WASHINGTON – Islamic State jihadists not only have designs on Saudi Arabia, Israel and Rome for their caliphate but also on Spain and other lands Muslims occupied from A.D. 622 to 1492.
In a newly released video in Arabic, Islamic State jihadists vowed to “conquer Israel, Rome and Spain.” IS would redraw boundaries of countries, separate Shia and Sunni Muslims, and subject everyone to extreme Islamic law, or Shariah.
Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri also has called for restoring to Muslim rule the Iberian Peninsula, referring to as Al-Andalus, as it was known in the eighth century.
“O our Muslim Umma (community) in the Maghreb of ribat and jihad (land of resistance and holy war): restoring Al-Andalus (Spain) is a trust on the shoulders of the Ummah in general and on your shoulders in particular,” Zawahiri said in 2007.
He also called for the “cleansing” of the “sons of Spain and France” in North Africa, which includes the Maghreb. Today, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, is waging its jihad there.
“Restoring al-Andalus is a trust on the shoulders of the nation in general and on your shoulders in particular, and you will not be able to do that without first cleansing the Muslim Maghreb of the children of France and Spain, who have come back again after your fathers and grandfathers sacrificed their blood cheaply in the path of God to expel them,” Zawahiri said.
AQIM has just announced in its social media that it doesn’t intend to join Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Islamic State and instead will continue owing its allegiance to Zawahiri.
AQIM said it doesn’t agree that the Islamic State, which last month declared the creation of a caliphate on captured lands in Syria and Iraq, represents all Muslims.
The Islamic State, previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Greater Syria), is an offshoot of al-Qaida, but Baghdadi had a falling out with Zawahiri, who disagreed with Baghdadi bringing in other al-Qaida affiliated groups such as al-Nusra under its wing in Syria.
Zawahiri also objected to Baghdadi’s extreme brutality, which the al-Qaida leader said was hurting recruitment of fighters for jihad and establishment of a caliphate. Al-Qaida and the Islamic State agree on creating a caliphate but disagree on who should lead it.
The areas of Muslim occupation represent the cumulative territories captured by Islamic conquests from A.D. 622 to 750.
The expansion occurred during three periods between 622 and 750, with initial expansion occurring under Muhammad from 622 to 632 that encompassed the Arabian Peninsula of modern-day Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman.
That conquest was followed by the Rashidun Caliphate from A.D. 632 to 661, which took in the areas of modern-day Egypt, including the Sinai Peninsula, Libya and all of the Levant, which took in present-day Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan.
The other expansion occurred during the Umayyad Caliphate from A.D. 661 to 750, which encompassed all of the Maghreb and Mesopotamia, or modern-day Iraq, Iran and portions of Turkey.
Until 1031, the Umayyad dynasty ruled over Al-Andalus, which had become an integral province of the caliphate, which ruled from Damascus.
There were subsequent caliphates, including Abbasid and Fatimid, but it generally was on land initially taken from A.D. 622 to 750.
Then came the Ottoman Empire, which ruled from 1453 to 1922, when it broke up and was substituted by implementation of the secret 1916 Sykes-Picot Treaty between the British and French.
The treaty created the current countries of the Middle East, which exacerbated Sunni-Shiite hostilities that continue to this day.
It is borders created by this treaty that Baghdadi’s Islamic State wants to eliminate to create his own caliphate for all Muslims. Any Muslims who don’t accept the IS caliphate would be declared apostate and killed.