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Though al-Qaeda has publicly disowned, and attempted to disassociate itself from Islamic State, there is little doubt that the latter is its offspring. In addition they both share the same aim; total global domination by (Sunni) Islam. They also show a preference for the same method; extreme violence. It’s only by the degree of heartlessness that al-Qaeda claims they differ.

One has to wonder how anything that Islamic State has done is worse than what happened in New York on September 11th 2001.

Islamic State (IS), also known by the Arabic acronym Daʿesh, was founded in 1999 by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi under the name Jamāʻat al-Tawḥīd wa-al-Jihād, (“The Organization of Monotheism and Jihad”) (JTJ).

In October 2004, al-Zarqawi swore loyalty to Osama bin Laden and changed the name of the group to Tanẓīm Qāʻidat al-Jihād fī Bilād al-Rāfidayn, (“The Organization of Jihad’s Base in the Country of the Two Rivers”) or (“The Organization of Jihad’s Base in Mesopotamia”), more commonly known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). Although the group has never called itself Al-Qaeda in Iraq, this name has frequently been used for it through its various incarnations, as Jamāʻat al-Tawḥīd wa-al-Jihād, Tanẓīm Qāʻidat al-Jihād fī Bilād al-Rāfidayn. In January 2006, AQI merged with several other Iraqi insurgent groups to form the Mujahideen Shura Council.

Al-Zarqawi was killed in June 2006, after which the group’s direction shifted again. On 12 October 2006, the Mujahideen Shura Council merged with several more insurgent factions, and on 13 October the establishment of the Dawlat al-ʻIraq al-Islāmīyah, (“Islamic State of Iraq”) (ISI), was announced. A cabinet was formed and Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi became ISI‘s figurehead emir, with the real power residing with the Egyptian Abu Ayyub al-Masri.

Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri were both killed in a US–Iraqi operation in April 2010, and the next leader of the ISI was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the current leader of ISIS. On 8th April 2013, having expanded into Syria, the group adopted the name al-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah fī al-ʻIrāq wa-al-Shām, (“Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”)(ISIL), or (“Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.”)(ISIS). The final word, al-Sham, means the Levant or Greater Syria.

On 29 June 2014, the establishment of a new caliphate was announced, and the group formally changed its name to al-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah (“the Islamic State”) (IS). In its self-proclaimed status as a caliphate, it claims religious authority over all Muslims across the world and aims to bring most of the Muslim-inhabited regions of the world under its political control beginning with territory in the Levant region which includes Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus and part of southern Turkey.

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