When I saw these two pictures separately, I thought this is definitely worth a Meme. Never mind the separate pix, here’s the Meme:
For those keeping score, that creature on the right is Balok (the puppet that is), from the Original Star Trek 1st season episode “The Corbomite Maneuver.” And yes, that means that I fork over 10,000 Quatloos to The Osprey!
While I pay him, here’s The Overnight Open Thread!
Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category
Filed under Iran, OOT, Satire at July 27th, 2015 - 10:00 pm
When I saw these two pictures separately, I thought this is definitely worth a Meme. Never mind the separate pix, here’s the Meme:
Filed under Anti-Jihad, ISIS, Islam, Islamic Supremacism, Islamic Terrorism, Islamists, Jihad, Middle East, OOT, Satire, Weapons at July 25th, 2015 - 9:38 pm
Practice, practice, practice, people. We all know Jamil Jihad could pop up anywhere at anytime.
Carry on. And please, think of the goats.
Get your own free goat hostage target here: http://tacticalshit.com/go/isis-goat-hostage-target-free-download/
(note: I am not employed and/or compensated by “tacticalshit.com” in any form, but their targets are teh funneh.)
Filed under History, Iran, Iran, Islam, Islamists, Middle East, Muslim Brotherhood, Politics, Syria, World at July 14th, 2015 - 1:30 am
Earliest date found for this image [via Tineye] is 1 April 2014 with this caption:
Left After Assad Bombing in Aleppo.
I have a bit of a problem with that structural impossibility, and so does physics. Then I found this:
This seems to be the unadulterated version, with an interesting caption:
Residents try to find their belongings among the rubble left of their homes after what activists said was an air attack from forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad in Bab Neirab, Aleppo, on July 27, 2013.
That caption and image came from The Atlantic via *ahem* Reuters… who have never *cough* posted manipulated propaganda photos before.
[Hint: Google Islamic Rage Boy, Green Helmet Man, Wailing Woman, Iraqi Missile Photoshop.]
Yet even the description (“what activists said”) sounds specious. When Assad was under attack by the Muslim Brotherhood, why would his forces bomb his own people, unless Syria was already infiltrated by radical islam?
[Top image found here entirely by accident, and the others didn’t come from Little Green Footballs either.]
Filed under British Islamic Jihadists, Islamic Supremacism, Sharia (Islamic Law), Syria, UK at July 13th, 2015 - 7:00 am
A group of captured Yazidi and Christian women are chained together and marched to a sickening sex slave market where they are sold to become wives for Islamic State fighters
Daily Mail (UK): They bite and whip any woman who steps out of line and force girls to become sex slaves. Most shocking of all? SIXTY of them are British
The loud knock on the family’s farmhouse door was at midnight as they got ready for bed. Outside, five Islamic State fighters, Kalashnikovs hung on their shoulders and faces hidden by black scarves, were searching for girls to kidnap.
‘We opened the door and they saw my wife’s teenage sisters Sabiha and Sajida. The fighters told us they were going to steal them because they were beautiful,’ says Kafi Osman, anger still burning in his eyes at the memory.
‘We cried and the girls wept as they were led outside and driven away in an open truck. We have heard nothing of them since.’
The girls’ kidnap in the northern Iraqi town of Makhmur came as jihadis from Islamic State (also known as IS and Isis) took control of it street by street. They beheaded men, raped women and then captured their trophies of war — virgins to be sex slaves or jihadi brides.
The Osman family now believe that Sabiha, 18, and Sajida, 16, are prostitutes in Raqqa, a seven-hour drive across the Iraqi border in Syria and the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital, awash with jihadi fighters.
It is a place of medieval barbarism, terror, torture, abuse and odious controls over the 100,000 women who live there. Some women are trapped in the city against their will.
They did not escape before IS marched in two years ago, building a Sharia court on the football pitch and imposing a regime where grisly public executions take place by stoning and crucifixion in the main square after mosque prayers on a Friday.
