as disbelievers, putting the current Saudi Arabian government in that category.[187]

Salafists such as ISIL believe that only a legitimate authority can undertake the leadership of jihad, and that the first priority over other areas of combat, such as fighting non-Muslim countries, is the purification of Islamic society. For example, ISIL regards the Palestinian Sunni group Hamas as apostates who have no legitimate authority to lead jihad and see fighting Hamas as the first step toward confrontation by ISIL with Israel.[12][188]

Eschatology

One difference between ISIL and other Islamist and jihadist movements, including al-Qaeda, is the group’s emphasis on eschatology and apocalypticism—that is, a belief in a final Day of Judgment by God, and specifically, a belief that the arrival of one known as Imam Mahdi is near. ISIL believes that it will defeat the army of “Rome” at the town of Dabiq, in fulfilment of prophecy.[189] Following its interpretation of the Hadith of the Twelve Successors, ISIL also believes that after al-Baghdadi there will be only four more legitimate caliphs.[189]

The noted scholar of militant Islamism William McCants writes:

References to the End Times fill Islamic State propaganda. It’s a big selling point with foreign fighters, who want to travel to the lands where the final battles of the apocalypse will take place. The civil wars raging in those countries today [Iraq and Syria] lend credibility to the prophecies. The Islamic State has stoked the apocalyptic fire. […] For Bin Laden’s generation, the apocalypse wasn’t a great recruiting pitch. Governments in the Middle East two decades ago were more stable, and sectarianism was more subdued. It was better to recruit by calling to arms against corruption and tyranny than against the Antichrist. Today, though the apocalyptic recruiting pitch makes more sense.

Territorial claims and international presence

 Areas controlled (as of 21 October 2015)     Remaining territory in countries with ISIL presence

In Iraq and Syria, ISIL uses many of those countries’ existing governorate boundaries to subdivide its claimed territory; it calls these divisions wilayah or provinces.[191] As of June 2015, it had established official branches in Libya, Egypt (Sinai Peninsula), Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and the North Caucasus.[192] Outside Iraq and Syria, it controls territory only in Sinai, Afghanistan, and Libya.[32] ISIL also has members in Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey & Israel, but does not have official branches in those areas.[193]

Libyan Provinces

 Current military situation in Libya:

  Under the control of ISIL and Ansar al-Sharia

ISIL divides Libya into three historical provinces, claiming authority over Cyrenaica in the east, Fezzan in the desert south, and Tripolitania in the west, around its capital Tripoli.[194]

On 5 October 2014, the Shura Council of Islamic Youth and other militants in Libya were absorbed and designated the Cyrenaica Province of ISIL.[195][196] The Libyan branch of ISIL has been the most active and successful of all ISIL branches outside Iraq and Syria. It has been active mainly around Derna and Gaddafi’s hometown Sirte.[197][198]

On 4 January 2015, ISIL forces in Libya seized control of the eastern countryside of Sabha, executing 14 Libyan soldiers in the process.[199][200] They temporarily controlled part of Derna before being driven out in mid-2015.[201] Reports from Sirte suggest ISIL militants based there are a mixture of foreign fighters and ex-Gaddafi loyalists.[202] An initiative between pro-Dawn forces associated with Misrata and Operation Dawn clashed with these IS militants in Sirte.[citation needed][203][204] Fighting between Libya Dawn forces and ISIL militants was also reported in the Daheera area west of the city of Sirte, and at the Harawa vicinity east of Sirte.[205]

One unconfirmed source has claimed that ISIL uses its bases in Libya to smuggle its fighters into the European Union posing as refugees.[206][207]

Sinai Province

On 10 November 2014, many members of the group Ansar Bait al-Maqdis took an oath of allegiance to al-Baghdadi.[145] Following this, the group assumed the designation Sinai Province (Wilayat Sinai).[195][208][209][210] They are estimated to have 1,000–2,000 fighters.[35][211] A faction of the Sinai group also operates in the Gaza Strip, calling itself the Islamic State in Gaza.[212] On 19 August 2015, members of the group bombed an Egyptian security headquarters building in northern Cairo, injuring 30 people.[213] It is also speculated to be behind the crash of Russian Metrojet Flight 9268, which killed all 224 people on board. The group has claimed responsibility for the attack in audio recordings, though Egyptian officials deny there is enough evidence for the claim.[214]

Algerian Province

Members of Jund al-Khilafah swore allegiance to ISIL in September 2014.[215] ISIL in Algeria gained notoriety when it beheaded French tourist Herve Gourdel in September 2014. Since then, the group has largely been silent, with reports that its leader Khalid Abu-Sulayman was killed by Algerian forces in December 2014.[192]

Khorasan Province

On 26 January 2015, Khorasan Province (Wilayat Khorasan) was established, with Hafiz Saeed Khan named as Wāli (Governor) and Abdul Rauf as his deputy after both swore an oath of allegiance to al-Baghdadi. The name Khorasan refers to a historical region that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, and “other nearby lands”.[4][151][216][217]

On 9 February 2015, Mullah Abdul Rauf was killed by a NATO airstrike.[151] On 18 March 2015, Hafiz Wahidi, ISIL’s replacement deputy Emir in Afghanistan, was killed by the Afghan Armed Forces, along with nine other ISIL militants who were accompanying him.[218] In June, Reuters received reports that villages in several districts of Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar Province had been captured from the Taliban by ISIL sympathisers.[32] On 10 July 2015, Hafiz Saeed Khan, the Emir of ISIL’s Khorasan Province, was reportedly killed in U.S. drone strike in eastern Afghanistan.[219] However Khorasan Province released an audio tape claimed to be of Hafiz Saeed Khan on 13 July 2015,[220] and he was sanctioned by the US Department of the Treasury on 29 September 2015.[221]

Yemen

On 13 November 2014, unidentified militants in Yemen pledged allegiance to ISIL.[215] By December of that year, ISIL had built an active presence inside Yemen, with its recruitment drive bringing it into direct competition with al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).[147][222] In February 2015, it was reported that some members of Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen had split from AQAP and pledged allegiance to ISIL.[223] As the Yemeni Civil War escalated in March 2015, at least seven ISIL Wilayat, named after existing provincial boundaries in Yemen, claimed responsibility for attacks against the Houthis, including the Hadhramaut Province, the Shabwah Province, and the Sana’a Province.[224][225]

