Washington Post changes al-Baghdadi obituary headline after calling ISIS leader 'austere religious scholar'

The Hill 1 month ago

The Washington Post changed the headline on its obituary for ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after initially calling him an “austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State.”

The Post changed its headline at least twice Sunday for the article, starting by describing al-Baghdadi as the “Islamic State’s terrorist-in-Chief.” The newspaper then adjusted the headline to call him an “austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State,” sparking some backlash on social media. 

The headline has now been updated to describe al-Baghdadi as an “extremist leader of Islamic State.”

The Washington Examiner called out the Post for referring to al-Baghdadi as an “austere scholar.” While the Examiner acknowledges the Post referenced al-Baghdadi led the terrorist organization with “shocking brutality,” the Examiner said the Post spent most of the obituary focused on his academic career rather than his role in ISIS.

“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 obituary reads.

Kristine Coratti Kelly, a spokesperson for The Post, tweeted that the headline “should never have read that way and we changed it quickly.”

confirmed al-Baghdadi’s death Sunday morning at a press conference, saying he died in a U.S. military raid in Syria. 

“The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him,” the president said during the conference.


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The Washington Post incited backlash after changing the headline to an obituary for ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was once the world’s most wanted man for overseeing the terrorist group’s wave of atrocities, from “terrorist-in-chief” to...
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