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Abu Mohamed al-Jolani, head of the al-Nusra Front, the Syrian affiliate of Bin Laden’s al Qaeda, spoke to Al Jazeera. For him, the Islamic State group “announced a caliphate, but the scholars rejected it as illegitimate. It is not based on Islamic law”.
Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Islamic State (IS) group “announced a caliphate, but the scholars rejected it as illegitimate. It is not based on Islamic law,” said Abu Mohamed al-Jolani, head of al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate al-Nusra Front.
The rivalry between the two groups deepened after IS declared a caliphate spanning across Syria and Iraq in June 2014. For Jolani, IS has de facto abandoned the fight against the Assad regime. “There is no indication of a solution between us and them at this time. We hope that they repent and return to the Sunni people,” he said, adding that the rivalry had allowed the Syrian regime “to flourish.”
Still, he refused to call IS fighters “infidels” – a term usually referring to non-Muslims – but instead said they had strayed from the path of Islam. “They did not commit to the orders we had . . . including not blowing up markets or killing people in mosques,” he said.
Jolani also criticised IS for not “being serious in fighting the regime” of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He rejected political solutions to Syria’s four-year war, saying an end to the crisis could only come through “jihad”, or holy war. “Our mission in Syria is the downfall of the regime, its symbols, and its allies, like Hezbollah,” Jolani said, referring to the powerful Shia movement fighting alongside the Bashar al-Assad regime.