The image is from an announcement by al-Shabab’s Mu’assasat al-Kata’ib lil-Intaj al-I‘lami (Kata’ib Media Production Foundation), in conjunction with the Global Islamic Media Front, regarding opening a line of communication with al-Shabab’s al-Kata’ib Media Foundation. The caption in the center reads: “nahwa i‘lam jihadi li-fadh a‘wan al-tawaghit” (“toward jihadi media that will embarrass those who assist the seducers to error and evil”). Including a picture of Usama Bin Ladin indicates to the viewer the group’s organizational affiliation and lends it an aura of legitimacy. He is shown with a hand gesture that is carried out when uttering the shahada (Islamic testimony of faith holding that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger). The shahada is visible on the black banner in the center, on the image of the two locked fists against an encircled yellow background. Above the yellow circle appears the name “Majlis Shura Ansar al-Jihad” (“Shura Council of the Supporters of Jihad”).

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.

The two images of a masked armed operative in front of a laptop signal to the viewer the idea that those who engage in forms of cyber-jihad are just as much “jihadis” as their brethren who carry out real world attacks.

To conclude, the image expresses its disapproval of the message boards used by “evil/idol worshipers,” perhaps alluding to al-Jazira Talk as being among these, as a faint image of the latter’s logo is visible and portrayed on flames. Not visible here, but posted above the image on the board where the image appeared was information on how to contact the Shabab media group.

More Information
Group Name Mu'assasat al-Kata'ib lil-Intaj al-I`lami [Kata'ib Media Production Foundation] (Al-Shabab); GIMF
Group Type Jihadist Group
Group Affiliation AQ Affiliates / Associates
Dominant Colors Blue
Secondary Colors Yellow, Black
Language Arabic
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans 1) shahada 2) nahwa i`lam jihadi li-fadh a`wan al-tawaghit
Image Number 0325
Groups Region of Operation Africa
Groups Country of Operation Somalia
Weapons Firearms, Pistol / Handgun, Automatic / Assault Rifle, AK47, Non-Military Technology, Communications Equipment
Weapon Analysis Laptop
Body Parts Pointer Finger, Face / Bust
Air Analysis Sun
Air Celestial Bodies
Fire Flames, Burning Object
FIre Analysis Text.
Geopolitical Symbols Non-country Flag, Symbol of party, movement or company, Slogan
Geopolitical Analysis Black flag with text of shahada. Al-Jazira Talk logo - yellow calligraphic representation of the word al-jazira.
People Group Leader / Influential figure, Operational Leader, Man / Men
People Analysis Usama b. Ladin (AQC).
Religious Textual References Shahada
Religious Textual References Analysis La ila illa Allah, Muhammad rasul Allah.
Religious Symbols Black / White / Green Banners
Visual Themes The yellow and red of the flames 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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