On the left of this image is the deceased leader of Riyad al-Salihin group, Shamil Basayev (also known as Abdallah Shamil Abu Idris) who was assassinated in 2006. A fellow rebel appears to his right. Basayev is shown with a raised pointer finger in a gesture associated with the utterance of the shahada (Islamic testimony of faith holding that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger).Hanging in the background is the group’s flag, which consists of traditional Islamic colors. In the center of the green area is a black oval with the phrase “Allah Akbar” (“God is Greatest”) over a sword. The latter suggests a desire on the part of the designer to link the message to early Islamic history and the first generation of Muslims. Swords are seen as noble weapons that embody the religious purity, nobility and righteousness that is associated with the Prophet, his companions and their successful military campaigns. Thus, a sword helps depict current jihadi activities as modern extensions of those campaigns and lends them an aura of legitimacy. Furthermore, the sword, combined with the AK-47 to left of Basayev, signals to the viewer a continued armed struggle with religious justification. It is noteworthy that several of the elements included in this image, produced by or for a Central Asian jihadist group, are similar to the elements found in propaganda material from Muslim, Middle Eastern, Arab and non-Arab jihadist groups.
Group Name Riyad al-Salihin Chechen Martyrs' Brigade (RBRSBCM)
Group Type Jihadist Group
Dominant Colors Green
Secondary Colors Red, White
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans Allah akbar
Image Number 0381
Groups Region of Operation Central Asia
Groups Country of Operation Chechnya
Weapons Cold Weapons and Defensive Armor, Sword / Crossed Swords, Firearms, Automatic / Assault Rifle, AK47, Ammo Belt / Vest
Body Parts Pointer Finger, Face / Bust
Geopolitical Symbols Non-country Flag, Symbol of party, movement or company, Slogan
Geopolitical Analysis Riyad al-salihin flag. Riyad al-Salihin Chechen Martyrs' Brigade (RBRSBCM) logo black over containing the text of takbir (the phrase Allah Akbar [God is greatest]) over an Arabian sword, against the background of a green flag with three stripes, white-red-white.
People Group Leader / Influential figure, Operational Leader, Operative / Warrior (=mujahid), Man / Men
People Analysis Leader of Chechen Riyad al-Salihin Shamil Basayev (Abdallah Shamil Abu Idris; killed in 2006).
Religious Symbols Black / White / Green Banners
Religious Symbols Analysis Black banner with the phrase Allah akbar on the group flag.
Visual Themes While participating in jihad gives a jihadist important religious credibility, death in battle provides immortality, as the deceased is ranked a martyr. It is believed that Muslim martyrs will be highly rewarded in the afterlife for their sacrifice and hold a special position in heavenly paradise. It is therefore not surprising that martyrdom is a central theme in jihadi visual propaganda.