Archive for the ‘Jihadist Ideology’ category

How 6th Graders would see through decliner logic and Coalition Information Operations

January 26, 2018

The nature of the mobile-enabled swarmcast means it may appear to be degraded, but it has really only reconfigured. 

This observation made in 2014 was based on earlier studies of Jabhat al-Nusra, ISIS and the online activity of the wider Jihadist movement – produced at a time when some commentators already claimed ISIS capacity on social media had been ‘degraded’.

The ‘bluckling’ of the ISIS media system, much talked up by decliners at the end of 2017, and presented as “not just a media decline—it is a full-fledged collapse” will, in 2018, turn out to be to have been a lull as the swarmcast reconfigured, rather than signs of collapse. 

This post shows:

  • How 6th grader math class could explain what is wrong with the current decliner logic and their approaches to quantifying output.
  • Why decliners ignore 2016 – and why 2016 destroys the claim of a pseudo-correlation between content production and area controlled.
  • What about 2014? – how 2014 further disrupts decliner logic.
  • A thought experiment – what would decliner logic predict about the direction in volume of social media Global Coalition?

War by the numbers

Wars often turn on numbers, data, and the real-life experiences of the individuals represented by those numbers. The habitus of those interpretting information about the war also influences how it is understood. This includes the lived experience of target audiences in the physical world and virtual domains. As Douglas Rushkoff predicted, the battle for reality continues online.[i]

In this vein the Global Coalition information operations have long sought to present ISIS or Islamic State as being in ‘decline’ or weak. This has included tweeting images which question the ability of ISIS to produce media content and presenting this as a measure of their decline.


While the tactic is not new – it is currently recognised by ISIS and earlier versions were discussed in depth by Anwar al-Awlaki – there is risk in confusing wishful thinking, the Information War, and academic study.

For example, ISIS has launched a new magazine al-Anfal, now on the 7th issue and the newspaper al-Naba is now on issue 116. It is noteworthy that al-Anfal is vastly better known by those in an Arabic habitus than by English and faux-Arabic language commentators – for whom it has barely warranted a mention.[ii]

6th grade math class – A holiday anecdote

The holiday season is often a time when people encounter others with different perspectives and experience. A maths teacher I spoke with highlighted why, the even in an information war, accurate data work is important to avoid becoming transparent propaganda.


In response to hearing that claims of decline are often calculated by counting the pieces of content irrespective of type, content, or length, the maths teacher originally responded; “that’s just stupid”. He was ready to dismiss the premise that anyone would count an hour-long video, a newspaper, a speech from the leader, an infographic and a picture as if they are all the same.

His reasoning was persuasive, he said;

If I set five assignments, then ask two students to hand in their homework

  • Student A hands in two of the assignments each on a separate sheet of paper
  • Student B has done all five assignments in his book & hands in the book

Student A has not done twice as much work as Student B because they handed in two sheets while Student B only handed in one book. The maths teacher concluded, I’ve taught a number of 6th graders that would have a problem with that logic.

Anecdote aside, there is a problem trying to build credibility with an audience using an approach which infantilises the intended audience with an argument which 6th graders can see through. This is the 6th grader problem.

Despite the clear limitations in the data, (for example, previous research has proven ISIS weekly production exceeded the CTC estimate of monthly production. (New Netwar p. 38) ) some have claimed that “the destabilization of the Islamic State’s territorial strongholds is correlated to a decrease in the volume of media production”.[iii] The problems with this way of thinking are numerous, of which the two most prominent are;

  • There is no calculation of correlation in the published research, so it is an assumed pseudo-correlation which is not based on any demonstrable relationship in the data.
  • The apparent relationship between territory and production can only be maintained by cherry picking certain points in time – entirely ignoring 2016. In fact, the entire decliner ‘narrative’ relies on ignoring the fluctuations in content during 2016.