Shi’a Houthis (Revolutionary Committee) are principal enemies of Yemen’s ISIL branch.[226][227] U.S. supports the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen against the Houthis,[228] but many in U.S. SOCOM reportedly favor Houthis, as they have been an effective force in rolling back al-Qaeda and recently ISIL in Yemen, “something that hundreds of U.S. drone strikes and large numbers of advisers to Yemen’s military had failed to accomplish”.[229] The Guardian reported: “As another 50 civilians die in the forgotten war, only Isis and al-Qaida are gaining from a conflict tearing Yemen apart and leaving 20 million people in need of aid.”[230]

West African Province

Main article: Boko Haram

On 7 March 2015, Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant via an audio message posted on the organisation’s Twitter account.[231][232] On 12 March 2015, ISIL’s spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani released an audio tape in which he welcomed the pledge of allegiance, and described it as an expansion of the group’s caliphate into West Africa.[5] ISIL publications from late March 2015 began referring to members of Boko Haram as part of Wilayat Gharb Afriqiya (West Africa Province).[225]

North Caucasus Province

Some commanders of the Caucasus Emirate in Chechnya and Dagestan switched their allegiance to ISIL in late 2014 and early 2015.[233] On 23 June 2015, ISIL spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani accepted the pledges of allegiance and announced a new Caucasus Province (Wilayat al-Qawqaz) under the leadership of Rustam Asildarov.[7][192]

Southeast Asia

Main article: Abu Sayyaf

On 23 July 2014, Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Totoni Hapilon in the Philippines swore an oath of loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL.[135] In September 2014, the group began kidnapping people to ransom, in the name of ISIL.[136]

Other areas of operation

  • Unidentified militants in Saudi Arabia pledged allegiance to ISIL – designated as a province of ISIL.[215]
  • The Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade (Lebanon) pledged allegiance to ISIL.[35]
  • Sons of the Call for Tawhid and Jihad (Jordan) pledged allegiance to ISIL.[234]

Leadership and governance

 Mugshot of al-Baghdadi by U.S. armed forces while in detention at Camp Bucca in 2004

The group is headed and run by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, with a cabinet of advisers. There are two deputy leaders, Abu Muslim al-Turkmani (KIA) for Iraq and Abu Ali al-Anbari for Syria, and 12 local governors in Iraq and Syria. A third man, Abu Ala al-Afri, is also believed to hold a prominent position within the group, having been rumored to be the deputy leader of ISIL. All three are believed to be ethnic Turkmen. The former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein was also said to have had senior Turkmen within his inner circle.[235][236] While al-Baghdadi has told followers to “advise me when I err” in sermons, according to observers “any threat, opposition, or even contradiction is instantly eradicated”.[237] Beneath the leaders are councils on finance, leadership, military matters, legal matters—including decisions on executions—foreign fighters’ assistance, security, intelligence and media. In addition, a shura council has the task of ensuring that all decisions made by the governors and councils comply with the group’s interpretation of sharia.[238] The majority of ISIL’s leadership is dominated by Iraqis, especially former members of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath government who lost their jobs and pensions in De-Ba’athification when his regime was overthrown.[103][239] It has been reported that Iraqis and Syrians have been given greater precedence over other nationalities within ISIL because the group needs the loyalties of the local Sunni populations in both Syria and Iraq in order to be sustainable.[240][241] However, other reports have indicated that Syrians are at a disadvantage to foreign members of ISIL, with some native Syrian fighters resenting “favoritism” allegedly shown towards foreigners over pay and accommodation.[242][243]

In September 2014, The Wall Street Journal estimated that eight million Iraqis and Syrians live in areas controlled by ISIL.[244] Ar-Raqqah in Syria is the de facto capital, and is said to be a test case of ISIL governance.[245] As of September 2014, governance in Ar-Raqqah has been under the total control of ISIL where it has rebuilt the structure of modern government in less than a year. Former government workers from the Assad government have maintained their jobs after pledging allegiance to ISIL. Institutions, restored and restructured, provide their respective services. The Ar-Raqqah dam continues to provide electricity and water. Foreign expertise aids Syrian officials in the running of civilian institutions. Only the police and soldiers are ISIL fighters, who receive confiscated lodging previously owned by non-Sunnis and others who have fled. Welfare services are provided, price controls are established, and taxes are imposed on the wealthy. ISIL runs a soft power programme in the areas under its control in Iraq and Syria, which includes social services, religious lectures and da’wah—proselytising—to local populations. It also performs public services, such as repairing roads and maintaining the electricity supply.[246]

British security expert Frank Gardner concluded that ISIL’s prospects of maintaining control and rule were greater in 2014 than they had been in 2006, and that despite being as brutal as before, ISIL had become “well entrenched” among the population and was not likely to be dislodged by ineffective Syrian or Iraqi forces. It has replaced corrupt governance with functioning locally controlled authorities, services have been restored and there are adequate supplies of water and oil. With Western-backed intervention being unlikely, the group will “continue to hold their ground” and rule an area “the size of Pennsylvania for the foreseeable future”, he said.[191][247] ISIL has maintained food production, crucial to governance and popular support,[248] and its 40% control of Iraq’s wheat production has further solidified its rule.

Monetary system

Main article: Modern gold dinar

On 11 November 2014, ISIL announced its intent to mint its own gold, silver, and copper coins, based on the coinage used by the Umayyad Caliphate in the 7th century. Following the announcement, the group began buying up gold, silver, and copper in markets throughout northern and western Iraq, according to precious metal traders in the area. Members of the group also reportedly began stripping the insulation off electrical power cables to obtain the copper wiring.[249][250] The announcement included designs of the proposed coins, which displayed imagery including a map of the world, a sword and shield, the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and a crescent moon. Economics experts, such as Professor Steven H. Hanke of Johns Hopkins University, were skeptical of the plans.[250][251] A subsequent report alleged that coins released in Mosul were only gold plated and not worth their stated value in precious metal.[252]

Non-combatants

Although ISIL attracts followers from different parts of the world by promoting the image of holy war, not all of its recruits end up in combatant roles. There have been several cases of new recruits expecting to be mujahideen who have returned from Syria disappointed by the everyday jobs that were assigned to them, such as drawing water or cleaning toilets, or by the ban imposed on use of mobile phones during military training sessions.[253]

