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Head of Syrian Jihadists: We Support an Islamic Caliphate

The leader of the jihadist Al-Nusra Front has declared that his group is in favor of establishing an Islamic caliphate in Syria.
By Dalit Halevi & Elad Benari
First Publish: 7/23/2013, 6:12 AM

Syrian supporters of the Al-Nusra group
Syrian supporters of the Al-Nusra group
AFP photo

The leader of the jihadist Syrian rebel group Jabhat Al-Nusra (Al-Nusra Front) has declared that his group is in favor of establishing an Islamic caliphate in civil war torn Syria.

In an audio recorded that has been disseminated over the past several days, Abu Mohammad al-Julani stresses that he strongly opposes parliamentary elections or any political settlement in the country which would be achieved through international intervention.

"Being Muslims, we do not believe in political parties or parliamentary elections, but rather in an Islamic regime based on the Shura (advisory council) and which implements justice ... Our heading towards the establishment of Islamic law (Sharia) is jihad in Allah's way," Julani says in the recording.

Al-Nusra Front several months ago pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri and has been blacklisted by the United States and the United Nations as a terrorist again.

In the recording, Julani is unfazed by his organization being blacklisted and, in fact, says he is proud to be blacklisted by the U.S.

Julani attacked the Hizbullah terror group which is assisting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in fighting the Syrian rebels, saying, "We thank Allah for the stupidity of the leader of this organization (Nasrallah) who revealed the organization's disguised hatred against Sunni Muslims."

Al-Nusra Front is part of the 13-member Islamic Front for the Liberation of Syria, which split off from the Syrian National Council opposition force. The front declared the northern commercial hub city of Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state already months ago.

However, a senior figure in the Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) told the A-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper this week that the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization is set to officially announce an independent Islamic state in northern Syria.

Members of Al-Nusra and other jihadist Syrian rebels groups have committed atrocities during the Syrian civil war, including publicly beheading a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Assad’s regime.