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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

ISIS ‘Media Knights’ Told to Be ‘More Severe and Painful Than Bullets’ and ‘Strengthen Media War’

ISIS' "heroes of the media warfare" are advised to "never be overtaken by exhaustion, boredom, hopelessness" and to "enhance your activities to achieve even better results."

“Media knights” should redouble their efforts to do battle wielding social media, videos and online publications and could qualify for a reward “equal to that of shooting arrows and in some cases even more than that,” ISIS Khorasan declared in a new issue of the group’s English-language magazine.

Voice of Khurasan is on its 23rd issue, which is 68 pages long. An article titled “Strengthen the Media War” depicting a grenade studded with computer keys states that this “intellectual warfare is becoming more complicated day by day” with what they claim are “a lot of suspicions and deceptions” spread by their foes.

“The prominent social media outlets (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Telegram, etc.) are an effective tool of kuffar [disbelievers], and there is nothing to wonder about the fact that if statements, audios, videos, and other media releases of the Khilafah are publicly published on the social media pages and channels, they are immediately removed,” the article said on a page with an image of a computer mouse styled into a tank, complaining that social media companies allow and promote “propaganda” against ISIS.

Despite the censors, ISIS-K says, “Taliban militias have gone mad now, as they are wondering how to thwart the media lions of the Khilafah.”

“So, the media knights! Are you aware of the value of your Media Jihad?” the article continues. “Do you know that the work of your pen and tongue is not less deadly than the slashes of sword in support of the Sacred Islam? Sometimes, your ‘Haidari blows’ are more severe and painful than the bullets leaving mujahidin’s guns and piercing the chests of kuffar and muratddin [apostates].”

The article proceeds to cite hadiths for several pages extolling the “virtues and excellence” of media operations that “are said to be more effective than arrows, so, Allah willing, the reward of a media mujahid will be equal to that of shooting arrows and in some cases even more than that.” One page depicts a hooded individual clutching a time bomb shaped like a laptop computer.

ISIS’ “heroes of the media warfare” are advised to “never be overtaken by exhaustion, boredom, hopelessness, or numerous threats, doubts, helplessness, lack of possibilities, and other worries,” and to “enhance your activities to achieve even better results.”

“We have been spreading the real concept of Islam, and we have prepared ourselves for an all-around struggle in the path of the establishment of the Islamic system, so it is necessary to use our talents in this field,” the article states, concluding with a call for backers to support ISIS-K’s media department “in every possible way, including media related works.”

In April 2022, Voice of Khurasan argued that concerted focus on “social media warfare” is critical to advance on the ideological battlefield but also in order to counter the pull of “enchanting” social media influencers.

“War comes in many form and targets different aspects of humans. A war can be fought militarily targeting physical self or it can be fought ideologically targeting intellect,” the magazine said in its third issue. “As much importance the physical clashes hold ideological confrontations also matter if not more. The physical battle can be lost even before it starts if people, in our case Muslims, are defeated or at the least trapped in the battle for the hearts and minds.”

ISIS said that the goal of the West’s “ideological battle is to try and counter the true Islamic ideology which Crusaders claim as ‘radical and dogmatic interpretations of Islam’, and make sons of Islam follow the wishy-washy version of Islam that is against jihad, full implementation of Shari’ah and its religious punishments.”

The following month, the magazine’s fifth issue declared that disseminating disinformation is a “duty” of jihadists in order to deceive and ultimately divide their foes and should be considered “part of the war policy.”

“By all its types whether audio, visual, paper, satellite or internet,” using various forms of media “is a necessity and is also urgent in order to propagate and cause defeatism and demoralization of the enemy, and show the strength of the mujahideen,” said the latest issue. “…Therefore the media and all its technologies must be used by the da’ees [callers to Islam] and mujahideen to spread fear into the hearts of the enemy and to terrify them so that they do not think to stand in front of the Muslims ever.”

Deploying different types of weaponry is critical for “demonstrating strength,” ISIS argues, as is “spreading rumors to strike fear into the heart of the enemy.”

“If we can shake the chain of the enemy and divide them that is part of the war policy to divide them and defeat them,” the article continued. “…Spreading the rumors is therefore a duty upon the Muslim armies to cause fragmentation of the enemy because that disunity will demoralise them significantly.”

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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