Saudi-backed Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, running unopposed as the only candidate for president, won the 2012 Yemeni elections. Since August 2014, the Houthis (or Ansar Allah), a Zaidi Shia movement and militant group thought to be backed by Iran, dissatisfied with Hadi government's decisions and the new constitution, arranged mass protests which culminated into their takeover of the Yemeni government in 2015, declaring victory of the revolution and drafting a new constitution when Hadi's provisional government had already expired its term. Saudi Arabia and other countries denounced this as an unconstitutional coup d'état.
Two days after the beheading of Hervé Gourdel, hundreds of Muslims gathered in the Grand Mosque of Paris to show solidarity against the beheading. The protest was led by the leader of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, Dalil Boubakeur, and was joined by thousands of other Muslims around the country under the slogan "Not in my name". French president François Hollande said Gourdel's beheading was "cowardly" and "cruel", and confirmed that airstrikes would continue against ISIL in Iraq. Hollande also called for three days of national mourning, with flags flown at half-mast throughout the country and said that security would be increased throughout Paris.More Info
In July 2014, al-Hayat began publishing a digital magazine called Dabiq, in a number of different languages including English. According to the magazine, its name is taken from the town of Dabiq in northern Syria, which is mentioned in a hadith about Armageddon. Al-Hayat also began publishing other digital magazines, including the Turkish language Konstantiniyye, the Ottoman word for Istanbul, and the French language Dar al-Islam. By late 2016, these magazines had apparently all been discontinued, with Al-Hayat's material being consolidated into a new magazine called Rumiyah (Arabic for Rome).More Info
Until 2016, women were generally confined to a "women's house" upon arrival which they were forbidden to leave. These houses were often small, dirty and infested with vermin and food supply was scarce. There they remained until they either had found a husband, or the husband they had arrived with had completed his training. After being allowed to leave the confinement, women still generally spent most of their days indoors where their lives are devoted to caring for their husbands and the vast majority of women in the conflict area have children. Mothers play an important role passing on ISIL ideology to their children. Widows are encouraged to remarry.More Info
Estimates of the size of ISIL's military have varied widely, from tens of thousands up to 200,000.In early 2015, journalist Mary Anne Weaver estimated that half of ISIL fighters were foreigners. A UN report estimated a total of 15,000 fighters from over 80 countries were in ISIL's ranks in November 2014. US intelligence estimated an increase to around 20,000 foreign fighters in February 2015, including 3,400 from the Western world. In September 2015, the CIA estimated that 30,000 foreign fighters had joined ISIL.More Info
ISIS has been excommunicated from Islam by a number of scholars. Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi enumerated in his book, Refuting ISIS, that their form of Kharijism has removed them from Islam and fighting them is a religious duty, stating: "ISIS' leaders are people of unbelief and misguidance, and Muslims should not be lured by their jihad or deceived by their propaganda, as their actions speak louder than their words." Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz, the former Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, also stated that Kharijites are not Muslims, saying: "the majority are of the opinion that they are disobedient and misguided innovators, though they do not deem them unbelievers. However, the correct opinion is that they are unbelievers."More Info
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