This image features a young Usama bin Ladin (likely taken from his early days in Afghanistan), a mosque and the omnipresent black flag– all visual themes frequently incorporated in jihadist propaganda.
The caption in this image reads: “wa-la tansawna wal-mujahidin min salih du‘a’ikum” (“do not forget us and the mujahidin [fighters] from your venerable prayers”). It is a common expression, used frequently by jihadists. Muslims across sectarian lines share a reverence for many holy sites, although some sites might hold special significance for certain groups. The black of the banner on the left is a dominant feature of jihadist imagery. 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, usually bearing the shahada (Islamic testimony of faith holding that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger), 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.