Others are radicalised jihadi brides from the West, including three pupils from Bethnal Green, East London, who were pictured last week walking in the town with a woman minder in a burka holding a Kalashnikov.
The third group of women are the unfortunates kidnapped in enemy territory by IS fighters, taken to Raqqa, and imprisoned in a life of sex slavery.
Whatever the reason for living in this hellish place, all women are prohibited from going outside or travelling without a male relative. Islamic State imposes a strict dress code demanding all females from puberty upwards wear two gowns to hide their body shape, black gloves to cover their hands, and three veils so their faces cannot be seen, even in direct sunlight.
Women have been publicly buried alive in sand for breaking the code. One former Syrian schoolteacher trapped in the city told Channel 4 in a documentary, Escape From Isis, to be aired next week: ‘We have no freedom. We cannot go out on the balcony or look through the window. They will arrest a woman if she wears perfume or raises her voice. A woman’s voice cannot be heard.’
The teacher told of her horrifying capture by the city’s ruthless all-women police unit, the Al-Khansa brigade, created to enforce IS rules. ‘They said my eyes were visible through my veil. I was tortured. They lashed me. Now some of them punish women by biting. They give you the option between getting bitten or lashed.’
As many as 60 British women, including Aqsa Mahmood, the 20-year-old Glaswegian woman who left her family to become an Islamic State apparatchik last year, are thought to be members of the brigade. They are paid up to £100 a month, a fortune in the Islamic State bad-lands.
One former Al-Khansa enforcer, a young Syrian woman called Umm Abaid, told the filmmakers how she had led a normal life until the arrival of IS and the imposition of Sharia law in Raqqa, once a cosmopolitan city where the sexes mixed freely.
‘I went to school, to coffee shops,’ she said, ‘but slowly, slowly my husband [a Saudi Arabian IS fighter killed in a suicide bomb attack] convinced me about Islamic State and its ideas. I joined the brigade and was responsible for enforcing the clothing regulations.
‘Anyone who broke the rules, we would lash. Then we would take her male guardian, her brother, father or husband, and lash him, too.
‘Even when I was off duty, if I was with my husband in the car and we saw a woman dressed wrong, he would stop and tell me to deal with her.
‘I remember one woman walking with her husband wearing a robe with images on it. We arrested her and took her to the Al-Khansa base. I lashed her with my own hands.’
Umm fled to Turkey after IS tried to force her to remarry within weeks of her husband blowing himself up.
The terrifying brigade even stops buses to check women passengers. If one is found breaking the code, all the passengers are forced to get off and the bus is refused permission to proceed. The driver can be lashed because he let the woman on board.
Some of the Al-Khansa members operate undercover, posing as housewives, mingling in the crowds to listen for any dissent.
They also run brothels where kidnapped girls, like Sabiha and Sajida, are expected to satisfy fighters returning from battle. Those who have escaped, by a miracle, say they have slept with 100 different fighters in a few weeks.
Even girls who have gone willingly to Raqqa, thinking they were going to marry one fighter, have found they are expected to spend a week with their new ‘spouse’ before they are ‘divorced’ by an Islamic cleric and married to another fighter for a week.
And so the marriage merry-go-round goes on.
Yet, incredibly, still more Muslim girls and women from Europe, and notably the UK, are arriving in Raqqa to join IS. What can possibly induce them to run away to join its ranks?
Emily Dyer, a research fellow with the Henry Jackson Society, a respected Westminster think-tank, spends hours each day tracking social media messages sent to the West by jihadi brides.
‘The fighters are seen as lions and wives as lionesses raising future jihadists,’ she says. ‘Joining up is seen as an adventure for girls who are bored with life here. You cannot overestimate the seductive attraction of IS to some of them. They see Muslims being attacked abroad and want to do something about it.
‘Even the violence and sexual abuse against women don’t seem to stop them leaving. In Britain, they are exposed to a barrage of brainwashing on social media coming from the Islamic State. It tells them that not supporting the “cause” is wrong. There is strong moral pressure on Muslim women to go and play their part in building an IS caliphate.’
