ISIS Leader Mocked for Wearing Expensive Wristwatch in First Public Appearance

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 6 2014 6:44 PM

ISIS Leader Mocked for Wearing Expensive Wristwatch in First Public Appearance

caliph
A man purporting to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has made what would be his first video

Screengrab from video

Iraq is still working to figure out the authenticity of a video that purportedly shows Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed leader of the “caliphate” on Iraq and Syrian territory, delivering a sermon in Mosul on Friday. But for now, the man who describes himself as “Caliph Ibrahim” has caused some confusion by wearing an expensive wristwatch. “His choice of accessory, which is believed to be either a Rolex, Sekonda or £3,500 Omega seamaster, has been highlighted as jarring with the content of his controversial speech,” writes the Telegraph’s Oliver Duggan.

If real, it would mark the first video Baghdadi has made and would “signal a brazen challenge to Iraq’s government,” particularly considering he has a $10 million bounty on his head, notes Bloomberg. In the 21-minute address, Baghdadi calls on Muslims to create an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria and wage jihad during Ramadan while emphasizing the need for a strict interpretation of Islamic law. "It is a burden to accept this responsibility to be in charge of you," he adds. "I am not better than you or more virtuous than you. If you see me on the right path, help me. If you see me on the wrong path, advise me and halt me. And obey me as far as I obey God."

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The Iraqi military said on Sunday it is still analyzing the video to determine whether the man speaking is, in fact, Baghdadi. But a senior Iraqi intelligence official told the Associated Press that an initial analysis of the video appears to suggest it is authentic.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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