The image appeared on the website of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) (the link is now defunct) and features an Islamic magazine called Khurasan Lashkari.  The title appears in the image in Cyrillic (“ИСЛОМИЙ ЖАРИДА”). The image portrays mountains, a black banner bearing the shahada (Islamic testimony of faith holding that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger) and a calligraphic representation of the basmala (the phrase “bi-smi Allah al-rahman al-rahim,” or “in the name of God the merciful and compassionate”) that is positioned in the blue sky over the mountain range.

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 mountains are also a common motif in jihadi visual propaganda and may allude to regions with completed or ongoing operations, such as Uzbekistan here, or Afghanistan, Chechnya and Kashmir. More generally, however, mountains simply evoke divine omnipotence, eternity and grandeur.

More Information
Group Name Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) aka al-Haraka al-Islamiyya li-Uzbekistan
Group Type Jihadist Group
Dominant Colors Blue, White
Secondary Colors Black
Language Uzbek (Cyrillic)
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans 1) shahada 2) basmalah 3) Khorasan Lashkari
Image Number 0332
Groups Region of Operation Central Asia
Groups Country of Operation Uzbekistan (with some fighters in Afghanistan, some in Tajikistan)
Air Sky
Liquid Sea / Lake
Geopolitical Symbols Non-country Flag, Slogan
Geopolitical Analysis Black flag
Religious Textual References Shahada, Basmala, Other Medieval Text
Religious Textual References Analysis La ila illa Allah, Muhammad rasul Allah
Religious Symbols Black / White / Green Banners
Religious Symbols Analysis With shahada
Topography Mountain

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