The caption identifies the highlighted figure as Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi, the leader of the Palestinian salafi group Jama‘at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (JTJ), which emerged in the Gaza Strip after the August 2009 clashes in Rafah between Hamas and salafi jihadis. The caption of the image reads “faka Allah ‘asruhu.”

Here, the shrine is the al-Aqsa Mosque, the appearance of which 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 (symbolizing Palestinian statehood).

More Information
Group Name Jama`at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (JTJ) - Palestine
Group Type Jihadist Group
Dominant Colors Black
Secondary Colors White, Blue, Green
Language Arabic
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans Fakka allah asrahu
Image Number 0309
Groups Region of Operation Middle East
Groups Country of Operation Israel/Palestine
Body Parts Face / Bust
Air Analysis Stars
Air Celestial Bodies, Sky
Fire Light Rays / Light
Geopolitical Symbols Slogan
People Group Leader / Influential figure, Operational Leader, Operative / Warrior (=mujahid), Man / Men
People Analysis Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi, the leader of a Palestinian salafi group Jama`at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (JTJ).
Religious Textual References Use of Calligraphy
Religious Symbols Holy Site
Religious Symbols Analysis al-Aqsa Mosque
Fauna Dove / Default Bird
Flora Trees / Shrubs, Palm
Topography Man-made Structure / Landmark
Topography Analysis Domed mosque.
Visual Themes The doves in the image are also significant, as the world of birds in general is very important in the symbolic language of Islam. Pre-Islamic Arabs imagined soul birds fluttering around the grave of the deceased, and the bird continues to symbolize the flight of the soul beyond the confines of this world. Furthermore, the souls of martyrs are believed to live in the crops of green birds. Doves in particular are considered sacred, since they are believed to have protected Muhammad during his nocturnal journey. It is in this manner that the dove can be linked to the notion of martyrdom and the rise of a martyr’s soul to heaven. The dove is also a symbol of loving fidelity, which is manifested by the collar of dark feathers around its neck, called “the dove’s necklace.”

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