A November 2020 image circulated online by ISIS supporters depicting a terrorist beheading the French president. (ISIS supporters’ image)

ISIS Magazine Encourages Terrorists to Try Vehicle Arson, ‘Sharpened Pencil’ Attacks

The latest issue of an English-language magazine released by ISIS supporters encourages would-be terrorists to use novel tactics — including vehicle arson and sharp pencils — and tells perpetrators that they should refrain from claiming an attack on behalf of the terror group if they think they can strike again.

“The Voice of Hind,” released monthly by ISIS supporters in India, also included a full-page graphic with a cross and the words “25 December – O priests of the cross, the time for revenge has come.”

An article “from brothers in Maldives” on how to “be a source of incitement and motivation” cautioned followers about criticizing lone jihadists who achieve only minimal success with their terror plots, saying that praising operations “will increase their motivation… even if you did not see the expected results from the work of your brother, do not denounce and condemn him.”

“Sometimes the efforts of your brother may look small and insignificant, yet it may have brought about great benefit which is not to be seen apparently,” the magazine stated, adding it should be a “general rule” for jihadists “that you acknowledge the work of your brother despite its insufficiency to meet demand” in order to inspire more terrorists.

The article says jihadists should focus on homegrown attacks as a “hiding lone wolf” in target countries, as attacks in countries with known claimed ISIS provinces are expected and “can be considered less triggering to the Kuffar [disbelievers].”

Citing late ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani’s exhortation for homegrown jihadists to find any possible weapon, the article declares that “there are plenty of weapons everywhere for the one who seeks it.”

“So, if they are keeping you from acquiring lethal weapons, then let them know that a sharpened pencil can be used to shed a Kaffir’s blood,” the text continues. “Or an arson attack can be given to his motorbike or car which would would pain him in his heart. Therefore, incite and encourage each other for such actions.”

The article encourages jihadists to steer clear of people “who might try to demotivate you” and “do not focus on getting back at them with words, rather set examples with your actions.”

Terrorists are also advised to exercise patience as “it might be better that you sacrifice yourself with something big, rather than getting caught by the Kuffar while attempting something small.”

“It can be better that you attack and quickly hide, only to look out for another opportunity to strike again,” the magazine continues. “And sometimes it might be better that you delay taking responsibility at all.”

“The Voice of Hind,” which began publishing in February, has somewhat stepped into the void — left by the demise of official ISIS publications “Dabiq” and “Rumiyah” — of regular English-language ISIS magazines offering tips and incitement. Though shorter in length, “Hind” has seized on current events to recruit and incite.

The second issue of “Voice of Hind,” released in March, encouraged attacks using simple weapons and tactics specifically targeting military and police officers who “have been deployed in their streets and alleys, thus making them an easy target” during the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic.

That issue also listed some ways to “annihilate the disbelievers,” including vehicle attacks, knife and ax attacks, arson, and poisoning food and drink.

Between its fourth and fifth editions, the creators released a “lockdown special” edition of the magazine encouraging steps to “annihilate the disbelievers” including stabbing people with scissors and expending “less effort” by spreading deadly coronavirus. The issue tried to goad followers into spreading the virus, calling it “a weapon far greater than stones” and adding, “What better chance can you get to kill the disbelievers in multitudes than COVID 19?”

In August, the magazine urged followers to “race” to emulate the Charlie Hebdo attack, arguing that governments aren’t doing enough to punish those viewed by the terror group as blasphemers. “If we do not become forceful, then the assaults on our religion… will continue,” the text stated, calling on supporters to “take revenge on each and every one who has insulted our beloved Messenger (PBUH).”

In September, the magazine lamented that some who are claiming affiliation to the terror group “don’t have any clue” and could use more propaganda education.

Days after French teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded outside his school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine in October, “Hind” published a full-page graphic urging more attacks and showing the severed head.

“If your freedom of expression doesn’t stop you from criticizing prophet Muhammad PBUH then our swords will not stop defending the honour of prophet Muhammad PBUH,” the image said, with a cutout photo of Paty’s head below a graphic of a sword.

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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 senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She 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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