The Islamic State (ISIS) regularly puts out a glossy propaganda magazine aimed at recruiting jihadists from the West. It is sophisticated, slick, beautifully produced and printed in several languages including English.
In order to combat extremist groups, it is critical to understand their underlying ideology. Therefore, Clarion Project will continue to post the issues of Dabiq and Rumiyah here as they are released.
See all the magazine issues below.
Rumiyah is a new Islamic State magazine that is shorter than the previous magazine, Dabiq. It focuses on putting forward the group’s political and theological stance, explaining why opposition to the group is heretical and gloating about terrorist attacks.
The title refers to Rome, which the Islamic State wishes to conquer, both as a political goal but also as a symbolic one, since they view Western civilization as a continuation of the ancient Roman Empire, against which the early Muslims fought.
The seventh issue of the Islamic State’s propaganda magazine Rumiyah breaks with the others in having a title “Establishing the Islamic State Between the Prophetic Methodology and the Paths of the Deviants.”
It asks why the other Islamist movements failed to establish Caliphates despite claiming to want to do so and sets out why they feel the Islamic State is the only true Caliphate.
The issue also calls on its fighters to trust in Allah alone and also takes time to criticize the hypocrisy of western powers allying with the Assad regime despite claiming to oppose him.
The sixth issue of the Islamic State’s propaganda magazine Rumiyah mocked and criticized the ceasefire negotiations which took place between various armed Syrian opposition factions and the Assad regime.
It praises the terrorist attack on a nightclub in Istanbul that killed 39 people on New Year’s Eve.
It continues to disparage the idea there is any place that is safe from attacks by ISIS and that Muslims and non-Muslims can ever coexist. Loyalty and unity with ISIS are the central themes of this issue.
The fifth issue of the Islamic State’s propaganda magazine Rumiyah attacks the Muslim enemies of the Islamic State for forming alliances with non-Muslim powers, in particular highlighting relations between Russia and Turkey.
It launches into an explanation of why it is permissible to kill civilians in the cause of jihad, including women and children.
Other sections included instructions on how to make a Molotov cocktail and a brief history of the Murabitun Empire in medieval Islamic North Africa. Women are also exhorted to bear children to bolster the size of the ISIS population.
The Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL) Magazine: Rumiyah (Issue Five)
The fourth issue of the Islamic State’s propaganda magazine Rumiyah called on supporters to migrate to Islamic State held territory despite the losses suffered by the group in its wars. It boasts about military exploits and interviews the “Wali” (governor) of Tarablus in Libya.
It also includes an explanation of which Islamic scholars are deemed acceptable to follow, particularly citing Salafi favorites Ibn Taymiyya and Al-Wahhab.
An extract from Ibn Taymiyya’s writings is reprinted. The theme of patience and waiting for an eventual victory runs throughout the issue.
The third issue of the Islamic State’s propaganda magazine Rumiyah attacks as traitors to Islam the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey. The issue includes a written message by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and detailed instructions about the best way to carry out a terrorist attack with a truck.
Rumiyah continues with an obituary for a dead fighter and exhortations to monotheism and obedience to the Islamic State. They also chronicle the career of the medieval Iranian monarch Sultan Mahmud al-Ghaznawi, praising him for his invasions of Hindu India.
The second issue of the Islamic State’s new propaganda magazine Rumiyah boasts about terrorist attacks in Kenya and Bangladesh, while explaining to supporters in the West the best way to carry out a knife attack.
Other articles continue with the Islamic State’s traditional themes of slaughtering the unbelievers and submitting to their self-proclaimed caliphate.
The first issue of the Islamic State’s new propaganda magazine Rumiyah focuses on the group’s concept of monotheism, explaining why they regard any deviation from their strict code as a betrayal of Islam punishable by death.
An interview with the “amir” of ISIS’ Central Office for Investigating Grievances in an attempt to portray the group as sincerely concerned with law and order and with providing those under its rule an avenue to appeal to the Islamic State for redress should citizens be mistreated by their soldiers.
The Islamic State’s first propaganda magazine is titled Dabiq.