Research has already shown why the summer of 2015 is convenient to cherry pick as a start point if your goal is to claim decline. As discussed in depth elsewhere, picking a time which logic dictates is most likely to be an outlier can make for a nice soundbite for coalition propaganda, and may even sound smart in 20 seconds of air time, but does not work for an authentic understanding of the movement.

The root of the problem, as Reuven Paz noted in 2007,

Jihadi militancy is … almost entirely directed in Arabic and its content is intimately tied to the socio-political context of the Arab world.[iv]

People who live in that socio-political context, or habitus, easily pick up on the factors likely to play into the spike in content over the summer 2015.[v] This is because;

the habitus is itself a generative dynamic structure that adapts and accommodates itself to another dynamic mesolevel structure composed primarily of other actors, situated practices and durable institutions (fields).[vi]

And because habitus allowed Bourdieu;

to analyze the social agent as a physical, embodied actor, subject to developmental, cognitive and emotive constraints and affected by the very real physical and institutional configurations of the field.[vii]

While it is tempting to focus on Western interpretations of Jihadist content, particularly if you can only draw on faux-Arabic, the habitus of the intended audience has to be foremost when analysing the meaning of the content.[viii]


Why decliners ignore 2016

Most of the recent claims of decline, including those by the Global Coalition, pick 2015 as the start point, then jump over the awkward hurdle of 2016 and head straight for 2017. This allows them to get past the fluctuations in 2016 and present “huge and steady decrease”.

To understand how this works, first it is important to understand the 2015 ‘highpoint’, from one of the often-referenced studies about 2015.

Journalists writing about the 2015 ‘highpoint’ have claimed ISIS “was producing more than 200 videos, radio programmes, magazines and photo reports each week” resulting in “just under a thousand unique data points, ranging from radio bulletins and electronic magazines to videos and photographic essays”[ix]

Perhaps not immediately clear to the reader;

  • “Just under 1000 unique data points” is in reality 892. This makes the ‘highpoint’ sound 10% higher than the reality. 892 could be described as just under 900 … but it is just under 1,000 like I’m just under 8 feet tall.
  • Composition of the content is around 80% pictures (just under 700 of 892 data points).

Problem 1:

Even for the astute reader it can be hard to tell what is being counted. As best as can be ascertained from the terms ‘events’, ‘photo reports’, ‘photographs’ and ‘photos’ being used interchangeably, this is unlikely to be 700 photo-essays (one every hour for a month) as the description of “200 videos, radio programmes, magazines and photo reports each week” would require.

Alternatively, if one differentiates a photo report from a photo by assuming a minimum of two pictures, and the graph showing approximately 700 ‘photos’ accurately reflects the data, then 700 / 2 = 350 reports. ISIS photo reports regularly have more than two images, but this is just a theoretical minimum.


If the non-photos account for the remaining 200 pieces (approx.) of content, which recent articles suggest, and this is added to the maximum number of photo reports it would be around 550 pieces.[x]

This is still a lot, but would still eliminate the claim of “200 videos, radio programmes, magazines and photo reports each week”.  Let alone the claim made in September 2017 of “hundreds and hundreds of unique media products, videos, magazines, radio bulletins, in lots of different languages coming out every single day.”

Problem 2:

As noted in a previous post, just counting a photo, speech, and video as the same makes little sense;

“It should be needless to write, this audio-release [of ISIS leader’s speech] by al-Furqan is of much greater importance than a single image, or photo report – at least for IS sympathizers and operatives. Although currently we still find ourselves having to write it”.

How the 2015 data is compared to 2017 production is illustrative of the way the decliner narrative is constructed. Recent journalism around ISIS decline, (which has since been publicised by UK government on Twitter) has used some creative ways to display longitudinal data, which fall well short of what would be required to pass 6th grade math class.

Edward Tufte, has “set out a detailed analysis of how to display data for precise, effective, quick analysis” in his Visual Display of Quantitative Information. This includes demonstrating that inappropriate use of data can lead to an apparent, but entirely spurious, connection between the fortunes of the New York Stock Exchange and the level of Solar Radiation.

