Baghdad residents dismiss Islamic "caliphate" as illusion
Monday, June 30, 2014 - 01:38
Baghdad residents have dismissed the announcement of a caliphate by an al Qaeda off shoot as a 'mere illusion'. Vanessa Johnston reports.
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Militants declared an Islamic caliphate over the weekend after seizing parts of Iraq and Syria.
They named their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as caliph of the Muslim world.
This video purports to show the group at a captured Iraqi border post on the Syrian border.
It was uploaded to a social media website Sunday and cannot be independently verified by Reuters.
An English-speaking fighter reaffirms their goal.
(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) SAFIYYA SAYING:
"There's no nationality. We are Muslims. There's only one country. Inshallah we will have only one Imam, only one caliph..."
But people on the streets of Baghdad Monday were not convinced.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BAGHDAD RESIDENT AMIR Al-SHIMMARI, SAYING:
"They are disillusioned. Iraq has many sects and ethnic groups, therefore, we, as Iraqis and as an Iraqi people, we reject this speech and we neither recognize the Islamic State of Iraq, nor the pledge of allegiance to the so-called Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi."
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BAGHDAD RESIDENT JAAFAR SAADI, SAYING:
"This is their dream, but they will never realize it and Iraq will remain for the Iraqis and there will be no more Sunnis and Shi'ites. We are all Iraqis."
Iraqi troops are ramping up operations as the al Qaeda splinter group, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, and its Sunni allies encroach on the capital.
The militants have already seized several cities during a three week drive for territory.
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