The image is the banner that appears on the website of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). It consists of several familiar jihadi motifs, including the horse and rider, the outline of world map, 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) and a calligraphal representation of the words “Jund Allah.”

The horse is an important symbol in both pre-Islamic Arabia and Islamic culture. Traditionally, horses have been ascribed with positive qualities of chivalry,  bravery in battle and victory as evidenced in pre-Islamic poetry, the Qur’an, hadiths and other genres of literature. For example, the beginning of the Qur’anic sura 100 talks about “running horses” that appear as galloping through the world toward the final goal, namely, Judgment Day. Horses are also symbolic of the first generation of Muslims and that generation’s  successful military campaigns, and thus are often employed to evoke specific Salafi religious sentiments with regard to the military victories of Muhammad and his companions. The rider emphasizes the element of human agency in jihad, and is a way to enhance the traditional symbol of a horse and flesh out notions of aggression and the call to jihad. Thus, the horse and rider motif places current jihadi activities within the same unfolding dialectic as the jihad of early Islam.

According to 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 appearance of the outline of a world map globalizes local Uzbek or regional issues and signals the IMU’s link to the global jihadi movement.

Finally, the word “furqan” (here transliterated “furqon”) is a Qur’anic term for the notion of distinction between good and evil and a shar‘i (Islamic legal) term for evidence/proof. It is also used to denote the Qur’an itself (al-Furqan).

More Information
Group Name Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) aka al-Haraka al-Islamiyya li-Uzbekistan
Group Type Jihadist Group
Dominant Colors Green
Secondary Colors Black
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans Shahada
Image Number 0331
Groups Region of Operation Central Asia
Groups Country of Operation Uzbekistan (with some fighters in Afghanistan, some in Tajikistan)
Weapons Cold Weapons and Defensive Armor, Sword / Crossed Swords
Fire Light Rays / Light
Geopolitical Symbols Country / Regional Map, Non-country Flag, Symbol of party, movement or company, Slogan
Geopolitical Analysis Americas, Euroasia, & Africa. Black flag. Jundullah logo - turquoise calligraphic representation of the word "jundullah"; and Furqon (IMU) website banner logo - silhouette of horse rider with sword and black banner against a turquoise background with global map to the right of the word Furqon with a black banner bearing the text of the shahada.
People Horse Rider
Religious Textual References Shahada, Use of Calligraphy
Religious Textual References Analysis La ila illa Allah, Muhammad rasul Allah.
Religious Symbols Black / White / Green Banners
Religious Symbols Analysis With shahada.

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