The learned Post informs us that “exactly what ‘Rome’ means to the Islamic State is unclear.” I’m just an ignorant greasy Islamophobe and all that, but I’ll break it this way to Adam Taylor and his “experts”: most likely when the Islamic State says “Rome,” it means “Rome,” which has been a gleam in the eye of the jihadists since, oh, around the ninth century.
Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the most prominent and renowned imam in the world, in writing about “signs of the victory of Islam,” referred to a hadith: “The Prophet Muhammad was asked: ‘What city will be conquered first, Constantinople or Romiyya?’ He answered: ‘The city of Hirqil [i.e. the Byzantine emperor Heraclius] will be conquered first’ – that is, Constantinople” — Romiyya is the city called today ‘Rome,’ the capital of Italy. The city of Hirqil [that is, Constantinople] was conquered by the young 23-year-old Ottoman Muhammad bin Morad, known in history as Muhammad the Conqueror, in 1453. The other city, Romiyya, remains, and we hope and believe [that it too will be conquered]. This means that Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor, after being expelled from it twice – once from the South, from Andalusia, and a second time from the East, when it knocked several times on the door of Athens.”
Qaradawi is referring to a hadith that was probably composed in the ninth century and put in Muhammad’s mouth (actually, that’s true of all the hadith).
Anyway, this is a live issue for jihadists: Hamas MP and Islamic cleric Yunis Al-Astal said this on Al-Aqsa TV, on April 11, 2008: “Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our Prophet Muhammad.” Sheik Ali Al-Faqir, former Jordanian minister of religious endowment, said this, also on Al-Aqsa TV, on May 2, 2008: “We proclaim that we will conquer Rome, like Constantinople was conquered once…” And last May a Kosovar Muslim in Iraq said: “We shall conquer Jerusalem from you, oh Jews! We shall conquer Rome and Andalusia, Allah willing.”
“The Islamic State threatens to come to Rome; Italians respond with travel advice,” by Adam Taylor, Washington Post, February 20, 2015:
In a recently released video that showed the killing of 21 Christians in Libya, all but one of them Egyptian, the Islamic State issued an ominous warning: “Today we are south of Rome,” one masked militant said. “We will conquer Rome with Allah’s permission.”
To make matters worse, Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence Group, pointed out that supporters of the Islamic State have begun using a hashtag to warn of their plan to reach “Rome.”
With warnings about the traffic….