ISIL publishes material directed at women. Although women are not allowed to take up arms, media groups encourage them to play supportive roles within ISIL, such as providing first aid, cooking, nursing and sewing skills, in order to become “good wives of jihad”.[254] In a document entitled Women in the Islamic State: Manifesto and Case Study released by the media wing of ISIL’s all-female Al-Khanssaa Brigade, emphasis is given to the paramount importance of marriage and motherhood (as early as nine-years-old). Women should live a life of “sedentariness”, fulfilling her “divine duty of motherhood” at home, with a few exceptions like teachers and doctors.[255][256] Equality for women is opposed, as is education on non-religious subjects, the “worthless worldly sciences”[256]

Strategy

A 2004 work published online entitled Management of Savagery[257] (Idarat at Tawahoush), described by several media outlets as influential on ISIL,[258][259][260] and intended to provide a strategy to create a new Islamic caliphate,[261] recommended a strategy of attack outside its territory in which fighters would:

Diversify and widen the vexation strikes against the Crusader-Zionist enemy in every place in the Islamic world, and even outside of it if possible, so as to disperse the efforts of the alliance of the enemy and thus drain it to the greatest extent possible.
— Scott Atran, Paris: The War ISIS Wants[262]

Terror attacks on soft targets like resorts will require expenditures for security that will weaken the “crusaders”.

If a tourist resort that the Crusaders patronize…is hit, all of the tourist resorts in all of the states of the world will have to be secured by the work of additional forces, which are double the ordinary amount, and a huge increase in spending,
— Scott Atran, Paris: The War ISIS Wants[262]

while inspiring disaffected youth who are naturally rebellious and energetic. The terror will

motivate crowds drawn from the masses to fly to the regions which we manage, particularly the youth… [For] the youth of the nation are closer to the innate nature [of humans] on account of the rebelliousness within them.
— Scott Atran, Paris: The War ISIS Wants[262]

and will also draw the “Crusaders” into a quagmire of military conflict:

Work to expose the weakness of America’s centralized power by pushing it to abandon the media psychological war and war by proxy until it fights directly.
— Scott Atran, Paris: The War ISIS Wants[262]

One observer has described ISIL’s publicizing of its mass executions and killing of civilians as part of “a conscious plan designed to instill among believers a sense of meaning that is sacred and sublime, while scaring the hell out of fence-sitters and enemies.”[262] Another describes it purpose as to “break” psychologically those under its control “so as to ensure their absolute allegiance through fear and intimidation”, while generating “outright hate and vengeance” by its enemies.[263]

Designation as a terrorist organisation

Organisation Date Body References
Multinational organisations
 United Nations 18 October 2004 (as al-Qaeda in Iraq)
30 May 2013 (after separation from al‑Qaeda)
United Nations Security Council [264][265][266]
 European Union 2004 EU Council (via adoption of UN al-Qaeda Sanctions List) [267]
Nations
 United Kingdom March 2001 (as part of al-Qaeda)
20 June 2014 (after separation from al‑Qaeda)
Home Secretary of the Home Office [268]
 United States 17 December 2004 (as al-Qaeda in Iraq) United States Department of State [269]
 Australia 2 March 2005 (as al-Qaeda in Iraq)
14 December 2013 (after separation from al‑Qaeda)
Attorney-General for Australia [270]
 Canada 20 August 2012 Parliament of Canada [271]
 Turkey 30 October 2013 Grand National Assembly of Turkey [272][273]
 Saudi Arabia 7 March 2014 Royal decree of the King of Saudi Arabia [274]
 Indonesia 1 August 2014 National Counter-terrorism Agency BNPT [275]
 United Arab Emirates 20 August 2014 United Arab Emirates Cabinet [276]
 Malaysia 24 September 2014 Ministry of Foreign Affairs [277]
 Egypt 30 November 2014 The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters [278][279]
 India 16 December 2014 Ministry of Home Affairs [280][281]
 Russia 29 December 2014 Supreme Court of Russia [282]
 Kyrgyzstan 25 March 2015 Kyrgyz State Committee of National Security [283]
 Syria     [284]
 Jordan     [285]
 Pakistan 29 August 2015 Ministry of Interior [286]

The United Nations Security Council in its Resolution 1267 (1999) described Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda associates as operators of a network of terrorist training camps.[287] The UN’s Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee first listed ISIL in its Sanctions List under the name “Al-Qaida in Iraq” on 18 October 2004, as an entity/group associated with al-Qaeda. On 2 June 2014, the group was added to its listing under the name “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant”. The European Union adopted the UN Sanctions List in 2002.[267]

 People lay flowers outside the French embassy in Moscow in memory of the victims of the November 2015 Paris attacks.

Many world leaders and government spokespeople have called ISIL a terrorist group or banned it, without their countries having formally designated it as such. The following are examples:

The Government of Germany banned ISIL in September 2014. Activities banned include donations to the group, recruiting fighters, holding ISIL meetings and distributing its propaganda, flying ISIL flags, wearing ISIL symbols and all ISIL activities. “The terror organisation Islamic State is a threat to public safety in Germany as well”, said German politician Thomas de Maizière. He added, “Today’s ban is directed solely against terrorists who abuse religion for their criminal goals.” The ban does not mean that ISIL has been outlawed as a foreign terrorist organisation in Germany, as that requires a court judgement.[288]

In October 2014, Switzerland banned ISIL’s activities in the country, including propaganda and financial support of the fighters, with prison sentences as potential penalties.[289]

In mid-December 2014, India banned ISIL after the arrest of an operator of a pro-ISIL Twitter account.[290]

Pakistan designated ISIL as a banned organisation in late August 2015, under which all elements expressing sympathy for the group would be blacklisted and sanctioned.[286]

Media sources worldwide have described ISIL as a terrorist organisation.[28][103][275][291][292][293]

Human rights abuse and war crime findings

In July 2014, the BBC reported the United Nations’ chief investigator as stating: “Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) may be added to a list of war crimes suspects in Syria.”[294] By June 2014, according to United Nations reports, ISIL had killed hundreds of prisoners of war[295] and over 1,000 civilians.

