“Caliphate” had suspenseful moments, a moody rating and a pair of likable hosts in Ms. Callimachi, the winner of main journalism awards for her reporting on terrorism and Islamic extremism, and Andy Mills, an audio producer and reporter. The collection was the brainchild of Lisa Tobin, the chief producer of Occasions audio; Sam Dolnick, an assistant managing editor; and Mr. Mills, based on two folks with information of the podcast.
The primary installment got here out on April 19, 2018, as a part of an episode of The Every day. The primary phrases of “Caliphate” have been an change between Ms. Callimachi and Mr. Chaudhry taken from a 2016 interview recorded in Canada.
“How does ISIS put together you to kill folks?” Ms. Callimachi requested.
Mr. Chaudhry, who mentioned he had assumed the identify Abu Huzayfah as a member of the Islamic State, replied haltingly, saying, “We had dolls to follow on.” In later installments, he mentioned he had taken half in lashings, in addition to the killings of two folks, describing the executions in grisly element.
His obvious confession created a firestorm in Canada. Politicians requested why a supposed Islamic State executioner was dwelling quietly throughout the nation’s borders. Upon his Sept. 25 arrest, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police charged Mr. Chaudhry underneath a regulation often utilized to individuals who make false terroristic threats.
The hoax cost forged doubt on “Caliphate,” however The Occasions was initially supportive. “The uncertainty about Abu Huzayfah’s story is central to each episode of ‘Caliphate’ that featured him,” a Occasions spokeswoman mentioned in a Sept. 26 assertion. Days later, The Occasions introduced that it could assessment the collection, which had been a well-liked and important success in 2018, hitting No. 1 on Apple’s checklist of most downloaded podcasts and later profitable an Abroad Press Membership prize and a Peabody Award. (By the tip of Friday, the Abroad Press Membership had rescinded its award, and The Occasions mentioned it had provided to return the Peabody, a suggestion that was accepted by the Peabody Awards’ govt director.)
There had been warning indicators throughout — and even earlier than — the months when “Caliphate” episodes got here out every Thursday. In a 2017 interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Company, Mr. Chaudhry gave an account of his time with the Islamic State that differed significantly from what he had instructed Ms. Callimachi. In that CBC interview, he mentioned he had “witnessed violence on a scale he may by no means have imagined,” however didn’t say he had taken half.
In one other interview, printed on the CBC web site on Might 11, 2018, Mr. Chaudhry recanted his confession. When requested why he had instructed The Occasions that he had participated in atrocities, he mentioned, “I used to be being infantile. I used to be describing what I noticed and, mainly, I used to be shut sufficient to suppose it was me.”