Dabiq as it is called, bills itself as “a periodical magazine focusing on the issues of tawhid (unity), manhaj (truth-seeking), hijrah (migration), jihad (holy war) and jama’ah (community). It will also contain photo reports, current events, and informative articles on matters relating to the Islamic State.”
It portrays the Islamic State as they see themselves: boasting of their victories and painting a romantic image of the restoration of an Islamic golden age and the heralding of a “glorious” new caliphate based on holy war.
Dabiq is a place in Syria that is supposed to be the location for one of the final battles according to certain Muslim myths about a final apocalypse. Choosing such a name for the magazine highlights the caliphate’s goals.
The fifteenth issue of the Islamic State’s Dabiq magazine is called Breaking the Cross and is targeted at discrediting Christianity and Western secularism. Unlike previous issues which have primarily been directed at Muslim majority societies, this issue is full of propaganda aimed at converting non-Muslims to Islam.
Sections include “Why we hate you and fight you” along with a conversion story “Why I came to Islam” from a former Christian woman from Finland. The main feature “Breaking the Cross” is an extended rebuttal of Christian and Jewish theology which sets forth the arguments to believe in Islam.
Issue fourteen of the Islamic State’s magazine is entitled The Murtadd Brotherhood, referring to the Egyptian Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood as apostates. In addition to sections praising the terrorists who carried out the attack on Brussels airport on March 22, Dabiq features a section attacking the legitimacy of the Muslim Brotherhood. It also exhorts ISIS supporters to kill a slew of Muslim leaders living in the West, some of whom are linked to the Brotherhood or hold Islamist views. Regular features boasting of alleged military victories, praising departed fighters and advertising ISIS videos are also included.
The thirteenth issue of the Islamic State’s propaganda magazine is called The Rafidah: From Ibn Sa’ba to the Dajjal. Rafidah is a pejorative term for Shi’ite while the Dajjal is an antichrist figure in Muslim eschatology. The magazine opens by praising the San Bernardino attacks which killed 14 people in California. It goes on to attack Saudi Arabia’s legitimacy and heavily criticize the history of Shiite Islam in Iran. Jihadi John received a full two page obituary in the recurring section ‘Among the Believers are Men’ and the ‘To Our Sisters’ section provides advice on the correct way to mourn a martyred husband.
The twelth issue of the Islamic State’s propaganda magazine is entitled Just Terror. It boasts about the terrorist attacks in Paris, the double-bombing in Beirut, and the downing of a Russian plane in Sinai among other attacks. It spins terrorism in the language of a fairy story, referring to terrorists as “knights,” acting to defend Muslim honor. This issue is also striking for the high number of Islamic State propaganda videos it advertizes, a sign of increased output in that area. Other pieces continue long-running themes, including attacking the legitimacy of other Islamist factions, recounting its military victories and attacking women who oppose polygyny as opposing Islam.
The eleventh issue of the Islamic State’s propaganda magazine is called From the Battle of Al-Ahzab to the War of Coalitions. Al-Ahzab refers to a battle in the Quran between a coalition of Meccan tribes and the nascent forces of Islam. ISIS attacks al-Qaeda and castigates the Taliban for concealing the death of Mullah Omar. ISIS also accuses the Shiite messiah (Mahdi) of being the dajjal (devil) in league with the Jews. More is directed at women, who are urged to have children and care for their jihadi husbands.
ISIS also tout their establishment of gold dinars as currency and boast of having captured a Norwegian and a Chinese hostage, who are offered up for ransom in full page adverts.
The tenth issue of the Islamic State’s Dabiq magazine is called The Laws of All or the Laws of Men. It opened by praising the deadly simultaneous terror attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait and France and the massive casualties caused. It calls on children to obey Allah (ie. ISIS) before their parents and wives to leave their husbands who fight ISIS. It also boasts of expansions in the Caucasus and recruitment in Afghanistan.
Since it is the Ramadan issue, it discusses the historical victories of some of the early Muslim armies during Ramadan as well as expounding on the holiness of the month.