Explaining the recruitment process, she says: ‘Their friends come online with a cool new identity and tell them it is paradise, with groceries supplied, medical help for free, a place to stay. They meet a fighter online, he proposes, and says come to Syria.
‘It sounds an attractive option when being a Muslim woman in the West may be a hard prospect.’ Emily suggests the possible difficulties: perhaps a forced marriage, a limited life outside the home, and a lack of freedom compared with their non-Muslim peers.
Once they arrive, their dreams can be shattered. Emily’s analysis of internet messages shows that many jihadi brides find Raqqa a shock. Under IS prohibitions, single women live in all-female safe houses called maqqars. If they are married, they must be only mothers or housewives unless selected to be IS ‘enforcers’ or fighters.
A girl tracked by Emily on Twitter said: ‘I’m fed up. They make me do the washing up.’ Another said: ‘I’ve done nothing except hand out clothes and food. I help clean weapons and transport dead bodies from the front. It’s beginning to get really hard.’ One complained: ‘My iPod doesn’t work any more. I have to come back [to the West].’
A fourth wrote: ‘They want to send me to the front but I don’t know how to fight.’
Another grim glimpse of life in Raqqa emerged last weekend from Amira Abase, who was 15 when she and fellow Bethnal Green GCSE pupils Shamima Begum, 16, and Kadiza Sultana, 15, ran away from home in February. Two of the girls have since married jihadi fighters, although they refuse to say which of them is still single.
Amira, in messages on Twitter and Kik Messenger (an encrypted service) said that women in maqqars are forbidden access to mobile phones or the internet. They are then prepared for marriage to a jihadi, even if they are young teenagers. ‘The Prophet Mohammed’s favourite wife, Aisha, got married to him when she was nine,’ she said.
She advised British girls wanting to join IS not to tell their families, to bring as much money as possible, ‘lots of bras’, black khimars (long Islamic dresses) and black niqabs (full face veils) — ‘you can’t leave the house without a niqab.’
It was fear of IS’s treatment of women that led Kafi Osman, a 27-year-old Iraqi Kurd and Muslim, to flee with his 44-year-old wife Balqesa and children, Sara, four, and Elaf, three, the day after Sabiha and Sajida were taken.
After a month hidden in the back of a truck, which crossed into Turkey then drove through Eastern Europe and Germany, they arrived on the northern coast of France. They had paid £16,000 in cash, which Kafi had hidden at the family’s farmhouse, to an Iraqi agent.
‘How could we stay in a town run by the Islamic State when we have our little daughters to protect? We were frightened the fighters would want them too.
The jihadis took over Makhmur in 20 minutes, killed the men, and then began knocking on doors looking for girls to steal.’
Filed under Al Qaeda, Balkans, Headlines, Hezballah, Islamists, Kosovo, Serbia at July 9th, 2015 - 9:54 am
Russia vetoed a UN resolution to recognize the Serb victory at Srebrenica over Bosnian Muslims, al-Qaeda and Hezbollah as “genocide.”
Russia vetoed a draft UN resolution Wednesday that would have recognized the Srebrenica massacre as genocide, saying it unfairly singled out Bosnian Serbs for war crimes.
Britain had put forward the text to mark the 20th anniversary of the massacre of 8,000 Muslim boys and men by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995, Europe’s worst atrocity since World War II.
Angola, China, Nigeria and Venezuela abstained from the vote at the 15-member Security Council while 10 other countries voted in favour of the text that also condemned genocide denial.
The Russian veto was welcomed by Serbia’s president, who said it was “a great day for Serbia,” but the head of the Mothers of Srebrenica group accused Moscow of “supporting criminals, those who killed our children.”
Good on Russia for blocking this pro-Islamic crap. It’s funny that many Americans who claim to be such holy Christians despise the one nation on the planet that stands up for Christians.
Filed under Iraq, Islamic Terrorism, Jihad, Libya, NIGERIA, Syria at July 2nd, 2015 - 10:23 am
March 12, 2015: The Islamic State welcomed a pledge of allegiance made to it by Boko Haram and vowed to press with its expansion, according to a recording on Thursday purportedly from its spokesman.