In November 2014, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said that ISIL was committing crimes against humanity.[296][297] A report by Human Rights Watch in November 2014 accused ISIL groups in control of Derna, Libya of war crimes and human rights abuses and of terrorizing residents. Human Rights Watch documented three apparent summary executions and at least ten public floggings by the Islamic Youth Shura Council, which joined ISIL in November. It also documented the beheading of three Derna residents and dozens of seemingly politically motivated assassinations of judges, public officials, members of the security forces and others. Sarah Leah Watson, Director of HRW Middle East and North Africa, said: “Commanders should understand that they may face domestic or international prosecution for the grave rights abuses their forces are committing.”[298]

Speaking of ISIL’s methods, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has stated that the group “seeks to subjugate civilians under its control and dominate every aspect of their lives through terror, indoctrination, and the provision of services to those who obey”.[299]

Religious and minority group persecution

 Yazidi refugees on Mount Sinjar in August 2014

ISIL compels people in the areas that it controls to live according to its interpretation of sharia law.[291][300] There have been many reports of the group’s use of death threats, torture and mutilation to compel conversion to Islam,[291][300] and of clerics being killed for refusal to pledge allegiance to the so-called “Islamic State”.[301] ISIL directs violence against Shia Muslims, Alawites, Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac and Armenian Christians, Yazidis, Druze, Shabaks and Mandeans in particular.[302]

ISIL fighters are targeting Syria’s minority Alawite sect.[303][304] The Islamic State and affiliated jihadist groups reportedly took the lead in an offensive on Alawite villages in Latakia Governorate of Syria in August 2013.[305][306]

Amnesty International has held ISIL responsible for the ethnic cleansing of ethnic and religious minority groups in northern Iraq on a “historic scale”. In a special report released on 2 September 2014, it describes how ISIL has “systematically targeted non-Arab and non-Sunni Muslim communities, killing or abducting hundreds, possibly thousands, of individuals and forcing more than 830,000 others to flee the areas it has captured since 10 June 2014”. Among these people are Assyrian Christians, Turkmen Shia, Shabak Shia, Yazidis, Kaka’i and Sabean Mandeans, who have lived together for centuries in Nineveh province, large parts of which came under ISIL’s control.[307][308]

Among the known killings of religious and minority group civilians carried out by ISIL are those in the villages and towns of Quiniyeh (70–90 Yazidis killed), Hardan (60 Yazidis killed), Sinjar (500–2,000 Yazidis killed), Ramadi Jabal (60–70 Yazidis killed), Dhola (50 Yazidis killed), Khana Sor (100 Yazidis killed), Hardan (250–300 Yazidis killed), al-Shimal (dozens of Yazidis killed), Khocho (400 Yazidis killed and 1,000 abducted), Jadala (14 Yadizis killed)[309] and Beshir (700 Shia Turkmen killed),[310] and others committed near Mosul (670 Shia inmates of the Badush prison killed),[310] and in Tal Afar prison, Iraq (200 Yazidis killed for refusing conversion).[309] The UN estimated that 5,000 Yazidis were killed by ISIL during the takeover of parts of northern Iraq in August 2014.[311] In late May 2014, 150 Kurdish boys from Kobani aged 14–16 were abducted and subjected to torture and abuse, according to Human Rights Watch.[312] In the Syrian towns of Ghraneij, Abu Haman and Kashkiyeh 700 members of the Sunni Al-Shaitat tribe were killed for attempting an uprising against ISIL control.[313][314] The UN reported that in June 2014 ISIL had killed a number of Sunni Islamic clerics who refused to pledge allegiance to it.[301]

Christians living in areas under ISIL control who want to remain in the “caliphate” face three options: converting to Islam, paying a religious levy—jizya—or death.[315][316] “We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract – involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword”, ISIL said.[317] ISIL had already set similar rules for Christians in Ar-Raqqah, once one of Syria’s more liberal cities.[318][319]

On 23 February 2015, in response to a major Kurdish offensive in the Al-Hasakah Governorate, ISIL abducted 150 Assyrian Christians from villages near Tal Tamr (Tell Tamer) in northeastern Syria, after launching a large offensive in the region.[320][321]

It was claimed that ISIL campaigns against Kurdish and Yezidi enclaves in Iraq and Syria were a part of organised Arabization plans. For instance, a Kurdish official in Iraqi Kurdistan claimed that the ISIL campaign in Sinjar was a case of Arabization campaign.[322]

Treatment of civilians

During the Iraqi conflict in 2014, ISIL released dozens of videos showing its ill treatment of civilians, many of whom had apparently been targeted on the basis of their religion or ethnicity. Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned of war crimes being committed in the Iraqi war zone, and disclosed a UN report of ISIL militants murdering Iraqi Army soldiers and 17 civilians in a single street in Mosul. The UN reported that in the 17 days from 5 to 22 June, ISIL killed more than 1,000 Iraqi civilians and injured more than 1,000.[323][324][325] After ISIL released photographs of its fighters shooting scores of young men, the UN declared that cold-blooded “executions” by militants in northern Iraq almost certainly amounted to war crimes.[326]

ISIL’s advance in Iraq in mid-2014 was accompanied by continuing violence in Syria. On 29 May, ISIL raided a village in Syria and at least 15 civilians were killed, including, according to Human Rights Watch, at least six children.[327] A hospital in the area confirmed that it had received 15 bodies on the same day.[328] The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that on 1 June, a 102-year-old man was killed along with his whole family in a village in Hama province.[329] According to Reuters, 1,878 people were killed in Syria by ISIL during the last six months of 2014, most of them civilians.[330]

In Mosul, ISIL has implemented a sharia school curriculum which bans the teaching of art, music, national history, literature and Christianity. Although Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution has never been taught in Iraqi schools, the subject has been banned from the school curriculum. Patriotic songs have been declared blasphemous, and orders have been given to remove certain pictures from school textbooks.[331][332][333][334] Iraqi parents have largely boycotted schools in which the new curriculum has been introduced.[335]

After capturing cities in Iraq, ISIL issued guidelines on how to wear clothes and veils. ISIL warned women in the city of Mosul to wear full-face veils or face severe punishment.[336] A cleric told Reuters in Mosul that ISIL gunmen had ordered him to read out the warning in his mosque when worshippers gathered. ISIL ordered the faces of both male and female mannequins to be covered, in an order which also banned the use of naked mannequins.[337] In Ar-Raqqah the group uses its two battalions of female fighters in the city to enforce compliance by women with its strict laws on individual conduct.[338]

ISIL released 16 notes labelled “Contract of the City”, a set of rules aimed at civilians in Nineveh. One rule stipulated that women should stay at home and not go outside unless necessary. Another rule said that stealing would be punished by amputation.[246][339] In addition to the Muslim custom of banning the sale and use of alcohol, ISIL has banned the sale and use of cigarettes and hookah pipes. It has also banned “music and songs in cars, at parties, in shops and in public, as well as photographs of people in shop windows”.[340]