The ninth issue of the Islamic State’s Dabiq magazine is called They Plot and Allah Plots, referring to the central feature of the magazine which argues that Islamic State supporters should not fear any plans to defeat them since Allah controls the world. The issue focuses on legitimacy – both attacking that of its enemies in Syria and the surrounding Arab nations, and in building up its own, with pieces on the importance of jihad.
Most shockingly this issue ran a lengthy segments admitting to and justifying sex slavery. It threatens to sell US first Lady Michelle Obama into sexual slavery for a third of a dinar.
The eighth issue of the Islamic State’s Dabiq magazine is called Shari’ah Alone Will Rule Africa. Like other issues of Dabiq it focuses on Islamic State successes, leaving out the group’s defeats in strategic areas of Iraq and Syria to focus on Africa. It emphasizes the pledge of allegiance from Boko Haram in Nigeria and terror attacks in Libya and Tunisia. It tries to portray an organization with a future by glorifying its child soldier program and undermining the legitimacy of Al-Qaeda affiliat Jabhat al-Nusra by attacking its allies as ‘nationalists’ and therefore un-Islamic.
The seventh issue of the Islamic State’s Dabiq magazine is entitled From Hypocrisy to Apostasy. It begins with a declaration of war against Japan. Dabiq then boasts about the murder of the Jordanian pilot by immolation, before going on to give advice for would be leaders within the Islamic State. It reiterates their commitments to war, arguing that “Islam is the religion of the sword.” It then proceeds to tout its successes in Egypt and Libya. It reiterates its division of the world into two camps and includes interviews with jihadists and hostage John Cantlie.
The sixth issue of Dabiq is called “Al-Qa’idah of Waziristan: A Testimony From Within.” This issue begins by taking responsibility for the terrorist attack in Sydney that killed two at St. Martin’s place and again calls on the Islamic State’s supporters worldwide to carry out killings of Westerners whenever and wherever they can without revealing their intentions by discussing them. Most of the rest of the magazine focuses on internal jihadi disputes, criticizing the Islamic State’s detractors from within the jihadi movement.
The fifth issue of Dabiq is named after the Islamic State slogan, ‘Remaining and Expanding.’ In this theme, it announces the expansion of the Islamic State into Sinai, Libya, Yemen, Algeria and the Arabian Peninsula after accepting pledges of loyalty (bay’ah) from terrorist groups there. It also announces the minting of gold dinars and silver dirhams in order to separate it from the international fiat currency markets and build the economy of the Islamist state.
The fourth issue of Dabiq is entitled “The Failed Crusade.” It focuses on the attempts by the U.S.-led coalition to counter the Islamic State and mocks what the Islamists regard as a campaign doomed to fail. They express their certainty saying “This religion is the one promised with victory.” The picture on the cover is of the iconic St. Peter’s Square in Rome, displaying the group’s ambitions of world conquest.
The third issue of Dabiq, “The Call to Hijrah” focus
es on the jihadists’ call to Muslims worldwide to move to Iraq and Syria to join the caliphate as soon as possible. Hijrah is Arabic for ‘migration’ and refers to the journey of the founder of Islam, Mohammed, and his companions from Mecca to Medinah in 622 C.E. The comparison is very deliberate and intended to invoke religious nostalgia.
The second issue of Dabiq, “The Flood,” uses the metaphor of the story of Noah to put across a stark message: you are either with the Islamic State, or against them and doomed to be destroyed. It calls on all Muslims around the world to pledge loyalty to the Islamic State and to move there immediately. There is also a section on the attempts to resolve the disputes between the Islamic State and other Jihadi factions such as Jabhat al-Nusra by means of mubahalah, an Islamic religious arbitration process.
The first issue of Dabiq, “The Return of Khilafah” is focused on the declaration of the caliphate and what that means. Some of the ideology behind the group is explained in an attempt to persuade more Muslims to join. It also explains the name of the magazine, and boasts of ISIS’ victories. It also talks about efforts made to build support among local tribal groups, reporting their pledges of loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghadi, the self-appointed caliph of the Islamic State.
In order to combat extremist groups, it is important to understand their underlying ideology. Therefore, Clarion Project will continue to post the issues of Dabiq here as they are released.
Imagery from Dabiq – issue one