“We announce to you to the good news of the expansion of the caliphate to west Africa because the caliph … has accepted the allegiance of our brothers of the Sunni group for preaching and the jihad,” Isis spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said in the message, using the Arabic name for Nigeria’s Boko Haram extremist group.
June 29. 2015: Chibok girls ‘forced to join Nigeria’s Boko Haram’
Some of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria have been forced to join Islamist militant group Boko Haram, the BBC has been told.
Witnesses say some are now being used to terrorise other captives, and are even carrying out killings themselves.
The testimony cannot be verified but Amnesty International says other girls kidnapped by Boko Haram have been forced to fight.
Boko Haram has killed some 5,500 civilians in Nigeria since 2014.
Two-hundred-and-nineteen schoolgirls from Chibok, are still missing, more than a year after they were kidnapped from their school in northern Nigeria. Many of those seized are Christians.
Three women who claim they were held in the same camps as some of the Chibok girls have told the BBC’s Panorama programme that some of them have been brainwashed and are now carrying out punishments on behalf of the militants.
Seventeen-year-old Miriam (not her real name) fled Boko Haram after being held for six months. She was forced to marry a militant, and is now pregnant with his child.
Recounting her first days in the camp she said: “They told to us get ready, that they were going to marry us off.”
She and four others refused.
“They came back with four men, they slit their throats in front of us. They then said that this will happen to any girl that refuses to get married,”
Faced with that choice, she agreed to marry, and was then repeatedly raped.
“There was so much pain,” she said. “I was only there in body… I couldn’t do anything about it.”
While in captivity, Miriam described meeting some of the Chibok schoolgirls. She said they were kept in a separate house to the other captives.
“They told us: ‘You women should learn from your husbands because they are giving their blood for the cause. We must also go to war for Allah.'”
She said the girls had been “brainwashed” and that she had witnessed some of them kill several men in her village.
“They were Christian men. They [the Boko Haram fighters] forced the Christians to lie down. Then the girls cut their throats.”
An image posted on 21 October by an Isis-linked Twitter feed, with a caption in Arabic calling these children ‘new graduates of Jihad School’
June 29, 2015: Others executed by the violent Islamist group include 86 women and 143 of its own members, according to report
The full scale of Isis’s year of terror has been detailed in a new report that claims the jihadist group has executed more than 3,000 people in the past 12 months – a tally which includes 74 children.
According to a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights produced to mark the first anniversary of the establishment of the group’s “caliphate”, Isis has carried out 3,027 execution killings in a year.
Among the thousands of Arab and Kurdish civilians executed by the group in Syria in the last year, 86 were women.
But the violent Islamist group appears to demonstrate a particular interest in children, releasing videos of children fighting in cages and undertaking military training.
The report also details moves undertaken by the group to entice children to join, which include setting up offices ‘cubs of the caliphate’ that recruit children to fight for Isis.
Earlier this month the group reportedly crucified two children for not fasting during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.
Daily Mail (UK): ISIS’s ‘father of the year': How Australian jihadi took wife and five children to Syria, posted pictures of his son, 7, holding a severed HEAD… and then married his daughter, 13, to monster who ‘raped Yazidi girls’
July 1, 2015:
- Khaled Sharrouf left Australia to join ISIS in Syria with Mohammed Elomar
- Then married his 13-year-old daughter Zaynab off to his fellow jihadi fighter
- Jihadi shared image of his then-seven-year-old son holding severed head
- Sharrouf and Elomar are accused of beheading Iraqis, raping Yazidi slaves
June 22, 2015 – Damascus (AFP) – Islamic State group jihadists have mined the spectacular ancient ruins in Syria’s Palmyra, an antiquities official and monitor said Sunday, prompting fears for the UNESCO World Heritage site.
The reports came one month after the extremist group overran the central Syrian city.