According to The Economist, Saudi practices also followed by the group include the establishment of religious police to root out “vice” and enforce attendance at salat prayers, the widespread use of capital punishment, and the destruction of Christian churches and non-Sunni mosques or their conversion to other uses.[186]

ISIL carried out executions on both men and women who were accused of various acts and found guilty of crimes against Islam such as homosexuality, adultery, watching pornography, usage and possession of contraband, rape, blasphemy, witchcraft,[341] renouncing Islam and murder. Before the accused are executed their charges are read toward them and the spectators. Executions take various forms, including stoning to death, crucifixions, beheadings, burning people alive, and throwing people from tall buildings.[342][343][344][345]

Child soldiers

According to a report by the magazine Foreign Policy, children as young as six are recruited or kidnapped and sent to military and religious training camps, where they practice beheading with dolls and are indoctrinated with the religious views of ISIL. Children are used as human shields on front lines and to provide blood transfusions for Islamic State soldiers, according to Shelly Whitman of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative. The second installment of a Vice News documentary about ISIL focused on how the group is specifically grooming children for the future. A spokesman told VICE News that those under the age of 15 go to sharia camp to learn about religion, while those older than 16 can go to military training camp. Children are also used for propaganda. According to a UN report, “In mid-August, ISIL entered a cancer hospital in Mosul, forced at least two sick children to hold the ISIL flag and posted the pictures on the internet.” Misty Buswell, a Save the Children representative working with refugees in Jordan, said, “It’s not an exaggeration to say we could lose a whole generation of children to trauma.”[346]

Sexual violence and slavery

Sexual violence perpetrated by ISIL includes: using rape as a weapon of war;[347] instituting forced marriages to its fighters;[348] and trading women and girls as sex slaves.[349]

There are many reports of sexual abuse and enslavement in ISIL-controlled areas of women and girls, predominantly from the minority Christian and Yazidi communities.[350][351] Fighters are told that they are free to have sex with or rape non-Muslim captive women.[352] Haleh Esfandiari from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars has highlighted the abuse of local women by ISIL militants after they have captured an area. “They usually take the older women to a makeshift slave market and try to sell them. The younger girls … are raped or married off to fighters”, she said, adding, “It’s based on temporary marriages, and once these fighters have had sex with these young girls, they just pass them on to other fighters.”[353]

The capture of Iraqi cities by the group in June 2014 was accompanied by an upsurge in crimes against women, including kidnap and rape.[354][355][356] According to Martin Williams in The Citizen, some hard-line Salafists apparently regard extramarital sex with multiple partners as a legitimate form of holy war and it is “difficult to reconcile this with a religion where some adherents insist that women must be covered from head to toe, with only a narrow slit for the eyes”.[357]

As of August 2015, the trade in sex slaves appeared to remain restricted to Yazidi women and girls.[349] It has reportedly become a recruiting technique to attract men from conservative Muslim societies, where dating and casual sex are not allowed.[349] Nazand Begikhani said of the Yazidi victims, “These women have been treated like cattle … They have been subjected to physical and sexual violence, including systematic rape and sex slavery. They’ve been exposed in markets in Mosul and in Raqqa, Syria, carrying price tags.”[358] According to UN Reports the price list for IS sex slaves range from 40 to 160 US-Dollars. The younger the slave the more expensive. Girls and boys between the age 1–9 are referred to as the most expensive, with the cheapest being women between 40 to 50 years old.[359] According to another source the price of a slave equals the price of an AK-47.Error: vrview requires 'url', 'image' or 'video' to be set

A United Nations report issued on 2 October 2014, based on 500 interviews with witnesses, said that ISIL took 450–500 women and girls to Iraq’s Nineveh region in August, where “150 unmarried girls and women, predominantly from the Yazidi 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”.[351] In mid-October, the UN confirmed that 5,000–7,000 Yazidi women and children had been abducted by ISIL and sold into slavery.[311][361] In November 2014 The New York Times reported on the accounts given by five who escaped ISIL of their captivity and abuse.[362] In December 2014, the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights announced that ISIL had killed over 150 women and girls in Fallujah who refused to participate in sexual jihad.[363][364] Non-Muslim women have reportedly been married off to fighters against their will. ISIL claims the women provide the new converts and children necessary to spread ISIL’s control.[365]

Shortly after the death of US hostage Kayla Mueller was confirmed on 10 February 2015,[366] several media outlets reported that the US intelligence community believed she may have been given as a wife to an ISIL fighter.[367][368][369] In August 2015 it was confirmed that she had been forced into marriage[370] to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who raped her repeatedly.[371][372][373][374][375][376][377] The Mueller family was informed by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had sexually abused Ms. Mueller, and that Ms. Mueller had also been tortured.[376] Abu Sayyaf‘s widow, Umm Sayyaf, confirmed that it was her husband who had been Mueller’s primary abuser.[378]

In its digital magazine Dabiq, ISIL explicitly claimed religious justification for enslaving Yazidi women.[379][380][381] According to The Wall Street Journal, ISIL appeals to apocalyptic beliefs and claims “justification by a Hadith that they interpret as portraying the revival of slavery as a precursor to the end of the world”.[382] ISIL appeals to the Hadith and Qur’an when claiming the right to enslave and rape captive non-Muslim women.[379][383][384] According to Dabiq, “enslaving the families of the kuffar and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Sharia’s that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Qur’an and the narration of the Prophet … and thereby apostatizing from Islam.” Captured Yazidi women and children are divided among the fighters who captured them, with one fifth taken as a tax.[384][385] ISIL has received widespread criticism from Muslim scholars and others in the Muslim world for using part of the Qur’an to derive a ruling in isolation, rather than considering the entire Qur’an and Hadith.[379][383][384] According to Mona Siddiqui, ISIL’s “narrative may well be wrapped up in the familiar language of jihad and ‘fighting in the cause of Allah’, but it amounts to little more than destruction of anything and anyone who doesn’t agree with them”; she describes ISIL as reflecting a “lethal mix of violence and sexual power” and a “deeply flawed view of manhood”.[365] Dabiq describes “this large-scale enslavement” of non-Muslims as “probably the first since the abandonment of Shariah law”.[384][385]

