The image here is a DVD cover of a recording of Abu Mus‘ab al-Suri, a top jihadi strategist. He is described as “min alma‘ mufakkiri al-qa‘ida tamma rasd khamsat malayin dular min qibali al-hukuma al-amrikiyya lil-qabd ‘alayhi” (“one of al-Qa‘ida’s brightest thinkers for whom the American government has offered a sum of 5 million dollar for his capture”). The cover portrays the recording as “jalsa ma‘a shabab bilad al-haramayn; min akhtar ma qila ‘an al-wad‘ fi bilad al-haramayn wa-mustaqbal al-haraka al-jihadiyya” (“a meeting Saudi youth; one of the most interesting accounts of the situation in Saudi Arabia and the future of the jihadi movement”).

Religious leaders are seen as pious individuals who possess proper religious training and credentials, and thus are considered the chief religious ideologues of the jihadi movement. Their firebrand sermons and sensationalist writings, distributed throughout the Muslim world, are key motivational tools used for recruiting and inspiring jihadi activists. It is therefore not surprising that such leaders are common motifs in jihadi imagery and are used as symbols of the religious piety espoused by the jihadi movement. Their images serve to religiously legitimize jihadi groups and promote activism along purely Islamic lines. As a strategic leader, the figure serves as an example of someone who is both a religiously pious individual and a militarily successful jihadi commander doing God’s work.


More Information
Group Name AQ
Group Type Jihadist Group
Dominant Colors Black, Brown
Secondary Colors Blue, Red, Yellow
Language Arabic
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans Abu Mus`ab al-Suri: min alma` mufakkiri al-qa`ida tamma rasd khamsat malayin dular min qibali al-hukuma al-amrikiyya lil-qabd `alayhi
Image Number 0137
Groups Region of Operation Global
Groups Country of Operation Saudi Arabia
Body Parts Face / Bust
Fire Flames
Geopolitical Symbols Slogan
People Group Leader / Influential figure, Spiritual Leader / Idealogue, Man / Men
People Analysis Abu Mus`ab al-Suri
Topography Desert Dunes
Visual Themes At the bottom of the image is a desert landscape, which is often depicted in jihadi visual propaganda as dunes or drifts, as they are important markers of Islam and Arab traditions and identity.

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