Syria’s antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said that the group had laid mines and explosives in Palmyra?s Greco-Roman ruins.
The Observatory, which relies on a network of sources on the ground, said the explosives were laid on Saturday.
“But it is not known if the purpose is to blow up the ruins or to prevent regime forces from advancing into the town,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
He said regime forces had launched heavy air strikes against the residential part of Palmyra in the past three days, killing at least 11 people.
“The regime forces are to the west outside the city, and in recent days they have brought in reinforcements suggesting they may be planning an operation to retake Palmyra,” he added.
A political source told AFP that a leading commander had been dispatched to the region to organise an offensive to recapture and secure Palmyra and several key gas fields nearby.
Abdulkarim also said Sunday he had received reports from Palmyra residents that the ruins had been mined.
“We have preliminary information from residents saying that this is correct, they have laid mines at the temple site,” he told AFP.
“I hope that these reports are not correct, but we are worried.”
He urged “Palmyra’s residents, tribal chiefs and religious and cultural figures to intervene to prevent this… and prevent what happened in northern Iraq”, referring to IS’s destruction of heritage sites there.
“I am very pessimistic and feel sadness,” he added.
– ‘Irreplaceable treasure’ –
IS captured Palmyra, which is famed for its extensive and well-preserved ruins, on May 21.
The group has regularly heavily mined its territory to make it more difficult to recapture.
The city’s fall prompted international concern about the fate of the heritage site described by UNESCO as of “outstanding universal value”.
Before it was overrun, the head of the UN cultural body urged that the ruins be spared, saying they were “an irreplaceable treasure for the Syrian people, and the world”.
IS has released several videos documenting its destruction of heritage sites in Iraq and Syria.
Libya, the gift that keeps on giving:
April 20, 2015: ISIS operatives have executed two groups of prisoners, believed to be Ethiopian Christians, in Libya, according to a video released Sunday by the terror network’s media arm.
The Ethiopian government confirmed Monday that 30 of its citizens were among the two groups, according to the Ethiopian News Agency.
The al-Furqan Media video — which is highly produced and titled “Until There Came to Them Clear Evidence” — shows two groups of men, one in orange jumpsuits and the other in black, being killed at different locations in Libya, according to the video’s narrator.
One group is beheaded on a beach along the Mediterranean Sea, while the other group is shot in Southern Libya, hundreds of miles away.
“All praise be to Allah, the Lord and cherisher of the world and may peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Mohammed. To the nation of the cross, we are back again on the sands, where the companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, have stepped on before, telling you: Muslim blood that was shed under the hands of your religion is not cheap,” the narrator says in Arabic on the 39-minute video.
The narrator continues, “In fact, their blood is the purest blood because there is a nation behind them (which) inherits revenge. And we swear to Allah: the one who disgraced you by our hands, you will not have safety, even in your dreams, until you embrace Islam.”
But wait, there’s more!
- BB4SP: BREAKING ➠ ISIS Publishes Map Of July 4th FBI Command Centers
- Daily Mail (UK): ISIS executes women by beheading for the first time as the group kills two married couples for ‘witchcraft and sorcery’ in Syria
- Blazing Cat Fur: ISIS Affiliate Attacks Egyptian Security Sites In Sinai, Killing 18
- Christian Today: Boko Haram Islamist group spreads terror to Niger, killing at least 40
- IBT: Jihad vs jihad: 18 Isis fighters executed by Jaysh al-Islam in Islamic State-style copycat video
Filed under Censorship, Free Speech, History, Iraq, Jihad, Political Correctness, Syria at June 28th, 2015 - 5:00 pm
Published on Jun 26, 2015 by Chuck Netzhammer
On 06/25/15 I attempted to get an Edible image cake printed with the confederate flag image on it at Walmart. It was denied. The next day I had them do the same for the ISIS battle flag image I brought to them. They cheerfully did it. and sold me my ISIS cake. WTF Walmart! ISIS is beheading Christians, selling little girls into slavery, and is currently a terrorist org at war with the United States……..but you can’t buy the General Lee toy car at Walmart? It’s a damn shame.
