For immediate release | Monday, May 6, 2019

ISIS Leader and Former Muslim Brotherhood Member Appears for the First Time in Five Years

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Media at CEP

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is featured in newly released ISIS propaganda video 

(New York, N.Y.) – ISIS released its latest propaganda video last week, featuring ISIS leader and former Muslim Brotherhood member Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In the video, Baghdadi attempts to rally his followers while mentioning recent events to prove he is still alive and maintains authority over ISIS. Baghdadi’s jihadist ideology can be traced back to his days in the Muslim Brotherhood while a student in Iraq, which led him down a path of violent jihadism with al-Qaeda and then ISIS.

In its report, The Muslim Brotherhood’s Ties to ISIS and al-Qaeda, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) details the core beliefs, the shared goals and the frequent examples of cooperation among the three groups. Like Baghdadi, al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden, and Ayman al-Zawahiri began their jihadist careers in the Brotherhood and were followers of early Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb. While they can differ in their public facing strategies, the Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, and ISIS are ultimately bound together by ideology and their vision for a global caliphate governed by Islamic law.

Following Baghdadi’s April 29 video release, his first in five years, The Sun published a profile of the ISIS leader. The story detailed his rise from a shy Iraqi boy to the world’s most wanted man and referenced the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence on his life.

To explore the CEP report, The Muslim Brotherhood’s Ties to ISIS and Al-Qaeda, please click here.