Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the man purported to be the top leader of the self-claimed "Islamic State, " made his first public appearance at a mosque in Iraq's northern city of Mosul, according to a video clip posted on the Internet on Saturday.
The video appearance came a few days after the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), an al-Qaida breakaway group, proclaimed the establishment of a "caliphate" straddling Syria and Iraq, crowned its leader Baghdadi as the "caliph," and changed its name into the "Islamic State(IS)."
"I became your leader, though I am not the best of you, so if you see me right, assist me. If you see me wrong, advise me and put me on the right path, and obey me as long as I obey God with you," al-Baghdadi said during the Friday weekly prayer, according to the video.
However, the authenticity of the 21-minute long video could not be verified immediately.
The IS demanded allegiance from all Muslims worldwide, said the militant group spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani in an on-line video clip released late last month.
The title of caliph means the successor of Prophet Mohammed, founder of the Islam religion, while the caliphate is an attempt to revive the system of Islamic religious ruling which ended about 100 years ago with the fall of the Ottoman Empire during the World War I.
The hasty declaration of the founding of the "caliphate" is expected to trigger a wave of infighting among the Sunni militant groups, which formed a loose alliance in the blitzkrieg in the Sunni-dominated provinces in Iraq.