Contrary to the ideas set out by Edward Tufte, the chart featured in a recent wired article gives the impression of a steep, linear decline by evenly spacing the bars, even though the chronological space between data points varies significantly. Two of the time points are only a single month apart while the other gaps are 6 and 17 months respectively.[xi]


When the image is quickly resketched, so all months are represented equally – both months with and without data – the problems become evident.

  • First, the impression of sharp decline is reduced.
  • Second, what happened to 2016?

Why does recent decliner narrative rely on ignoring 2016 and compressing these 17 months in the graph? Was there nothing to report in 2016?

Genuinely longitudinal data, rather than cherry-picked points, show there is much more to the story than drawing an imaginary line across that 17-month gap and claiming correlation.[xii]


Data from February 2016 to March 2017 shows production actually fluctuated, despite research claiming a “huge and steady decrease” or 30% to 40 % reduction.[xiii] At times in 2016 content was rising, at others falling. This nuance is entirely missing from decliner logic (whether from Coalition Information Operations or recent journalism).

Decliner logic insists on there being a single direction and that direction being decline – this despite decliner commentary also claiming to have identified recently a 25% increase in content – (barely 20 pieces per week in November and 25 pieces for week in December).

Using rolling mean to examine how production changed over 2016 uncovers some important results. For example, there was an increase of 132% in content production between low points in September / October 2016 and the decliner cherry-picked month of February 2017. This means, February 2017 occurred during a period of rising content production, rather than production heading in the single downward direction, as the Global Coalition imply and decliners explicity claim.

Equally, despite the counting of photos being used to show decline between 2015 and February 2017, video production increased. By adding all media types together, a decrease in easily produced photographs hides an increase in the higher resource requirement and greater impact of video production.

What about 2014?

Analysis which uses no-Arabic, faux-Arabic or google translate is no substitute for being able to read and listen fluently in Arabic. It is essential researchers are genuinely able to recognise the encoded references, historical precedents, and understand the habitus of the intended audience. 

Recent commentary has suggested:

“there can be no questioning the fact that the Islamic State’s media capabilities largely relied on its territorial clout between 2014 and 2017”.

However, a different picture emerges once the flaw in decliner logic and fluctuations in content have been exposed by genuine data science. This different picture is one which has long been evident to anyone embedded in an Arabic context and “crystal clear to virtually anyone who has the linguistic capacity to grasp and the opportunity to witness what jihadists are actually saying, writing and doing, both online and offline”.[xiv]

Unfortunately, it is a picture which is too often obscured from view by commentators writing from the perspective of a Western, English language dominated, habitus. These commentators often exhibit masculinist understandings of power, success, and victory and rely on faux-Arabic or google translate.[xv]

Just as genuinely longitudinal data disrupts the narrative of a consistent downward direction in content production, analysis of the territory held alongside the media production also shatters the illusion of a pseudo-correlation between the territory held and content production.

The Global Coalition has reported on the reduction in ISIS territory as a percentage area held at the territorial highpoint of August 2014. Yet, decliners claim summer 2015 as the media highpoint, which occurs while ISIS was losing ground, including parts of Sinjar and Kobane (14% in total during 2015).  Put simply, the count of content was increasing toward the claimed ‘highpoint’ while territory was decreasing.

Furthermore, the claims of a relationship between territory and media production after the 2015 media ‘highpoint’ are problematic because content production went up 132% between October 2016 and February 2017, yet territory held by ISIS went down. The Coalition territorial estimate for October 2016 shows that the territory ISIS had lost was 56% Iraq 27% Syria, by February 2017 this had become 63% and 35% respectively.

Contrary to what they expect, decliners asking ‘what about 2014?’ reminds us that the claimed media and territorial ‘highpoints’ occur a year apart and that the pseudo-correlation between the two evaporates when the change in production and territory are compared with genuinely longitudinal data rather than cherry-picking.

