This image was created by or for Jama‘at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (JTJ or Society for Monotheism and Jihad, also known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq), as indicated by the appearance of the group’s logo on the image. The organization was initially led by Abu Mus‘ab al-Zarqawi, but became part of the al-Qa‘ida network in Iraq under the official name Tanzim Qa‘idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn in 2004.

The banners in the bottom circles resemble the classic black flag with the text of the shahada (Islamic testimony of faith holding that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger), which 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. The image of the black flag has been used as a symbol of religious revolt and engagement in battle (i.e., jihad). In the contemporary Islamist movement, the black flag is used to evoke notions of jihad and of reestablishing the Islamic Caliphate.

In the top circle, above the head of Usama bin Ladin, appears a green banner, which is often used synonymously with the black and white flags in jihadi imagery.  Another element in the image is the appearance of clasped hands. The hands grasped in a handshake are a symbol of unity between al-Qa‘ida and the greater jihadi movement. In this manner, the image is able to connect the concerns and activities of al-Qa‘ida with those of its associates/ affiliates and other jihadi groups and Muslim entities. Each circle contains a slogan at the bottom, in addition to the calligraphical representation of the shahada on the banners. Under bin Ladin, the slogan reads: “kulluna ma‘ak didda al-tawaghit” (“we’re all with you against the tawaghit [evil idols]”). The bottom right slogan reads: “yadan bi-yadin ma‘a al-mujahidin” (“hand in hand with the mujahidin [fighters]”); and the bottom left: “hamlat al-tadamun al-Islami didda al-tawaghit” (“the Islamic solidarity campaign against the tawaghit [evil idols]”).

More Information
Group Name Jama`at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (JTJ), aka AQI
Group Type Jihadist Group
Group Affiliation AQ Affiliates / Associates
Dominant Colors Green, Black
Secondary Colors Blue, White, Red
Language Arabic
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans 1) "kulluna ma`ak didda al-tawaghit" [we're all with you against the tawaghit (evil idols)]. 2) "yadan bi-yadin ma`a al-mujahidin" [hand in hand with the mujahidin (fighters)], 3) "hamlat al-tadamun al-Islami didda al-tawaghit" [the Islamic solidarity campaign against the tawaghit (evil idols)].
Image Number 0214
Groups Region of Operation Middle East
Groups Country of Operation Iraq
Body Parts Face / Bust
Fire Light Rays / Light
Geopolitical Symbols Non-country Flag, Symbol of party, movement or company, Slogan
Geopolitical Analysis Black flag with text of shahada. Jama`at al-tawhid wal-Jihad (JTJ) aka AQI logo - globe with open Qur'an in front and black banner on rifle mast
People Group Leader / Influential figure, Operational Leader, Operative / Warrior (=mujahid), Man / Men
People Analysis Usama b. Ladin
Religious Textual References 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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