The caption reads: “min filastin al-abiyya kull al-tahiyya ila usud dawlat al-‘iraq al-islamiyya” (“from proud Palestine best wishes to the lions of the Islamic State of Iraq”). The image contains several familiar jihadi visual motifs, including the 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), the holy shrine of the Dome of the Rock, an armed and masked fighter holding up an RPG and a copy of the Qur’an. All intend to evoke inspiration for jihadi activism and to emphasize the religious dimension of the jihadi struggle.

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.

Finally, while reverence for the Dome of the Rock is shared by all Muslims across sectarian lines, it holds special significance for Palestinian groups (symbolizing Palestinian statehood). The Dome of the Rock 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.

Similarly, the watermark logo of Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi’s Jama‘at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (JTJ) serves as a visual reminder of the connection between the Islamic State of Iraq, al-Qa’ida and JTJ in Palestine (and its leader, Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi).

More Information
Group Name Dawlat al-`Iraq al-Islamiyya [Islamic State of Iraq] - ISI/AQI/JTJ
Group Type Jihadist Group
Dominant Colors Green, Black
Secondary Colors Red, White
Language Arabic
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans 1) shahada 2) min filastin al-abiyya kull al-tahiyya ila usud dawlat al-`iraq al-islamiyya
Image Number 0318
Groups Region of Operation Middle East
Groups Country of Operation Iraq
Weapons Rockets, RPG
Body Parts Face / Bust
Body Parts Analysis Masked
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). Jama`at al-tawhid wal-Jihad (JTJ) aka AQI logo - globe with open Qur'an in front and black banner on rifle mast.
People Operative / Warrior (=mujahid), Man / Men
People Analysis Armed masked fighter.
Religious Textual References Shahada, Use of Calligraphy
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. Black with Prophet's seal.
Topography Man-made Structure / Landmark
Topography Analysis Domed mosque and minaret.
Visual Themes The dominant color in the image is green, which is considered the traditional color of the Prophet Muhammad’s tribe, and which has been adopted as a sacred color based on Qur’anic verses (76:21; 18:65-82) and a reliable hadith (prophetic tradition or report) that associates green with “universally good things.” The color is also related to jihadi doctrine, as it is believed that while the corpses of martyrs lay in their graves, their souls are to be put into the bodies of green birds that drink from the rivers of Eden and eat from its fruit.

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