Conclusion: Appropriate use of Data Science emphatically destroys claims of pseudo-correlation between content production and area controlled. Saying ‘what about 2014’ just makes this clearer.

A supplemental thought experiment:

For the sake of a thought experiment, as the Global Coalition has been claiming success and territorial gains against ISIS – what would decliner logic predict about the volume of social media produced by the Global Coalition? So has the Coalition social media increased or decreased?

Using the last 3,000 tweets from each of the accounts run by the Global Coalition Against Daesh (Arabic, English and French respectively) all could be described as ‘in decline’ from an earlier highpoint. For Arabic and English, the ‘highpoint’ is in 2017, for French it is in 2016. If production is linked to battlefield success – Arabic and French speaking forces are in deep trouble – as production is down (over 90% for Arabic) from their social media height.



No doubt you are reaching for alternative explanations other than the collapse of coalition forces. If so you have understood the problem with decliner logic perfectly.

It is perhaps telling that the logic when applied to anything else is utterly transparent. The coalition propaganda even trips over its own logic, seeking to claim decline and how gaps in the production of magazines should be interpreted.


The above images show the Global Coalition has highlighted the time since the last issue of Rumiyya, but those with a longer memory will recall that before Rumiyya there was another now discontinued magazine, Dabiq. Both magazines are examples of communicating to the secondary – at best – target audience, namely English speakers. However, it is instructive as, in this case as Dabiq, there was a gap in production which began in September 2015 and lasted over 100 days (second longest gap between Dabiq issues). This, it should be noted, came the month after the claimed peak in ISIS content production, which decliners present as the zenith of the Caliphate.

If gaps in production of a prominent magazine (available in English) indicates weakness and territorial losses, as the Coalition implies, how was it Dabiq exhibited this ‘weakness’ during the period the Coalition refers to as the ‘high point’ of ISIS media production?

Indeed, as the Coalition and decliner journalists focus on a masculinist, post-Westphalian measure of victory, ISIS engage with their intended audience on a different plane. As narrated in a recent video اهل الثبات (The people who are steadfast) from ولاية كركوك (Kirkuk):

Morale is not something you can buy with money, and victory is not measured in square kilometres rather it is measured by the overall outcome, including the outcome in the hereafter, and not short-term achievements.

It is true that we lost ground, but with every day that passes the reality of the battle is becoming apparent to the Muslims worldwide, that this is a global campaign against Islam and the Muslims, it is a campaign against the Sharia and the very basic fundamentals of Islam.

Praise be to Allah that the mere existence of the Khilafah said what no long lectures and books could ever do to the hearts and minds of the Muslims worldwide.

I guess it is clear from the overall situation that we have already won the battle on the field of morale and ideas, winning it on the ground is just a matter of time, by the grace of Allah.

Victory is a complex concept in Jihadist interpretation of Islam.[xvi] Just as there is no meaningful relationship between Solar Radiation and NYSE, so Coalition propaganda, decliner logic, and the claimed pseudo-correlation between media and territory fail to provide an authentic representation of the current fortunes of the jihadist movement, their strategy nor their tactics.

As noted in 2014, the media mujahedeen are constantly reconfiguring and finding new outlets. In 2018, content production will continue to fluctuate.

The much talked up bluckling of the ISIS media system, presented as “not just a media decline—it is a full-fledged collapse” is likely in retrospect to have been a lull as the swarmcast reconfigured, rather than signs of  ongoing decline.  



[i] See for example;

Rushkoff, Douglas. Cyberia: Life in the trenches of hyperspace. Clinamen PressLtd, 2002.

[ii] It is also worthy of note, that in highlighting the gap in Rumiyah production (above) and the ‘high’ point in 2015 (below) the Global Coalition get themselves in a logical tangle. This is because the second longest gap in the production of Dabiq began in September 2015 the month after the claimed peak in content production. Was it strong – as the ‘high point’ would suggest – or weak as the long gap in publication of a magazine would imply in their logic about Rumiyah.

