Was there a softer side to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

Lots of the obituaries of the ISIS tyrant seem to think so…


Topics Politics USA World

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State, was confirmed dead at the weekend. When US forces found him, Baghdadi killed himself and his three children by detonating a suicide vest.

Baghdadi and his caliphate were responsible for countless atrocities: mass murder across the globe and the attempted genocide, mass rape and torture of minorities and dissenters in the Middle East.

But some obituaries have pointed to another side of Baghdadi.

A Washington Post headline first (rightly) described him as ‘Islamic State’s terrorist-in-chief’. This was then changed to the rather more flattering ‘austere religious scholar’.

The Times drew attention to Baghdadi’s sporting prowess and studiousness, describing him as a ‘promising young footballer and student of the Koran’.

Bloomberg told a rags-to-riches story of ‘a little-known teacher of Koranic recitation’ who transformed himself into the ‘self-proclaimed ruler of an entity that covered swaths of Syria and Iraq’.

Do we really live in a world of such moral uncertainty that we can’t even say the leader of ISIS was unequivocally evil?

Picture by: Thierry Ehrmann, published under a creative commons licence

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William Murphy

31st October 2019 at 5:49 pm

This is certainly not the first time that a mass murderer has been acclaimed by people who were living in freedom and not under the slightest pressure to sing his praises. George Orwell noted that a tyrant was all the more admired if he happened to be a bloodstained crook as well. I’ll skip the diplomatically required shite, such as de Valera offering his condolences to the German Ambassador in Dublin after Adolf’s demise.


I recall the eulogies paid to Chairman Mao after his death in 1976. As one writer at the time said, the only compliment which was not paid was the traditional Irish one: “Doesn’t he make a lovely corpse!”. One writer paid tribute to Mao’s excellent calligraphy. Good to see that the NY Times has backed down on earlier compliments:


nick hunt

29th October 2019 at 3:36 pm

Many leftists are desperately trying to turn Trump’s huge achievement into a negative, not realising how painfully obvious it is to any non-leftist that they fear and hate Trump much more than they fear a mass-murdering, genocidal Islamist leader who threatened the world. They particularly dislike Trump’s use of the terms ‘dog, and ‘coward’, which they say make him sound like the terrorists. But the two terms are known to be the most insulting possible to Arab fighters, which surely makes them the most appropriate choice. Wanting to be polite about mass murdering tyrants like Baghdadi or Hitler is obviously irrational or even insane. But there’s more: Trump is the master troll and very stable genius who knows exactly how to make leftists reveal their bigotry and derangement. He also knows that Christian, Western culture is fighting for its future against both radical Islamification and radical leftism, that we are in a war both physical and cultural against the two great Prophets of resentment, hate and control: Mohammmed and Karl.

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