Note yet again the specifically and inescapably Islamic nature of the appeal -- the one aspect that Western analysts dismiss as unimportant. "Jihad Selfies: These British Extremists in Syria Love Social Media," by Aris Roussinos for Vice, December 5:
Above are two other recent British martyrs, Choukri Ellekhlifi, 22, and Mohammed el-Araj, 23. The pair are shown here at a jihadist internet café in Atmeh, a Syrian border town that is now firmly under ISIS control. After they died, another British fighter wrote this glowing tribute to el-Araj on Facebook:
“This brother need no introduction. Those who knew him knew he was always working for his deen [religion]! He had the best manners, he came with a brother and left this world with the brother! They where tight and where both at the top of their classes and within a month where graduated as commandos and started teaching others! They both got married and left their wives within a week an went fi sabilillah [for the sake of Allah] coz they cud not sit around whilst the ummah [global Muslim community] was in this state! They were harsh towards the disbelievers and humble towards those who breathed la illaha illa llah ["there is no god but Allah"], they didn't bother arguing with a Muslim even if they where in the right! Wollahi [I swear to Allah] they stood out from amongst those who are the best of us in jihaad! May Allah the all mighty, the all wise, the magnificent, the ruler over all, the king of all kings accept all their efforts, forgive them their sins, allow us to reunite with them, keep firm those whom they left behind, keep us all steadfast upon the haqq [truth] and to earn HIS Allah swt pleasures until HE the supreme looks at us and smiles! Peace and blessing be to the best of man kind our beloved muhammed s.a.w, his family and the sahaba [companions] r.a. My brother philistini who beat us to the finish line! We soon come insha ALLAH ta'la.”
"They were harsh towards the disbelievers": "Muhammad is the messenger of allah. And those with him are harsh against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves." -- Qur'an 48:29
The high casualty rate suffered by British and other European jihadists – referred to in the martyr tributes below – at least partially refutes claims by the relatively secular FSA rebels that ISIS and their allies rarely, if ever, fight the regime:
The quote on the photo is from the Qur'an. The "green birds" reference below is from this hadith: "It has been narrated on the authority of Masruq Who said: We asked 'Abdullah about the Qur'anic verse: 'Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they are alive, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord..' (iii. 169). He said: We asked the meaning of the verse (from the Holy Prophet) who said: The souls of the martyrs live in the bodies of green birds who have their nests in chandeliers hung from the throne of the Almighty. They eat the fruits of Paradise from wherever they like and then nestle in these chandeliers. Once their Lord cast a glance at them and said: Do ye want anything? They said: What more shall we desire? We eat the fruit of Paradise from wherever we like. Their Lord asked them the same question thrice. When they saw that they will continue to be asked and not left (without answering the question). they said: O Lord, we wish that Thou mayest return our souls to our bodies so that we may be slain in Thy way once again. When He (Allah) saw that they had no need, they were left (to their joy in heaven)." -- Sahih Muslim 4651
The headlight reads "Allah."
General background from the Vice article:
After being publicly sacked by al Qaeda leader Aymann al-Zawahiri and accidentally beheading a fighter from one of their main allies in Syria, it’s fair to say the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)’s PR campaign has suffered in recent weeks. So, like any half decent group of militant extremists, they're obviously keen to address this slip. Unfortunately, a traditional media outreach is very difficult for them, given ISIS’s policy of kidnapping journalists. So they've turned, like many before them, to social media.
Over the past few weeks, foreign fighters from ISIS and their subgroup the Muhajireen Brigade have been busy uploading selfies across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, in an effort to publicise their cause and win more recruits to the Syrian jihad. They offer a bizarre and fascinating look inside Syria’s most feared and least understood militant groups.
On paper, the Muhajireen Brigade are separate to ISIS, but they're considered by some analysts to be a front group for the larger jihadist outfit. The social media evidence seems to support this view....