[iii] Mehdi Semati & Piotr M. Szpunar, ISIS beyond the spectacle: communication media, networked publics, terrorism, Critical Studies in Media Communication Vol. 35 , Iss. 1,2018

[iv] Paz, Reuven. “Reading Their Lips: The Credibility of Jihadi Web Sites as ‘Soft Power’ in the War of the Minds.” (2007).

[v] Lizardo, Omar. “The cognitive origins of Bourdieu’s habitus.” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 34.4 (2004): 375-401.

[vi] Lizardo, Omar. “The cognitive origins of Bourdieu’s habitus.” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 34.4 (2004): 375-401.

[vii] Lizardo, Omar. “The cognitive origins of Bourdieu’s habitus.” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 34.4 (2004): 375-401.

[viii] This is not to say the intended audience is sympathetic to the message, just that the message is intended for their consumption.

[ix] In the following section it is unclear whether the dubious data handling is due to the ignorance of the required skills / methods, or a sleight of hand in the presentation.

[x] The published research lists the titles of only 140 pieces of content

[xi] This trick is also used here:

[xii] There is a lot wrong with counting content – except where you are comparing total files detected for takedown vs. files released – this section shows what is wrong with decliner logic even in their own terms, rather than because the approach itself is insightful.

[xiii] This data comes from the torrent files released containing a collection of all the content for the ‘week’. These files were not released consistently in a seven-day cycle, but often varyied between a six and ten day cycle. As we have used the torrent file date to produce date of production, there are some periods of seven days without a total. This however, does not effect the total production and rolling mean is used to provide an authentic view of the ongoing levels of production.

[xiv] Rüdiger Lohlker, “Why Theology Matters – The Case of ISIS,” Strategic Review, July –September 2016; europe-s-misunderstanding-of-islam-and-isis

[xv] From an IR perspective see:

Sjoberg, Laura. Gendering global conflict: toward a feminist theory of war. Columbia University Press, 2013.

For a jihadist perspective see:

Anwar al-Awlaki, State of the Ummah.

[xvi] See for example; Constants of Jihad and the discussion of the contents of the book by Anwar al-Awlaki.

Jabha al-Nusra – a New Jihadi Group in Syria

January 25, 2012

Announced a couple of days ago, as an important and urgent message without providing further information, users already ‘hoped’ a new jihadi group would be announced. Their hopes are being held up high, as of today Syria ‘officially’ has a jihadi group of its own, with, as it is en vogue for years and years to come, its own media outlet. The media outlet, al-Manarah al-Bayda, something like the white lighthouse, the beacon of light/hope in contrast to Hizbullah’s al-Manarah channel, perhaps, addresses the “people of Sham” for this is a “historic event”

We shall what the video reveals, so far the content provided shows the usual rhetoric and ideology that we know of. The focus on Sham (greater Syria) is not really new, but now, since the Arab Spring is increasingly being hijacked by Islamists and fighting ones in Libya and Syria, the jihadist media is daring enough to openly claim such language from inside.

Forthcoming Book: “New Approaches to the Analysis of Jihadism” (2011)

April 13, 2011

Rüdiger Lohlker (ed.), New Approaches to the Study of Jihadism, Göttingen: Vienna University Press 2011


Introduction (Rüdiger Lohlker)

Virtual Jihad: A Real Danger (Philipp Holtmann)

Jihadist-Salafist Creed: Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi’s Imperatives of Faith (Orhan Elmaz)

From Kalashnikov to Keyboard: Pakistan’s Jihadiscapes and the Transformation of Lashkar-e Tayba (Thomas K. Gugler)

Virtual Leadership in the Jihadist Net: Rituals and Communicative Strategies to Guide Online Jihadists (Philipp Holtmann)

Navigating the Forgotten Swamp (Rüdiger Lohlker)

YouTube Jihad: A Rhetorical Analysis of an Islamist Propaganda Video (Bouchra Oualla)

Jihad via Bluetooth: al-Qa’ida’s Mobile Phone Campaign (Nico Prucha)

Worldwide Online Jihad versus the Gaming Industry Reloaded – Ventures of the Web (Nico Prucha)

For more information on the project “Jihadism Online” at the University of Vienna, please visit

New “Fursan al-Shahada” Video about Nigeria?