Sent this to Walmart’s ethics department. I’m a loyal customer who requested an edible printed cake with the image of an Confederate flag. It was refused, but I was able to to get the ISIS battle flag image printed on my cake at a different store.
I am highly offended, distraught, and in tears over the fact you pull American history off your shelves, but allow the offensive battle flag of terrorists, sex slavers, be-headers of Christians, burners of gays to be made in your store.
You also allow offensive Rap music which sings about cop killing, degrading women, drive-by murder, drug use, selling drugs, prostitution and repeatably uses the highly offensive word “nigger”.
But you can’t buy a beloved children’s toy car with an Confederate flag on the roof?
Filed under Christianity, Crime, Religion at June 18th, 2015 - 9:12 am
Last night a gunman shot up a church in Charleston, SC and killed 9 worshipers.
A white gunman killed nine people during a prayer meeting at one of Charleston’s oldest and best-known black churches Wednesday night in one of the worst mass shootings in South Carolina history.
Heavily armed law enforcement officers scoured the area into the morning for the man responsible for the carnage inside Emanuel AME Church at 110 Calhoun St. At least one person was said to have survived the rampage.
Police revealed no motive for the 9 p.m. attack, which was reportedly carried out by a young white man. Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said, “I do believe this was a hate crime.”
“This is a tragedy that no community should have to experience,” he said. “It is unfathomable that somebody in today’s society would walk into a church when people are having a prayer meeting and take their lives, and I can assure you that we’re going to do everything in our power to find this individual, to lock him up and to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else.”
Whether this crime was racially motivated is irrelevant. The issue here is that a group of citizens were attacked when exercising one of their most fundamental rights, which is the right to worship.
I’m sure Deray and his astroturf Black Lives Matter losers will jump on this incident. There will also be some racist jerks who will view the shooter as a hero. Christians of all races and ethnicities need to unite and condemn this heinous act which is an attack on our faith. We should not allow raced obsessed dividers on either the Left nor Right hijack this incident and use it for their sinister purposes of diving Americans.
May the Lord take the souls of this victims into the loving embrace of the Holy Spirit. My hearts and soul goes out to the families of those killed.
Update: The shooter has been identified as Dylann Storm Roof
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – The man accused of shooting and killing nine people in a downtown Charleston church on Wednesday night is from the Columbia area, according to law enforcement sources.
Law enforcement is pursuing 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof, of Eastover. An active manhunt is taking place in several locations in the Midlands and across the state.
Public records show Roof was most recently arrested in March in Lexington County on drug charges. According to a spokesman for the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, he was booked in the detention center on February 28 and again on April 26 after being arrested by the Columbia Police Department.
Roof is believed to be driving a black Hyundai Elantra with South Carolina tag LGF-330. His last known address is in the 10,000 block of Garners Ferry Road in Eastover.
Filed under Dhimmitude at June 9th, 2015 - 8:03 pm
Just imagine the brouhaha if the NYPD had announced a drive to recruit more Christians or Jews! Where’s the outrage here?
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department is working to recruit more Muslims, and is asking for help within the community to better refine outreach aimed at stifling the lure of overseas terror groups, officials said Monday.
Right now, there are about 800 Muslim uniformed police officers out of about 35,000, according to the NYPD Muslim Officers Society. Of those, only about 20 are higher ranked officials. Lt. Adeel Rana, commanding officer of the community affairs immigration outreach unit, said there has been a slow increase over the past decade, but it has been rapidly changing in the past year and a half.
“It’s changing every day; we are getting more and more recruits,” he said. “And as they see people of their own religion in uniform, their eyes brighten.”
There has been an effort to increase openness and communication with the community since the new administration took over, stinging from a public outcry over the contentious stop, question and frisk policy and the surveillance of Muslims. A unit that investigated Muslims under the previous police commissioner was disbanded, and Commissioner William Bratton said Monday officials had worked hard to regain trust.
