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.

In the image are two members of the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) who were killed on 30 April 2010. On the left is German citizen Eric Breininger, also known as Abd al-Gaffar al-Almani, who was also associated with the al-Ta’ifa al-Mansura group. Al-Ta’ifa al-Mansura is a mainly Turkish group that operates under the command of the Afghan Taliban and is closely linked to IJU. Breininger had contacts with the homegrown Sauerland cell (named for the West German region where it was based), a terrorist group that planned to bomb U.S. targets in Germany in September 2007. Three members were arrested as they prepared to carry out the attacks. Breininger had appeared in several propaganda videos posted by the IJU and had tried to recruit new members in Germany. On the right is Alif Media manager and administrator of the IJU website, Salah al-Din Turki.

The black banner in the image begins with the text of the shahada (Islamic testimony of faith holding that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger) and then cites verse Q 4:75: “wa-ma lakum la tuqatiluna fi sabil Allah wal-mustad‘afina min al-rijal wal-nisa’ wal-wildan alladhina yaqulun rabbana, akhrijna min hadhihi al-qarya al-zalim ahluha, wa-j‘al lana min ladunika waliyyan, wa-ja‘l lana min ladunika nasiran” (“and why do you not fight for the sake of God, and [for the sake of] those oppressed men, women and children who say O our Lord get us out of this village [the text is referring specifically to Mecca] whose people are unjust, and give us from your midst a leader, give us from your midst a defender”). Under the quote appears the name of the IJU in Arabic and English.


More Information
Group Name Ittihad al-Jihad al-Islami [Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) aka Union of Islamic Jihad aka IJU of Uzbekistan]
Group Type Jihadist Group
Dominant Colors Green
Secondary Colors Black
Language Arabic
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans 1) shahada 2) Q 4:75 wa-ma lakum la tuqatiluna fi sabil Allah wal-mustad`afina min al-rijal wal-nisa' wal-wildan alladhina yaqulun rabbana, akhrijna min hadhihi al-qarya al-zalim ahluha, wa-j`al lana min ladunika waliyyan, wa-ja`l lana min ladunika nasiran
Image Number 0405
Groups Region of Operation South Asia, Central Asia
Groups Country of Operation Uzbekistan, AfPak
Weapons Firearms, Automatic / Assault Rifle, AK47, Ammo Belt / Vest
Body Parts Face / Bust
Air Sky
Geopolitical Symbols Slogan
People Group Leader / Influential figure, Operative / Warrior (=mujahid), Man / Men
People Analysis Deceased manager of the Alif Media group and admin of the IJU site, al-Almani Salah al-Din Turki. Deceased IJU members Eric Breininger aka Abd al-Gaffar al-Almani Salah al-Din Turki, manager of the Alif Media and admin of the IJU site.
Religious Textual References Quranic Text, Quranic Citations, Text manipulation, Shahada
Religious Textual References Analysis The verse has a very specific historical context, the referent of the unjust of the people of the village mentioned in the verse is indisputably the pagan inhabitants of the Mecca. Applying the phrase to a contemporary referent in a weak analogy completely distorts the verse and clouds the interpretation of the contemporary event. La ila illa Allah, Muhammad rasul Allah.
Religious Symbols Black / White / Green Banners
Religious Symbols Analysis Banner with shahada and Qur'anic text.
Flora Grass / Leaves / Branches Only, Palm
Topography Man-made Structure / Landmark
Topography Analysis Cultivated fenced in garden.
Visual Themes The black banner is a joint symbol of vengeance and revolt that traces its roots to prophetic times. 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. Furthermore, in the 8th century, the flag was used by the ‘Abbasids during their revolution against the ruling Umayyad clan and its Caliphate. The Umayyads were depicted as greedy, gluttonous and religiously wayward leaders, and the ‘Abbasid revolution was aimed at installing a new, more properly Islamic ruling house that would keep orthodox Islam at the center of its regime. Since then, 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.

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