Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Tracking Islamic State

Islamic State's Propaganda Magazine Justifies Use Of Child Executioners

The latest edition of Dabiq includes a two-page advertisement-style spread calling on Western Muslims to travel to Syria and Iraq to join IS, and a pinup style montage of photographs featuring ginger-bearded French militant Abu Suhayb al-Faransi.
The latest edition of Dabiq includes a two-page advertisement-style spread calling on Western Muslims to travel to Syria and Iraq to join IS, and a pinup style montage of photographs featuring ginger-bearded French militant Abu Suhayb al-Faransi.

The latest edition of Dabiq, the full-color, glossy propaganda magazine published by Islamic State (IS) militants, praises two children who have carried out execution-style killings for the militant group.

The eighth issue of Dabiq magazine, whose cover has the headline Sharia Alone Will Rule Africa, was shared on social media on March 30.

An article titled The Lions Of Tomorrow features photographs of the two child militants, both of whom are shown in videos apparently shooting captives that IS had accused of being foreign agents.

One of the children, who was shown apparently shooting dead two men accused of being Russian spies in a video released in January, looks very similar to a young Kazakh boy who appeared in an earlier video showing a group of ethnic Kazakh children undergoing military and ideological instruction.

The second child is shown in a video released earlier this month, where he appears to shoot dead a Palestinian man whom IS had accused of spying for Israel's Mossad.

The Dabiq article refers to the children as "the lion cubs of the Khilafah (caliphate)," a term that IS has adopted to refer to its child militants. IS refers to the lands under its control as a "caliphate."

IS's use of children to carry out execution-style killings led to outpourings of shock and disgust across Western and Arab media. Dabiq referred to these reactions in its article, suggesting that IS militants had deliberately chosen to film the "child executioners" in order to create this response.

"As expected, the kuffar (infidels) were up in arms about the Khalifah's use of 'child soldiers'," Dabiq wrote.

The author of the article goes on to justify the use of children as soldiers and to carry out killings by saying that this is part of IS's interpretation of Islam and Islamic history.

"This was the Sunnah (Muslim way of life based on Muhammad's teachings and the Koran) of Allah's Messenger, who would allow those capable from among the young Sahabah (the Prophet Muhammad's companions) to participate in his battles against the mushrikin (polytheists)," Dabiq says.

As part of its attempts to ground its justifications for training and using child soldiers in terms of Islamic history, law, and tradition, Dabiq also refers to the battle in which these children are being made to fight in terms of a centuries-long, epic struggle between Islam and the "crusaders" and "infidels."

"The Islamic State has taken upon itself to fulfill the Ummah's (the global community of Muslims) duty toward this generation by preparing it to face the crusaders and their allies in defense of Islam. ... It has established institutes for these lion cubs to train and hone their military skills," Dabiq adds.

Dabiq magazine is named after an area in Syria where some Muslims believe an apocalyptic battle between Islamic mujahedin (fighters who are waging jihad) and the "Romans," or Christians, will take place.

In addition to the two-page spread praising child executioners, the latest edition of Dabiq includes a two-page advertisement-style spread calling on Western Muslims to travel to Syria and Iraq to join IS, and a pinup style montage of photographs featuring ginger-bearded French militant Abu Suhayb al-Faransi.

Also included are articles about the alleged destruction by IS militants of ancient treasures in a museum in Iraq's Mosul. The destruction had "caused an outcry from the enemies of the Islamic State," Dabiq said.

Just as IS attempted to justify the use of child soldiers by referring to Islamic history and the Koran, Dabiq also tried to vindicate the militants' destruction of Iraq's priceless heritage by saying that displaying these treasures in a museum "opposes the guidance of Allah and His Messenger and only serves a nationalist agenda."

The eighth issue of Dabiq also features a new article apparently written by John Cantlie, the British hostage held by IS.

With the headline Paradigm Shift, Cantlie's latest piece argues that there has been a "crucially telling shift" in how Western leaders are discussing IS.

Cantlie suggests that the United States and some of its allies have begun to talk about IS using terms that indicate they consider it to be a country or a state, rather than just an organization.

"[There's] little reason why the [Islamic] State should not be considered a country...And if it's not the Islamic State's country, then just whose is it?" Cantlie asks, arguing that the lands controlled by IS do not belong to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or the "newly instated and incompetent puppet Iraqi government, tucked away in Baghdad."

Cantlie himself refers to the attributes of statehood that IS have said justifies defining the lands under their control as a country: IS is able to "lay siege to cities," it has its own police force, tanks, artillery pieces, and "an army of soldiers tens of thousands strong," he says.

Other symbols of statehood possessed by IS are "spy drones" and a mint, the British hostage argues.

Cantlie argues that it is pride and prestige that are preventing the United States from being able to "face the Islamic State as a country."

"That's going to take some swallowing of pride," Cantlie writes, using another propaganda message that runs through IS's recent messages, including this edition of Dabiq: that IS has expanded. The "black flag of the Caliphate [is] now seen on the skylines of Africa, Arabia, and Asia."

While a truce with IS would be hard for the West to swallow, Cantlie argues that "the impossible can and does happen."

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: c from: nj
March 31, 2015 20:51
From what I have studied of ISIS, the koran and hadith, - everything ISIS does has scriptural support. Now luckily, moderates sometimes have other scriptures to take a different position. The important thing is that non-moslems who have never studied the texts have to stop with their wishful thinking that somehow every religion must want peace and harmony
In Response

by: lumnar
March 31, 2015 23:44
Religious texts are like clouds. If you stare hard enough, you can find support for anything. ISIS, al-qaeda, etc. really have nothing to do with religion. They are more easily understood seen as an anti-colonialist backlash. Check out what Osama Bin Laden actually said about his justification for his war. It wasn't, scripts say this, scripts say that. It was Imperialist America can't keep it fingers out of the countries that are none of its business.
In Response

by: Angrybruin from: The North Pole
April 01, 2015 09:43
If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and looks like a duck, it's a duck. IS is saying its Islam, then it's Islam. Destroy them. They are pure evil.

by: Bill Webb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
April 01, 2015 19:52
This freak looks like he just crawled out from behind a dumpster. No, they don't even have dumpsters there.

by: Bill Webb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
April 01, 2015 23:04
I have some sad news for John. IS does not even come close to the description of a country. It is only a diverse collection of young psychotic murderers gathered from around the world to wreak their savagery upon the unsuspecting innocents of the area to fulfill their own goals. Too bad IS does not have an air force because the US led coalition would love to show you how to shoot down enemy planes. We'll just have to be satisfied with bombing ground targets until there is nothing left of IS but the bad memories.

About This Blog

"Under The Black Flag" provides news, opinion, and analysis about the impact of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. It focuses not only on the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, but also on the implications for the region and the world. The blog's primary author, James Miller, closely covered the first three years of the Arab Spring, with a focus on Syria, and is now the managing editor of The Interpreter, where he covers Russia's foreign and domestic policy and the Kremlin's wars in Syria and Ukraine. Follow him on Twitter: @Millermena

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