Filed under Jihad, Media at June 6th, 2015 - 7:00 am
“The culture of jihad is a culture of romance. It promises adventure, chivalry, and heroism. Just read the poetry of ISIS…” (h/t: Arts and Letters Daily)
The New Yorker has the story:
October 11, 2014, according to Islamic State-affiliated Twitter accounts a woman going by the name Ahlam al-Nasr was married in the courthouse of Raqqa, Syria, to Abu Usama al-Gharib, a Vienna-born jihadi close to the movement’s leadership. ISIS social media rarely make marriage announcements, but al-Nasr and al-Gharib are a jihadi power couple. Al-Gharib is a veteran propagandist, initially for Al Qaeda and now for ISIS. His bride is a burgeoning literary celebrity, better known as “the Poetess of the Islamic State.” Her first book of verse, “The Blaze of Truth,” was published online last summer and quickly circulated among militant networks. Sung recitations of her work, performed a cappella, in accordance with ISIS’s prohibition on instrumental music, are easy to find on YouTube. “The Blaze of Truth” consists of a hundred and seven poems in Arabic—elegies to mujahideen, laments for prisoners, victory odes, and short poems that were originally tweets. Almost all the poems are written in monorhyme—one rhyme for what is sometimes many dozens of lines of verse—and classical Arabic metres.
Little is known about Ahlam al-Nasr, but it seems that she comes from Damascus and is now in her early twenties. Her mother, a former law professor, has written that al-Nasr “was born with a dictionary in her mouth.” She began writing poems in her teens, often in support of Palestine. When, in the spring of 2011, protests in Syria broke out against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, al-Nasr took the side of the demonstrators. Several poems suggest that she witnessed the regime’s crackdown at first hand and may have been radicalized by what she saw:
Their bullets shattered our brains like an earthquake,
even strong bones cracked then broke.
They drilled our throats and scattered our limbs—
it was like an anatomy lesson!
They hosed the streets as blood still ran
like streams crashing down from the clouds.
Al-Nasr fled to one of the Gulf states but returned to Syria last year, arriving in Raqqa, the de-facto capital of ISIS, in early fall. She soon became a kind of court poet, and an official propagandist for the Islamic State. She has written poems in praise of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-styled Caliph of ISIS, and, in February, she wrote a thirty-page essay defending the leadership’s decision to burn the Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh alive. In a written account of her emigration, al-Nasr describes the caliphate as an Islamist paradise, a state whose rulers are uncorrupted and whose subjects behave according to pious norms. “In the caliphate, I saw women wearing the veil, everyone treating each other with virtue, and people closing up their shops at prayer times,” she writes. The movement’s victories in Mosul and western Iraq were fresh in the militants’ memory. In the city streets, “children played with sticks, pretending these were weapons they would use to fight heretics and unbelievers.” Al-Nasr celebrated ISIS’s military triumphs as a new dawn for Iraq:
Ask Mosul, city of Islam, about the lions—
how their fierce struggle brought liberation.
The land of glory has shed its humiliation and defeat
and put on the raiment of splendor.
ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other Islamist movements produce a huge amount of verse. The vast majority of it circulates online, in a clandestine network of social-media accounts, mirror sites, and proxies, which appear and disappear with bewildering speed, thanks to surveillance and hacking. On militant Web sites, poetry-discussion forums feature couplets on current events, competitions among duelling poets, who try to outdo one another in virtuosic feats, and downloadable collections with scholarly accoutrements. (“The Blaze of Truth” includes footnotes that explain tricky syntax and unusual rhyme schemes.)
A look at the poems written and performed by jihadi militants fighting for ISIS.VIDEO: A look at the poems written and performed by jihadi militants fighting for ISIS.
Analysts have generally ignored these texts, as if poetry were a colorful but ultimately distracting by-product of jihad. But this is a mistake. It is impossible to understand jihadism—its objectives, its appeal for new recruits, and its durability—without examining its culture. This culture finds expression in a number of forms, including anthems and documentary videos, but poetry is its heart. And, unlike the videos of beheadings and burnings, which are made primarily for foreign consumption, poetry provides a window onto the movement talking to itself. It is in verse that militants most clearly articulate the fantasy life of jihad.
