WaPo Describes Dead al-Baghdadi as ‘Austere Religious Scholar’

Obituary describes evil head of ISIS as ‘canny’ pragmatist…

(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) After President Trump announced U.S. special forces had taken out Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, an ISIS leader known for religious extremism and violence, including murder and rape, the Washington Post ran an article describing Baghdadi as an “austere religious scholar.”

The Post’s original story described Baghdadi as the “Islamic State’s terrorist-in-Chief.” But shortly after the story went live, the Post corrected its headline to read, “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at half of Islamic State, dies at 48.”


“The man who would become the founding leader of the world’s most brutal terrorist group spent his early adult years as an obscure academic, aiming for a quiet life as a professor of Islamic law,” the Post wrote in its obituary. “Despite [ISIS’s] extremist views and vicious tactics, Baghdadi maintained a canny pragmatism as leader.”

After facing severe backlash online, the Post once again changed its headline to read, “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, extremist leader of Islamic State, dies at 48.”

A spokesperson for the paper, Kristine Coratti Kelly, said the headline “should never have read that way and we changed it quickly.”

But critics were quick to point out that the Post was likely motivated by its anti-Trump sentiments.

Coratti contended that critics are focusing on the wrong thing.

Post correspondents have spent years in Iraq and Syria documenting ISIS savagery, often at great personal risk. Unfortunately, a headline written in haste to portray the origins of al-Baghdadi and ISIS didn’t communicate that brutality. The headline was promptly changed,” she said.