November 18, 2010

In October 2010 AQIM published a video, “The Raid of al-Damus“, regarding the situation of Muslims in Algeria but also in Libya and Nigeria. The video shows revenge operations against the Algerian police and National Army soldiers, ambushed on Algeria’s remote highways. These attacks not only took place to fight the infidel regimes in the region but particularly to avenge the execution of unarmed, detained civilians by the Nigerian army. AQIM takes this as proof to further justify its deeds and military operations with sequences of Abu Yahya al-Libi and Ayman al-Zawahiri in the video.

The scenes, it seems, have been taken from Aljazeera and put in motion in the AQIM video in its propagandized surrounding. Aljazeera describes the sequence as

“Al Jazeera has obtained exclusive footage from Nigeria which shows unarmed men being shot dead. The footage was taken last year when the Nigerian government was hailing its defeat of an Islamist rebel group known as Boko Haram.” The video shows the shooting of detainees in public by the Nigerian army (2:00) which has appeared in AQIM’s video.

“Muslims annihilated in Nigeria – The Crusader army kills Muslims in cold blood”. On the bottom right the al-Andalus media logo.


Corpses of Algerian soldiers are depicted in detail. Ambushed for their service for the Crusaders as well as their participation in upholding un-Islamic regimes as well as being responsible for killing Muslims.

What has this to do with ISI and the forthcoming video “Fursan al-shahada, 8” ? While part six was all committed to self-inoculation attacks in Iraq to “support Turkistan”, this 8th edition seems to be about killing and undertaking operations in Iraq for the sake of Nigeria. Alert forum members pointed out that the picture, as it appears with the remark “soon” shows pictures of the above mentioned massacres:

Forum member “BomBer” graphically points out that these two stills are from the massacre in Nigeria. Started by a user naming himself “Mullah Abu Omar” started the thread with “Walid al-Sharqawi” responding “the brothers in charge for the publication have previously focused on various circumstances of Muslims, such as in occupied Turkistan (west China) by the communists, after the massacre [further] violating the rights of Muslims there. And in this video the focus will feature the land of the Hausa, “Nigeria”, remembering the Muslims who are being tyrannized by many different means, inciting the Muslims in “Nigeria” to carry weapons. And God knows best.”

New ideological writing by Anwar al-Awlaki

January 8, 2010

First of all, al-Awlaki’s blog is about to resume, as indicated by the address below the title.

Let’s see, how long his wordpress account will remain online with all the media focus on this US citizen currently, who just returned to his homeland, Yemen, to help build and support AQ on a global scale there. Allegedly, he is also responsible for the effective indoctrination and radicalization of Hassan Nidal Malik, who went on the killing spree in Fort Hood.

Yesterday a new writing was published by al-Awlaki (AA), who issued “44 ways to support jihad” – in English, rich with Arabic-Islamic terms that are packed in translated religious sentiments which can be appealing to some.

UPDATE The user “TS” was so kind to inform me (see comment) that this writing by AA is not new and has been published in February 2009. Thanks for the info and the link ( With so much content being disseminated every day, I thought this English document had been new as well, sorry for any confusion I may have caused!

Most interesting is the short introduction, where the audience, the youth, is particularly highlighted. This highlighting is not new and AQ leadership of all levels most commonly address their appeals and calls to the “youth of Islam”, who must, should and are able to wage most effectively a jihad against invading criminal non-Muslim elements and their allies:

“Jihad is the greatest deed in Islam and the salvation of the ummah is in practicing it. In times like these, when Muslim lands are occupied by the kuffar, when the jails of tyrants are full of Muslim POWs, when the rule of the law of Allah is absent from this world and when Islam is being attacked in order to uproot it, Jihad becomes obligatory on every Muslim. Jihad must be practiced by the child even if the parents refuse, by the wife even if the husband objects and by the one indebt even if the lender disagrees.

