ISIS is ushering in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan with videos reminding Muslims that it’s a “month of conquest” and highlighting the work of European fighters.
One video opens with images of airliners superimposed on a map, flying back and forth between Europe and the Islamic State. An airport arrivals board is altered to show — in the midst of flights from Las Vegas, Honolulu, San Francisco, Washington, Miami and Boston — the Islamic State, at Gate No. 20.
It’s also a call for Muslims to immigrate to the Islamic State instead of fleeing as refugees or living among the “kuffar,” or disbelievers. The video juxtaposes images of strife and arrests in Western countries, or cramped conditions in refugee camps and perilous raft journeys, with Ferris wheels and shops in the Islamic State.
And the video criticizes Pope Francis and the Vatican, with news footage of refugees warmly greeting or showing reverence to the Catholic leader.
The pope visited Syrian refugees in Greece in April, and brought back a dozen of them — all Muslims — as guests of the Vatican.
The video focuses largely on German ISIS fighter Abu Umar al-Almani, a Stuttgart-born telecommunications worker who went to join ISIS in 2014 and later took part in an execution video with an Austrian terrorist. In that video, Abu Umar urged Muslims in Germany to “attack the kuffar in their own homes, kill them wherever you find them.”
He was killed on March 16 in a suicide attack on Kurdish YPG units in Syria. The newly released video features conversations with Abu Umar in his native German as he readies for his suicide mission, interspersed with footage of Berlin. He’s also shown noshing on a baguette sandwich and spritzing on cologne with a smile at an Islamic State store.
When an animated re-enactment of the suicide attack is shown, the filmmakers show a Mercedes SUV heading for the Kurds — likely a nod to Germany instead of what vehicle was really used in the bombing.
In addition to showing various European fighters in the Islamic State, the video also shows footage of young male refugees getting papers in Greece.
A separate document was released online today with text pulled from a past issue of ISIS’ magazine showing the body of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi, who drowned in the Mediterranean last September as his family tried to flee Syria, warning of the “dangers” of “abandoning” the Islamic State. It gives Quran warnings against the “major sin” of taking one’s children to “territory governed by the Crusaders” for “atheism and immorality.”
“If the children did not fall into the abyss of disbelief, they remain under the constant threat of adultery, sodomy, drugs and alcohol,” the piece states.
In another, more rudimentary video released by ISIS’ Maktabat al-Himmah media office, Muslims are reminded that Ramadan — which begins Sunday evening — is the “month of conquest.”
Maps are shown with routes up through the Arabian Peninsula, over to Cyprus and the Greek Isles, into Spain from North Africa, to Sicily from Tunisia, and from northern Spain into southern France. Turkey and Israel are also shown as “conquest” targets.
It’s largely an animated revival of the map in the ISIS guide detailing how they plan to sack Rome. That book predicted the conquest of Rome by 2020, to be followed seven months later by the coming of the antichrist in their apocalyptic vision. ISIS also referenced Rome in another video this week.
An audio message released in May said, “Ramadan, the month of conquest and jihad. Get prepared, be ready … to make it a month of calamity everywhere for the non-believers … especially for the fighters and supporters of the caliphate in Europe and America.”
Another video released by the terror group this week was aimed at recruiting jihadis in West Africa, and featured ISIS fighters from places like Ghana and Nigeria toting their kids around the Islamic State and urging their countrymen to sign up for jihad.