The Washington Post ran an obituary Sunday morning for ISIS leader and serial rapist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who killed himself and at least three of his own children Saturday night during a U.S. military raid.
The Post apparently struggled to find an appropriate headline for the article. At first, the headline described Baghdadi as the “Islamic State’s terrorist-in-chief,” but then changed the headline to describe him as an “austere religious scholar.”
They had it right the first time.
The Washington Post changed the headline on its Al-Baghdadi obituary from “Islamic State’s terrorist-in-Chief” to “austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State.” pic.twitter.com/cs243EVz7W
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 27, 2019
The headline was changed a third time Sunday afternoon after the outlet faced backlash for its lenient treatment of the terrorist.
“Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, extremist leader of Islamic state, dies at 48,” states the current headline.
The Post was criticized for seemingly romanticizing Baghdadi’s early life, saying he “maintained a canny pragmatism” and was remembered as a “shy, nearsighted youth who liked soccer but preferred to spend his free time at the local mosque.”
The article begins:
When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took the reins of the Islamic State of Iraq in 2010, few had heard of the organization or its new leader, then an austere religious scholar with wire-frame glasses and no known aptitude for fighting and killing.
But just four years later, Mr. Baghdadi had helped transform his failing movement into one of the most notorious, vicious and — for a time — successful terrorist groups of modern times. Under his guidance, it would burst into the public consciousness as the Islamic State, an organization that would seize control of entire cities in Iraq and Syria and become a byword for shocking brutality.
It’s not until the eighth paragraph that The Post reveals Baghdadi’s gruesome treatment of captives.
“His followers carried out mass crucifixions, turned women into sex slaves and gleefully executed prisoners by stoning, hacking or burning them alive—always with Mr. Baghdadi’s implicit blessing,” The Post writes.
And it’s not until the 41st paragraph that The Post writes about Baghdadi’s “personal sex slaves.”
“Later, former hostages would reveal that Mr. Baghdadi also kept a number of personal sex slaves during his years as the Islamic State’s leader, including American hostage Kayla Mueller, who was later killed, and a number of captured Yazidi women,” states the article.
Reports estimate that Baghdadi’s network of extremists murdered at least 2,043 people in more than 140 terrorist attacks in 30 different countries.
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