File - Militant Islamist fighters gesture as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer
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The surprise declaration of a "caliphate" by jihadists accused of committing atrocities in Syria and Iraq has provoked an outcry even among Islamists who dream of a state under Shariah.The caliphate was abolished nearly 100 years ago, although many Arabs and Muslims still associate it with a golden age.But this week's announcement of a caliphate by the radical Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) group, which has been denounced by the central Al-Qaeda organization, appears to only appeal to fanatics.ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's designation as "caliph," or leader of all Muslims, and successor to the Prophet Mohammad, has shocked most Muslims, even jihadists, who have rejected the idea outright.Sunday's announcement by ISIS comes amid a major offensive it is spearheading in Iraq, capturing large swathes of territory from government hands.Islamist rebels in Syria, who are fighting both ISIS and President Bashar Assad's regime, have branded the caliphate announcement as "null and void". The caliphate lasted 14 centuries until it was abolished by Turkish ruler Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1924 .
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