In late 2014, ISIL released a pamphlet that focused on the treatment of female slaves.[386][387] It claims that the Quran allows fighters to have sex with captives, including adolescent girls, and to beat slaves as discipline. The pamphlet’s guidelines also allow fighters to trade slaves, including for sex, as long as they have not been impregnated by their owner.[386][387][388] Charlie Winter, a researcher at the counter-extremist think tank Quilliam, described the pamphlet as “abhorrent”.[388][389] In response to this document Abbas Barzegar, a religion professor at Georgia State University, said Muslims around the world find ISIL’s “alien interpretation of Islam grotesque and abhorrent”.[390] Muslim leaders and scholars from around the world have rejected the validity of ISIL’s claims, claiming that the reintroduction of slavery is un-Islamic, that they are required to protect “People of the Scripture” including Christians, Jews, Muslims and Yazidis, and that ISIL’s fatwas are invalid due to their lack of religious authority and the fatwas’ inconsistency with Islam.[391][392]

The Independent reported in 2015 that the usage of Yazidi sex slaves had created ongoing friction among fighters within ISIL. Sajad Jiyad, a Research Fellow and Associate Member at the Iraqi Institute for Economic Reform, told the newspaper that many ISIL supporters and fighters had been in denial about the trafficking of kidnapped Yazidi women until a Dabiq article justifying the practice was published.[393][394] The New York Times said in August 2015 that “[t]he systematic rape of women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority has become deeply enmeshed in the organization and the radical theology of the Islamic State in the year since the group announced it was reviving slavery as an institution.”[349] The article claims that ISIL is not merely exonerating but sacralising rape, and illustrated this with the testimony of escapees. One 15-year-old victim said that, while she was being assaulted, her rapist “kept telling me this is ibadah“; a 12-year-old victim related how her assailant claimed that, “by raping me, he is drawing closer to God”;[349] and one adult prisoner told how, when she challenged her captor about repeatedly raping a 12 year old, she was met with the retort, “No, she’s not a little girl, she’s a slave and she knows exactly how to have sex and having sex with her pleases God.”[349]

Attacks on members of the press

The Committee to Protect Journalists states: “Without a free press, few other human rights are attainable.”[395] ISIL has tortured and murdered local journalists,[396][397] creating what Reporters Without Borders calls “news blackholes” in areas controlled by ISIL. ISIL fighters have reportedly been given written directions to kill or capture journalists.[398]

In December 2013, two suicide bombers stormed the headquarters of TV station Salaheddin and killed five journalists, after accusing the station of “distorting the image of Iraq’s Sunni community”. Reporters Without Borders reported that on 7 September 2014, ISIL seized and on 11 October publicly beheaded Raad al-Azzawi, a TV Salaheddin cameraman from the village of Samra, east of Tikrit.[399] As of October 2014, according to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, ISIL is holding nine journalists and has nine others under close observation in Mosul and Salahuddin province.[398]

During 2013 and part of 2014, an ISIL unit nicknamed the Beatles acquired and held 12 Western journalists hostage, along with aid workers and other foreign hostages, totalling 23 or 24 known hostages. A Polish journalist Marcin Suder was captured in July 2013 but escaped four months later.[400] The unit executed American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and released beheading videos. Eight of the other journalists were released for ransom: Danish journalist Daniel Rye Ottosen, French journalists Didier François, Edouard Elias, Nicolas Hénin, and Pierre Torres, and Spanish journalists Marc Marginedas, Javier Espinosa, and Ricardo García Vilanova. The unit continues to hold hostage British journalist John Cantlie and a female aid worker.[401]

Cyber-security group the Citizen Lab released a report finding a possible link between ISIL and a digital attack on the Syrian citizen media group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RSS). Supporters of the media group received an emailed link to an image of supposed airstrikes, but clicking on the link introduced malware to the user’s computer that sends details of the user’s IP address and system each time it restarts. That information has been enough to allow ISIL to locate RSS supporters. “The group has been targeted for kidnappings, house raids, and at least one alleged targeted killing. At the time of that writing, ISIL was allegedly holding several citizen journalists in Raqqa”, according to the Citizen Lab report.[402]

On 8 January 2015, ISIL members in Libya claimed to have executed Tunisian journalists Sofiene Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari who disappeared in September 2014.[403] Also in January 2015, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto was kidnapped and beheaded, after a demand for a $200 million ransom payment was not met.[404]

Beheadings and mass executions

An unknown number of Syrians and Iraqis, several Lebanese soldiers, at least ten Kurds, two American journalists, one American and two British aid workers, and three Libyans have been beheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[citation needed] ISIL uses beheadings to intimidate local populations and has released a series of propaganda videos aimed at Western countries.[405] They also engage in public and mass executions of Syrian and Iraqi soldiers and civilians,[304] sometimes forcing prisoners to dig their own graves before shooting lines of prisoners and pushing them in.[406][407] ISIL was reported to have beheaded about 100 foreign fighters as deserters who tried to leave Raqqa.[408]

Use of chemical weapons

Kurds in northern Iraq reported being attacked by ISIS with chemical weapons in August 2015.[409] At Kobanî, it is highly likely that ISIS used chlorine gas there. These chemical weapons may be from a chemical weapons storage site at Al-Muthanna, which contained 2,500 chemical rockets. Although the rockets’ chemical contents were deteriorated, ISIS may have used them in a concentrated manner.[410]

Destruction of cultural and religious heritage

UNESCO‘s Director-General Irina Bokova has warned that ISIL is destroying Iraq’s cultural heritage, in what she has called “cultural cleansing“. “We don’t have time to lose because extremists are trying to erase the identity, because they know that if there is no identity, there is no memory, there is no history”, she said. Referring to the ancient cultures of Christians, Yazidis and other minorities, she said, “This is a way to destroy identity. You deprive them of their culture, you deprive them of their history, their heritage, and that is why it goes hand in hand with genocide. Along with the physical persecution they want to eliminate – to delete – the memory of these different cultures. … we think this is appalling, and this is not acceptable.”[411] Saad Eskander, head of Iraq’s National Archives said, “For the first time you have cultural cleansing… For the Yazidis, religion is oral, nothing is written. By destroying their places of worship … you are killing cultural memory. It is the same with the Christians – it really is a threat beyond belief.”[412]

