It is believed that Muslim martyrs will be highly rewarded in the afterlife for their sacrifice and that they hold a special position in heavenly paradise. It is therefore not surprising that martyrdom is a central theme in jihadi visual propaganda. The caption at the bottom of this image is a verse from a widespread poem that is very popular in conservative-mainstream Islamic circles, as well as among jihadists. It reads: “aqsamtu illa an a‘isha bi-‘izzati, bi-karamati, aw an taduqqa ‘izami(ya)” (“I swore that I would live by my honor and dignity, or my bones will be pulverized”). ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Muqrin, the figure in the image, was the head of al-Qa’ida in Saudi Arabia and the mastermind behind the suicide bombing of a residential housing compound in Riyadh on 8 November 2003, in which seventeen people were killed. The last operation commanded by ‘Abd al-‘Aziz was probably the 18 June 2004 beheading of the American hostage Paul Johnson. It was reported that a few hours after this operation, when ‘Abd al-‘Aziz was moving the American engineer’s body, he was killed after being surrounded by local Saudi forces. Here, he is shown against a white background of light evoking notions of death (in the state of purity), shrouds, grief and mourning. The dove above the figure signals to the viewer that ‘Abd al-‘Aziz successfully attained martyrdom. Doves in Islam are considered sacred, since a dove is believed to have protected Muhammad on his nocturnal journey. The dove is also a symbol of loving fidelity, which is manifested by its wearing a collar of dark feathers around its neck, called “the dove’s necklace.”

More Information
Group Name AQAP
Group Type Jihadist Group
Group Affiliation AQ Affiliates / Associates
Dominant Colors Blue, White
Secondary Colors Black, Yellow
Language Arabic
Visual or Textual Reference to Significant Recent Events
Date EntryAnalysis Entry
Visual reference to `Abd al-`Aziz al-Muqrin's death 6/18/2004
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans 1) aqsamtu illa an a`isha bi-`izzati, bi-karamati, aw an taduqqa `izami(ya)
Image Number 0157
Groups Region of Operation Middle East
Groups Country of Operation Saudi Arabia
Weapons Firearms, Automatic / Assault Rifle
Body Parts Face / Bust
Fire Light Rays / Light
Geopolitical Symbols Slogan
People Group Leader / Influential figure, Operational Leader, Operative / Warrior (=mujahid), Man / Men
People Analysis `Abd al-`Aziz al-Muqrin
Fauna Dove / Default Bird

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