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  • Writer's pictureDavid L. Thompson

Abu Ishaaq al-Madani - Who Did I Have In Mind When I Created This Character? Here's the Answer:

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Abu Ishaaq al-Madani was introduced in Smoke Over Baghdad, the second book in the Caliphate Trilogy. His persona is dark, violent and sadistic. While al-Madani is a muslim cleric, his behavior is certainly not that of a religious man.

The person I had in mind when I developed the character of al-Madani was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a man who dressed completely in black, sported a long black beard and sold himself to his followers as a muslim cleric. In last week's post, I mentioned that al-Madani is dressed in black and has a long black beard. This is how I linked him to al-Baghdadi.

Who was al-Baghdadi? I use the past tense because al-Baghdadi was hunted down by American forces and just before being captured, killed himself by detonating a suicide vest (October 2019). He was hunted by the US because of his position - he was the Caliph of the Islamic State (ISIS). He was notorious for his brutality as described in the following example:

"Baghdadi would become directly involved in atrocities and human rights violations. These include the genocide of Yazidis in Iraq, extensive sexual slavery, organized rape, floggings, and systematic executions. He directed terrorist activities and massacres. He embraced brutality as part of the organization's propaganda efforts, producing videos displaying sexual slavery and executions via hacking, stoning, and burning. Baghdadi himself was a serial rapist who kept several personal sex slaves."

Whoever reads Smoke Over Baghdad after reading this blog will hopefully understand why Abu Ishaaq al-Madani behaves the way he does. For example:

"When the elevator arrived and the doors opened, Alexandra saw the handiwork of Abu Ishaaq al-Madani. Apparently, he wasn't concerned over keeping the mess to a minimum.

Amon's naked and headless body was splayed out across the floor of the elevator. His belly had been slit open and his slashed intestines had spilled their contents. The stench was horrific."

Alexandra, the person mentioned in the above passage, is one of my very favorite characters in the trilogy - a woman who was more than a match for al-Madani. Perhaps I will write more about her in a future blog post.

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