The statement also declares Abu Baker al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), as “caliph,” or the successor of the Prophet Mohammed. The group, currently fighting with Iraqi troops for control of the city of Tikrit, will now refer to itself as The Islamic State.
The announcement was made on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
It loosely describes the new state as running from northern Syria to the Iraqi province of Diyala, much of which is already under ISIS control.
The spokesman who issued the statement called on Muslims all over the world to pledge allegiance to al-Baghdadi.
The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organizations becomes null by the expansion of the caliph’s authority and the arrival of its troops to their areas. Listen to your caliph and obey him. Support your state, which grows every day.
The group also published a map outlining a five-year plan to expand their territory all throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. Spain, which was under Muslim rule for 700 years until 1492, is predicted to be under ISIS control by 2020.
The creation of a caliphate has been the goal of several Islamic groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda, but ISIS has come the closest to making it a reality.
“The time has come for those generations that were drowning in oceans of disgrace, being nursed on the milk of humiliation, and being ruled by the vilest of all people, after their long slumber in the darkness of neglect — the time has come for them to rise,” said the statement.
The caliphate will be governed by the same primitive justice that led to al-Qaeda’s disassociation with the group featuring beheadings, crucifixions and regular mass executions.
Anyone who swears loyalty to the caliphate would be declaring that he or she no longer recognizes the borders or laws of any other Muslin countries.
The announcement could spurn unrest from Sunni militants fighting for different political causes as well as al-Qaeda, which has subsequently had its reputation as the leading Islamic militant group destroyed.
Tikrit, the former hometown of fellow Sunni fundamentalist Saddam Hussein, is still technically under ISIS control but Iraqi troops accompanied by tanks and helicopters continue to storm the area.
ISIS also claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a hotel in Lebanon last Wednesday, killing one and injuring at least four.
Iraq has said that its most recent offensives to take back seized territories have been largely coordinated by the U.S. military strategists sent over earlier this month.