Dear brothers and sisters the issue is urgent since today our enemy is neither a nation nor a race. It is a system of kufr with global reach. The kuffar today are conspiring against us like never before. So could we be heading towards the great battle between the Romans and the Muslims – Al Malhamah – which the Prophet (saaws) spoke about?

Again, the point needs to be stressed: Jihad today is obligatory on every capable Muslim. So as a Muslim who wants to please Allah it is your duty to find ways to practice it and support it. Following are 43 ways for the brothers and sisters to support Jihad fi sabeelillah.”

The writing goes on, addressing 44 factors that are vital – ideologically as well as practical military – and deemed a divine command to be fulfilled by pious believers.

A short selection (let us call them the “top ten” – even if it aint ten), that is a bit outstanding outside of the usual ideological writings that deal with the topic, copy-and-pasted:

4. Fundraising for the mujahideen

In addition to paying from your own money you should also encourage others to do the same. Rasulullah says: “The one who guides others towards a good deed would receive rewards equal to those who practice it.” By fundraising for the mujahideen you are also fulfilling a sunnah of Rasulullah (saaws) which he would often practice before going out for a battle.

5. Financing a Mujahid

Rasulullah (saaws) says: “Whoever sponsors a fighter in the cause of Allah has fought” (Majma’ al Zawa’id). This includes all the expenses of the mujahid including his travel expenses. This gives a chance for the rich and the poor to receive the rewards of Jihad, the poor by fighting and the rich by sponsoring them.

8. Sponsoring the families of the prisoners of war

Taking care of the family of a prisoner is equal in reward to taking care of the family of a mujahid. It is extremely important for such a practice to become the norm so that in the future when our brothers go out in the path of Allah they would know that if they die or if they are captured their families would be taken care of.

10. Contributing to the medical needs of the mujahideen

The mujahideen are in great need of any medical assistance they can get. They need physicians, they need hospitals and clinics that would open their doors to them and they need medicine. There are hundreds of thousands of Muslim physicians and nevertheless we hear many stories of injured mujahideen who suffered from simple wounds but because of the absence of medical help they had to suffer in agony until they died. Those Muslims who studied medicine and claim that they are doing it for the sake of Allah and to benefit the Muslims, we say to them: Where are you?

It is said that Khattaab – the great Muslim commander in Chechnya – was injured in a battle and his brothers found no Muslim doctor to take care of him so they had to take him to the Red Cross and have them treat him under gun point! Muslim health care workers have a great responsibility and their contribution to Jihad is indispensable.

In fact their rewards could be even greater than those of the fighters.

13. Fighting the lies of the Western Media

The perceptions of many Muslims are formed by the Western media. Allah says: “O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one (fasiq) with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful” (49:6)

So what about when the news is coming from a kafir rather than a fasiq?! The danger of the Western media stems from the fact that it puts on the cloak of truth and objectivity

when in reality it is no more than the mouthpiece of the devil. Can’t you see that the Western media is constantly trying to underplay the atrocities committed by the West while exaggerating the violations – which are few and far in between – committed by Muslims? Can’t you see how the Western media succeeded in presenting the awlyaa’ (friends) of Allah, the ones who are fighting in His cause, as the followers of evil, while it presents the Pharaoh of this day and his armies as the army of good? The Western media is so good in its deception that its lies pass on a wide section of the Muslim ummah. The fact is that this media demonizes the mujahideen, spreads lies about them, blows out of proportion their mistakes, tries to sow the seeds of disunity amongst them, attempts to ruin the reputations of their leaders, and ignores or demonizes the scholars of truth when on the other hand, it glorifies and promotes the scholars of falsehood.