 In July 2014, ISIL demolished the mosque dedicated to Jonah in Mosul

To finance its activities, ISIL is stealing artifacts from Syria[413] and Iraq and sending them to Europe to be sold. It is estimated that ISIL raises US$200 million a year from cultural looting. UNESCO has asked for United Nations Security Council controls on the sale of antiquities, similar to those imposed after the 2003 Iraq War. UNESCO is working with Interpol, national customs authorities, museums, and major auction houses in attempts to prevent looted items from being sold.[412] ISIL occupied Mosul Museum, the second most important museum in Iraq, as it was about to reopen after years of rebuilding following the Iraq War, saying that the statues were against Islam and threatening to destroy the museum’s contents.[414][415]

ISIL considers worshipping at graves tantamount to idolatry, and seeks to purify the community of unbelievers. It has used bulldozers to crush buildings and archaeological sites.[415] Bernard Haykel has described al-Baghdadi’s creed as “a kind of untamed Wahhabism”, saying, “For Al Qaeda, violence is a means to an ends; for ISIS, it is an end in itself”.[12] The destruction by ISIL in July 2014 of the tomb and shrine of the prophet YunusJonah in Christianity—the 13th-century mosque of Imam Yahya Abu al-Qassimin, the 14th-century shrine of prophet Jerjis—St George to Christians—and the attempted destruction of the Hadba minaret at the 12th-century Great Mosque of Al-Nuri have been described as “an unchecked outburst of extreme Wahhabism”.[416] “There were explosions that destroyed buildings dating back to the Assyrian era“, said National Museum of Iraq director Qais Rashid, referring to the destruction of the shrine of Yunus. He cited another case where “Daesh (ISIL) gathered over 1,500 manuscripts from convents and other holy places and burnt all of them in the middle of the city square”.[417] In March 2015, ISIL reportedly bulldozed the 13th-century BC Assyrian city of Nimrud, believing its sculptures to be idolatrous. UNESCO head, Irina Bokova, deemed this to be a war crime.[418]

Criticism

Islamic criticism

Main article: Khawarij

Extremism within Islam goes back to the 7th century to the Kharijites. From their essentially political position, they developed extreme doctrines that set them apart from both mainstream Sunni and Shiʿa Muslims. The Kharijites were particularly noted for adopting a radical approach to Takfir, whereby they declared other Muslims to be unbelievers and therefore deemed them worthy of death.[419][420][421]

ISIL has received severe criticism from other Muslims, especially religious scholars and theologians. In late August 2014, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh, condemned the Islamic State and al-Qaeda saying, “Extremist and militant ideas and terrorism which spread decay on Earth, destroying human civilization, are not in any way part of Islam, but are enemy number one of Islam, and Muslims are their first victims”.[422] In late September 2014, 126 Sunni imams and Islamic scholars—primarily Sufi[423]—from around the Muslim world signed an open letter to the Islamic State’s leader al-Baghdadi, explicitly rejecting and refuting his group’s interpretations of Islamic scriptures, the Qur’an and hadith, used by it to justify its actions.[392][424] “[You] have misinterpreted Islam into a religion of harshness, brutality, torture and murder … this is a great wrong and an offence to Islam, to Muslims and to the entire world”, the letter states.[391] It rebukes the Islamic State for its killing of prisoners, describing the killings as “heinous war crimes” and its persecution of the Yazidis of Iraq as “abominable”. Referring to the “self-described ‘Islamic State'”, the letter censures the group for carrying out killings and acts of brutality under the guise of jihad—holy struggle—saying that its “sacrifice” without legitimate cause, goals and intention “is not jihad at all, but rather, warmongering and criminality”.[391][425] It also accuses the group of instigating fitna—sedition—by instituting slavery under its rule in contravention of the anti-slavery consensus of the Islamic scholarly community.[391] Other scholars have described the group as not Sunnis, but Khawarij.[419]

 Kurdish demonstration against ISIL in Vienna, Austria, 10 October 2014

According to The New York Times, “All of the most influential jihadist theorists are criticizing the Islamic State as deviant, calling its self-proclaimed caliphate null and void” and have denounced it for its beheading of journalists and aid workers.[12] ISIL is widely denounced by a broad range of Islamic clerics, including al-Qaeda-oriented and Saudi clerics.[11][12]

Sunni critics, including Salafi and jihadist muftis such as Adnan al-Aroor and Abu Basir al-Tartusi, say that ISIL and related terrorist groups are not Sunnis, but modern-day Khawarij—Muslims who have stepped outside the mainstream of Islam—serving an imperial anti-Islamic agenda.[426][427] Other critics of ISIL’s brand of Sunni Islam include Salafists who previously publicly supported jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda, for example the Saudi government official Saleh Al-Fawzan, known for his extremist views, who claims that ISIL is a creation of “Zionists, Crusaders and Safavids”, and the Jordanian-Palestinian writer Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, the former spiritual mentor to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was released from prison in Jordan in June 2014 and accused ISIL of driving a wedge between Muslims.[427]

The group’s declaration of a caliphate has been criticised and its legitimacy disputed by Middle Eastern governments, other jihadist groups,[428] and Sunni Muslim theologians and historians. Qatar-based TV broadcaster and theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi stated: “[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”, adding that the title of caliph can “only be given by the entire Muslim nation”, not by a single group.[429] The group’s execution of Muslims for breach of traditional sharia law while violating it itself (encouraging women to emigrate to its territory, traveling without a Wali—male guardian—and in violation of his wishes) has been criticized;[430] as has its love of archaic imagery (horsemen and swords) while engaging in bid‘ah (religious innovation) in establishing female religious police (known as Al-Khansaa Brigade).[431]

Two days after the beheading of Hervé Gourdel, hundreds of Muslims gathered in the Grand Mosque of Paris to show solidarity against the beheading. The protest was led by the leader of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, Dalil Boubakeur, and was joined by thousands of other Muslims around the country under the slogan “Not in my name”.[432][433] French president François Hollande said Gourdel’s beheading was “cowardly” and “cruel”, and confirmed that airstrikes would continue against ISIL in Iraq. Hollande also called for three days of national mourning, with flags flown at half-mast throughout the country and said that security would be increased throughout Paris.[432]

