The image contains pictures of influential al-Qa‘ida figures and key leaders, including Usama bin Ladin, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abu Yahya al-Libi, ‘Atiyyat Allah al-Libi, Adam Gadahn and Anwar al-‘Awlaqi, as well as pictures of operatives who carried out lone wolf operations (e.g., Nidal Hasan). Under the fiery yellow and red al-Shahab logo appears the caption: “al-isdar al-mari’yy al-mutamayyiz la tukallaf illa nafsaka (juz’ayn)” (“the excellent video production ‘don’t be bothered with anyone but yourself’ (two parts)”). The title includes a phrase from the Qur’anic verse  4:84, which reads, in part: “fa-qatil fi sabil Allah la tukallaf illa nafsak” (“so fight in God’s path, you are not held responsible except for yourself”). Notably, in the Qur’anic context, this command was given strictly to the Prophet, making the decontextualization and manipulation for the purposes of propaganda and incitement to violence by individuals quite clear.

Finally, it is worth noting that the designer of the image chose a fairly common picture of Usama bin Ladin, who is portrayed raising his pointer finger in a motion carried out when uttering the shahada (Islamic testimony of faith holding that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger).

More Information
Group Name AQ
Group Type Jihadist Group
Dominant Colors Light Red, Yellow/Red
Secondary Colors White
Language Arabic
Visual or Textual Reference to Significant Recent Events
Date EntryAnalysis Entry
Multiple visual allusions to operations carried out by individuals in the West like Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood
Isolated Phrases / Mottoes / Slogans al-isdar al-mari'yy al-mutamayyiz la tukallaf illa nafsaka (juz'ayn)
Image Number 0418
Groups Region of Operation Global
Date Image Created Online 03/06/2011
Weapons Firearms, Automatic / Assault Rifle, AK47
Body Parts Pointer Finger, Face / Bust
Fire Light Rays / Light
Geopolitical Symbols Symbol of party, movement or company, Slogan
Geopolitical Analysis al-Sahab logo - calligraphical representation of the word "al-Sahab" [the cloud]
People Group Leader / Influential figure, Spiritual Leader / Idealogue, Operational Leader, Operative / Warrior (=mujahid), Man / Men
People Analysis Usama b. Ladin, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abu Yahya al-Libi, `Atiyyat Allah al-Libi, Adam Gadahn, Anwar al-`Awlaqi. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Anwar al-`Awlaqi. Usama b. Ladin, Abu Yahya al-Libi, `Atiyyat Allah al-Libi, Adam Gadahn, Anwar al-`Awlaqi
Religious Textual References Quranic Text, Quranic Citations, Text manipulation, Use of Calligraphy
Religious Textual References Analysis 4:84. Decontextualization and manipulation for propaganda and incitement purposes
Visual Themes The source of light and emanating rays in the top left corner gives an aura of divination and religious significance to the figures featured in the image (and the video) and the ideology they put forth.

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