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Most Muslims Don't Care About the Isis Caliphate

Author: Ed Husain, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
July 3, 2014


I am sorry to spoil the party, but the caliphate fantasy being peddled by Isis in Iraq and Syria is not of importance to most Muslims around the world. When I read western newspapers, I sense an urgency and significance that is out of sync with reality.

Isis may take pride in its ragtag army, commanding what it calls a caliphate, but no Muslim scholar worth his salt has supported this entity. Even Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, a major Jihadi cleric, has rejected the group's experiment. No Muslim government has recognised it.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (now calling himself "Caliph Ibrahim") this week invited Muslims to migrate to his war zone, a call given prominent coverage by most Western news outlets, but the fact that most Muslims ignored his invitation went unnoticed. He called for doctors and engineers to build the caliphate, but not a single Muslim country has seen a mass exodus of people keen to live under his version of sharia.

This is the month of Ramadan when Muslims fast from dawn till dusk. While the Western media fervently pursues the story, at iftar – the breaking of the fast – from Morocco to Indonesia, Muslims are discussing other things. Take a glance at newspaper headlines in the Muslim world and you will see a different set of priorities. In Turkey, they are debating their forthcoming presidential elections, in Kenya parliamentary corruption and in Bangladesh the deportation from India of a renowned criminal.

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