An Islamic Front Sharia Court Judge in Aleppo Mohamed Najeeb Bannan stated “The legal reference is the Islamic Sharia. The cases are different, from robberies to drug use, to moral crimes. It’s our duty to look at any crime that comes to us. . . After the regime has fallen, we believe that the Muslim majority in Syria will ask for an Islamic state. Of course, it’s very important to point out that some say the Islamic Sharia will cut off people’s hands and heads, but it only applies to criminals. And to start off by killing, crucifying etc. That is not correct at all.” In response to being asked what the difference between the Islamic Front’s and ISIL’s version of sharia would be, he said “One of their mistakes is before the regime has fallen, and before they’ve established what in Sharia is called Tamkeen [having a stable state], they started applying Sharia, thinking God gave them permission to control the land and establish a Caliphate. This goes against the beliefs of religious scholars around the world. This is what [IS] did wrong. This is going to cause a lot of trouble. Anyone who opposes [IS] will be considered against Sharia and will be severely punished.”[434][435]

Al-Qaeda & Al-Nusra have been trying to take advantage of ISIL’s rise by trying to present itself as “moderate” compared to “extremist” ISIL while it has the same aim of establishing sharia and a caliphate but doing it in a more gradual manner.[436][437][438][439][440] Al-Nusra criticized the way ISIL fully and immediately instituted Sharia since it alienated people too much, with a gradual, slower approach favored by Al-Qaeda by preparing society to accept it and indoctrinating people through education before implementing the hudud aspects of Sharia like tossing gays off buildings, chopping limbs off, and public stoning .[168] Nusra and ISIL are both against the Druze, the difference being the that Nusra is apparently satisfied with destroying Druze shrines and making them become Sunnis while ISIL wants to violently annihilate them like it did to Yazidis.[441]

Ayman al-Zawahiri called for the use of consultation (shura) within the “prophetic method” to be used when establishing the caliphate, criticizing Baghdadi for not following the required steps, Zawahiri called upon ISIL members to close ranks and join Al-Qaeda to fight against Assad, Shia, Russia, Europe, and America and stop the infighting between jihadist groups, calling for jihadists to establish Islamic entities in Egypt and the Levant, slowly implementing Sharia before establishing a caliphate and calling for violent assaults against America and the West.[442]

 Great Pyramid of Giza lit up by images of the flags of France, Lebanon and Russia in solidarity with victims of recent terrorist attacks, 16 November 2015

The Jaysh al-Islam group within the Islamic Front criticized ISIL, saying: “They killed the people of Islam and leave the idol worshippers” and “They use the verses talking about the disbelievers and implement it on the Muslims”.[443] The main criticism of defectors from ISIL has been that the group is fighting and killing other Sunni Muslims,[444] as opposed to just non-Sunnis being brutalized.[445][446] Some defectors from ISIL are in fact spies and operatives who continue working for ISIL and faking their defections.[447]

The current Grand Imam of al-Azhar and former president of al-Azhar University, Ahmed el-Tayeb has strongly condemned the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant stating that is acting “under the guise of this holy religion and have given themselves the name ‘Islamic State’ in an attempt to export their false Islam”[448][449] and (citing the Quran) that: “The punishment for those who wage war against God and his Prophet and who strive to sow corruption on earth is death, crucifixion, the severing of hands and feet on opposite sides or banishment from the land. This is the disgrace for them in this world and in the hereafter they will receive grievous torment.” Although El-Tayeb has been criticized for not expressly stating that the Islamic State was heretical,[450][451] the Ash’ari school of Islamic theology – to which El-Tayeb belongs – does not allow calling a person who follows the shahada an apostate.[450] El-Tayeb has strongly come out against the practice of takfirism (declaring a Muslim an apostate) which is used by the Islamic State to “judge and accuse anyone who doesn’t tow their line with apostasy and outside the realm of the faith” declaring “Jihad on peaceful Muslims” using “flawed interpretations of some Qur’anic texts, the prophet’s Sunna, and the Imams’ views believing incorrectly, that they are leaders of Muslim armies fighting infidel peoples, in unbelieving lands.”[452]

Mehdi Hasan, a political journalist in the UK, said in the New Statesman,

Whether Sunni or Shia, Salafi or Sufi, conservative or liberal, Muslims – and Muslim leaders – have almost unanimously condemned and denounced ISIL not merely as un-Islamic but actively anti-Islamic.[453]

Hassan Hassan, an analyst at the Delma Institute, wrote in The Guardian that because the Islamic State “bases its teachings on religious texts that mainstream Muslim clerics do not want to deal with head on, new recruits leave the camp feeling that they have stumbled on the true message of Islam”.[181] In mid-February 2015, Graeme Wood, a lecturer in political science at Yale University, said in The Atlantic, “The religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.”[189]

International criticism

The group has attracted widespread criticism internationally for its extremism, from governments and international bodies such as the United Nations and Amnesty International. On 24 September 2014, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stated: “As Muslim leaders around the world have said, groups like ISIL – or Da’ish – have nothing to do with Islam, and they certainly do not represent a state. They should more fittingly be called the ‘Un-Islamic Non-State’.”[454] The group was described as a cult in a Huffington Post column by notable cult authority Steven Hassan.[455]

Criticism of the name “Islamic State” and “caliphate” declaration

The group’s declaration of a new caliphate in June 2014 and adoption of the name “Islamic State” have been criticised and ridiculed by Muslim scholars and rival Islamists both inside and outside the territory it controls.[66][67][68][456] In a speech in September 2014, President Obama said that ISIL is not “Islamic” on the basis that no religion condones the killing of innocents and that no government recognises the group as a state,[72] while many object to using the name “Islamic State” owing to the far-reaching religious and political claims to authority which that name implies. The United Nations Security Council, the United States, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Russia, the United Kingdom[69][70][71][72][457][458][459] and other countries generally call the group “ISIL”, while much of the Arab world uses the Arabic acronym “Dāʻish”. France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said “This is a terrorist group and not a state. I do not recommend using the term Islamic State because it blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims, and Islamists. The Arabs call it ‘Daesh’ and I will be calling them the ‘Daesh cutthroats.'”[460] Retired general John Allen, the U.S. envoy appointed to co-ordinate the coalition, U.S. military Lieutenant General James Terry, head of operations against the group, and Secretary of State John Kerry had all shifted toward use of the term DAESH by December 2014.[461]

 Battle of Kobani

In late August 2014, a leading Islamic educational institution, Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah in Egypt, advised Muslims to stop calling the group “Islamic State” and instead refer to it as “Al-Qaeda Separatists in Iraq and Syria” or “QSIS”, because of the militant group’s “un-Islamic character”.[462]