“Al-shi‘r diwan al-‘arab,” runs an ancient maxim: “Poetry is the record of the Arabs”—an archive of historical experience and the epitome of their literature. The authority of verse has no rival in Arabic culture. The earliest poems were composed by desert nomads in the centuries before the revelation of the Koran. The poems are in monorhyme and one of sixteen canonical metres, making them easy to memorize. The poets were tribal spokesmen, celebrating the virtues of their kin, cursing their enemies, recalling lost loves, and lamenting the dead, especially those killed in battle. The Koran has harsh words for these pre-Islamic troubadours. “Only those who have strayed follow the poets,” the Surah of the Poets reads. “Do you not see that they wander lost in every valley, and say what they do not do?” But the poets could not be written off so easily, and Muhammad often found it useful to co-opt them. A number of tribal poets converted and became his companions, praising him in life and elegizing him after his death.
Arabic culture of the classical period—roughly, the eighth to the thirteenth century—was centered in the caliphal courts of Damascus, Baghdad, and Córdoba. Although most poets now lived far from the pasture grounds of the tribal bards, and written texts had replaced oral compositions, the basic features of the art lived on. Poetic metres were essentially unchanged. The key genres—poems of praise and blame and elegies for the dead—were maintained, and new modes grew out of the old material. In the urbane atmospheres of the courts, the wine song, which had been a minor element in the old poetry, became a full-fledged genre.
Contemporary poets writing in Arabic both read and translate a wide range of verse from abroad, and for many of them free verse and prose poetry are the norm. But, though the old models have lost some of their force, there is still a remarkable continuity of poetic expression. For educated Arabic speakers, the language of the classical period is relatively easy to enjoy. The humblest bookseller in Cairo or Damascus will stock editions of medieval verse, and pre-Islamic poems are assigned to high-school students.
Furthermore, the old poetry is alive and well in the popular sphere. Among the most successful television programs in the Middle East is “Sha‘ir al-Milyoon” (“Millionaire Poet,” but also “Poet of the People”), which is modelled on “American Idol.” Every season, amateurs from across the Arab world recite their own verse in front of a large and appreciative studio audience in Abu Dhabi. Winners of the competition receive up to 1.3 million dollars—more than the Nobel Prize in Literature, as the show’s boosters are fond of pointing out. Last year, the program had seventy million viewers worldwide. The poems recited on “Sha‘ir al-Milyoon” are highly conventional in form and content. They evoke the beauties of the beloved and of the homeland, praise the generosity of local leaders, or lament social ills. According to the rules of the show, they must be metered and rhymed, and the judges’ comments often zero in on contestants’ technique. The show has produced a number of literary celebrities. In 2010, a Saudi woman named Hissa Hilal became an audience favorite after reciting a poem criticizing hard-line Saudi clerics. During the Arab Spring, an Egyptian man, Hisham Algakh, appeared on a spinoff show reciting several poems in support of the demonstrators at Tahrir. He became a media star, and soon his poems were being recited in the square itself.
The views expressed in jihadi poetry are, of course, more bloodthirsty than anything on “Sha‘ir al-Milyoon”: Shiites, Jews, Western powers, and rival factions are relentlessly vilified and threatened with destruction. Yet it is recognizably a subset of this popular art form. It is sentimental—even, at times, a little kitsch—and it is communal rather than solitary. Videos of groups of jihadis reciting poems or tossing back and forth the refrain of a song are as easy to find as videos of them blowing up enemy tanks. Poetry is understood as a social art rather than as a specialized profession, and practitioners take pleasure in showing off their technique.
That’s not all, folks…
The Clarion Project: Dabiq, the Islamic State’s (ISIS, ISIL) magazine:
All of the issues of the Islamic State’s glossy propaganda magazine ‘Dabiq,’ named after a key site in Muslim apocalypse mythology can be found here.