Children are symbols of innocence and purity, and are employed in jihadi imagery to evoke notions of pride, honor and injustice. Images of young children, usually boys, also suggest the emergence of a new generation of jihadi fighters who will continue to tread down the same path of resistance as their fathers before them. This idea is expressed in the image by the young boy clutching a weapon. His figure holds center stage between the picture of the fighters in the bottom right corner and the face of Usama bin Ladin on the left. The appearance of bin Ladin in the image ties the struggle portrayed here with the global jihadi movement and al-Qa’ida in particular.

The black banner on the right side of the image traces its roots to prophetic times. According to hadith (prophetic tradition or report), the black flag was the battle flag of the Prophet Muhammad and it was carried into battle by many of his companions.

In the contemporary Islamist movement, the black flag with the shahada (Islamic testimony of faith holding that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger) is used to evoke notions of jihad and of reestablishing the Islamic Caliphate. The black headband on the child’s head also bears the shahada. The caption is a partial text of a hadith that reads as follows: “qala rasul Allah, salla Allah ‘alayhi wa-sallam: …thumma takun khilafatun ‘ala minhaj al-nubuwwa” (“the Prophet, Allah’s blessing and peace be upon him, said: …and then there will be a caliphate according to the custom of the Prophet”).

More Information
Group Name AQ
Group Type Jihadist Group
Dominant Colors Black
Secondary Colors White
Language Arabic
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans 1) shahada 2) qala rasul Allah, salla Allah `alayhi wa-sallam: ... thumma takun khilafatun `ala minhaj al-nubuwwa
Image Number 0176
Groups Region of Operation Global
Weapons Firearms, Automatic / Assault Rifle
Body Parts Face / Bust
Geopolitical Symbols Non-country Flag, Slogan
Geopolitical Analysis Black fag with text of shahada
People Group Leader / Influential figure, Operational Leader, Operative / Warrior (=mujahid), Man / Men, Child
People Analysis Usama b. Ladin
Religious Textual References Hadith Text, Shahada, Use of Calligraphy
Religious Textual References Analysis La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad rasul Allah
Religious Symbols Black / White / Green Banners

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