Islamic terrorists embrace a stone-age ideology. However, these organizations have also embraced contemporary technology and techniques of persuasion. Those targeted as worthy of death by these jihadists need to recognize just how culturally aware and strategically savvy they have become.
Dabiq 15, the latest issue of ISIS’s online propaganda magazine, includes the following photo and caption on page 27:
This is the Arlington Cemetery headstone of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, the son of Democratic National Convention speaker Khizr Khan. Mr. Khan is a Muslim, as was his heroic son.
The above picture and caption — “Beware of dying as an apostate” — were included in Dabiq 15 within an article heavily quoting Koranic passages regarding what punishment is due to a Muslim, both in this life and in the afterlife, who has strayed from the duty of jihad.
ISIS is communicating that Captain Khan had strayed, and was thus killed and is currently being punished in the afterlife.
In particular, the article quotes Muhammad himself on the topic:
Indeed, the Prophet said, “Whoever dies unbound by a bay’ah (pledge of allegiance) has died a jahili [ignorant of Muhammad’s teachings] death” (Muslim). And he said, “Whoever dislikes something in his leader, let him be patient. For whoever leaves the obedience of lawful authority, even a hand span (and dies), has died the death of Jahiliyyah” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
After this discussion implicating Captain Khan and his Mohammad-dictated fate, the article includes the following photo of the 2015 terror attack on a Marine recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tennessee:
Alongside this second photo, the Dabiq 15 article commands Muslims on how to perform a terror attack:
As for a final word of advice to you regarding your operation, do not make intricate plans, but instead, keep it simple and effective. If you can obtain a weapon, do so and use it, as soon as possible and in a place that will cause the most damage and panic, bringing death and injury to the enemy of Allah, the disbelievers. Just as they terrify the Muslims in the lands of Islam, so should you terrify the disbelievers in their homelands. But unlike them, your terror shall be just, an equitable response to their crimes against Islam and the Muslim nation.
ISIS, with this article and these two photos, is sending a message to its supporters that Captain Khan and other Muslims who serve in the United States Armed Forces — and presumably Muslims who serve within the forces of any Western nation — should be killed. And how.
Clearly, ISIS has spent the prior two weeks engaged in these activities:
a) Monitoring the Democratic and Republican political conventions, and;
b) Doing so with an eye towards exploiting the conventions’ developments for recruitment and targeting purposes.
The West must better understand just how plugged in Islamic jihadists are to popular culture, and how prepared they are to quickly respond with a next move.
Our heroic Muslim servicemen appear to have explicitly been targeted with a savvy, persuasive — what could be more persuasive to potential jihadis than a direct quote from Muhammad on the topic? — response within mere days of the Democratic National Convention.