WorldViews: The new Islamic caliphate and its war against history

By Ishaan Tharoor, June 30, 2014

ISIS, the Sunni jihadist group whose fighters now control a vast swath of territory in Syria and Iraq, punctuated its astonishing rise last weekend with the declaration of an Islamic state, a new "caliphate" to which Muslims everywhere must pay obeisance. "Here the flag of the Islamic State, the flag of tawhīd (monotheism), rises and flutters," read the group's statement, posted online in various languages. "Its shade covers land from Aleppo to Diyala," referring to territory in Syria's north and Iraq's east.

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