Images of mountains are a common motif in jihadi visual propaganda that may allude to regions with completed or ongoing operations, such as Afghanistan, Chechnya and Kashmir. More generally, however, mountains evoke divine omnipotence, eternity and grandeur. Superimposed on the sun in the center is a common Islamic flower motif with an image of the Dome of the Rock, a black banner bearing the text of the shahada (Islamic testimony of faith holding that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger) and an AK47. The caption in the flower reads: “kata’ib fath al-islam” (“Fath al-Islam Brigades”).

The appearance of the Dome of the Rock is a common motif in jihadi imagery. Reverence for it is shared by all Muslims across sectarian lines, though it holds special significance for Palestinian groups who utilize it as a symbol of Palestinian statehood. It was built in 692 A.D. by the Umayyid caliph ‘Abd al-Malik on the site where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven in his mi‘raj (night journey), and it is considered the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and al-Madina. Because of its status in Islam, the Dome of the Rock is often used to code a message of inspiration for jihadi activism and the goal of martyrdom.

According to prophetic tradition (hadith), 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 with the shahada is used to evoke notions of jihad and of reestablishing the Islamic Caliphate.

More Information
Group Name Tanzim Fath al-Islam (alternate inaccurate pronunciation/transliteration in English "Fatah")
Group Type Jihadist Group
Group Affiliation Local Jihad (Independent entities with limited or no ties to international / external movements)
Dominant Colors Yellow, Gold, Red
Secondary Colors Black
Language Arabic
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans 1) shahada 2) fath al-islam
Image Number 0305
Groups Region of Operation Middle East
Groups Country of Operation Lebanon, Iraq, Israel/Palestine
Weapons Firearms, Automatic / Assault Rifle, AK47
Air Analysis Sun and Orange Sky
Air Celestial Bodies, Sky
Liquid Ripple
Fire Light Rays / Light
Geopolitical Symbols Non-country Flag, Symbol of party, movement or company, Slogan
Geopolitical Analysis Black flag with text of shahada (including the seal of the prophet). ISI/AQI/AQAP logo - black flag bearing shahada that includes the seal of the Prophet.
Religious Textual References Shahada
Religious Textual References Analysis La ila illa Allah, Muhammad rasul Allah (including the seal of the Prophet)
Religious Symbols Holy Site, Black / White / Green Banners, Seal of the Prophet
Religious Symbols Analysis Dome of the Rock
Topography Mountain, Desert Dunes, Horizon, Man-made Structure / Landmark
Topography Analysis Domed mosque
Visual Themes The image also includes water ripples, which are a significant Islamic visual metaphor. Islam ascribes the most sacred qualities to water as a life-giving, sustaining and purifying resource. It is the origin of all life on earth and the substance from which God created man (Qur’an 25:54). Finally, the yellow and red of the sun’s fiery rays invoke the pain of separation and a longing to be united with God, that is, the longing for death and achievement of martyrdom.

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