So my dear brothers and sisters part of your duty is to campaign amongst Muslims to raise their awareness regarding this issue. You should encourage them to be careful and critical of the Western media. A Muslim should not believe Western sources unless they are confirmed by a trustworthy Muslim one. I say a “trustworthy” Muslim source because the verse was warning us from accepting the news of a disobeying Muslim. Now that is not to say that we should not believe the media in anything it says even in its weather forecasts! No, what we are saying is that you should not believe what they say about Islam and Muslims. A media source that could otherwise be very objective and truthful could become a fabricator when it comes to covering news on Muslims. That is how the disbelievers dealt with Muslims since the dawn of history…and there is no reason for us to believe why that would change.

18. Following the news of Jihad and spreading it

Following the news of Jihad and the mujahideen is important because

• It keeps your attachment to Jihad alive.

• It strengthens your belongingness to the ummah.

• It encourages you to join Jihad when you see the heroic acts of the mujahideen. It kindles your desire for martyrdom when you see the courage of martyrs.

• Those who follow the news of the mujahideen will see how Allah is protecting his servants and guiding them towards victory. They will see how the ummah is heading towards the era of Islam under the leadership of: “al Ta’ifah al Mansoorah” mentioned in the hadiths of Rasulullah (saaws).

• Reading history or Fiqh books on Jihad provides you with the theory. Following the news of the mujahideen provides you with practical examples of how our brothers are applying the theory in today’s world. It provides you with something tangible, something real.

• The news of Jihad is the news of the conflict between good and evil which has existed since the time of Adam and will continue until the end of time. Following the developments of this conflict brings Quran into light. When you read Quran with this awareness you would have a more engaged relationship with the book of Allah than a person who is living in the seclusion of his ivory tower. This engagement with the book of Allah reaches its height when you yourself are engaged in this conflict by joining the ranks of the mujahideen. I need to repeat what I mentioned in point 13 that you should only spread authentic information from authentic sources. Because spreading

rumors is an attribute of the hypocrites: Allah says: “And when there comes to them something [information] about public security or fear, they spread it around. But if they had referred it back to the Messenger or to those of authority among them, then the ones who [can] draw correct conclusions from it would have known about it.” (4:83)

23. Arms training

Preparing for Jihad is obligatory since Jihad today is obligatory and the sharia rule states that: “Whatever is needed for an obligatory act becomes obligatory”

Arms training is an essential part of preparation for Jihad. Allah says: “And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you don’t know but Allah knows” (8:60) The Messenger of Allah (saaws) said regarding this verse: “Power is marksmanship, power is marksmanship” (Related by Muslim)

The issue is so critical that if arms training is not possible in your country then it is worth the time and money to travel to another country to train if you can.

29. WWW Jihad

The internet has become a great medium for spreading the call of Jihad and following the news of the mujahideen. Some ways in which the brothers and sisters could be “internet mujahideen” is by contributing in one or more of the following ways:

• Establishing discussion forums that offer a free, uncensored medium for posting information relating to Jihad.

• Establishing email lists to share information with interested brothers and sisters.

• Posting or emailing Jihad literature and news.

• Setting up websites to cover specific areas of Jihad, such as: mujahideen news, Muslim

POWs, and Jihad literature.”

As you may have guessed, number 29 is certainly one of my personal favorites… However, it must be noted, that AA’s addressed bullet points have been established – continuously – over the previous years and in the meantime the jihadists usage of the internet has reached a technical highly professional output with content that is in some parts highly appealing for the audience.

Anyway, the 44 ways are not entirely new and are, as a matter of fact, a cheap write-off of the “39 Ways to Serve Jihad and the Mujahidin on the Path of God”, by Muhammad bin Ahmad al-Salim (aka ‘Aisa bin Sa’ad bin Muhammad Al ‘Awshin), a Saudi ideologue who wrote for the AQAP magazine The Voice of Jihad (2003-2008). His document contains similar thoughts, intentions and motivations.

This edition was published by a platform prior to the extensive online publishing foundation The Voice of Jihad. I’ll spare you the details.

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